Alexei Alexeiwitch Harlamoff
1840 - 1925Harlamoff was born in Saratoff, Russia in 1840. He studied at the Academy of Fine Art in St. Petersburg where he won a gold medal and a travel scholarship in 1868. He used this scholarship to travel to Paris where he attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and worked with Leon Bonnat.
During his early career Harlamoff painted many genre and religious subjects and he also became an established portrait painter. Two of his more important sitters were the Tsar Alexander II and Prince Demidoff and he also painted Yvan Tourgueniev and Pauline Viardot-Garcia.
By the 1880s Harlamoff was concentrating on his paintings of Bohemian children and young peasant girls. It was these subjects, which he painted with enormous sensitivity, that gained the artist international fame and recognition. Queen Victoria greatly admired one such work of children playing with flowers, at the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888.
Harlamoff was particularly skilful at painting faces. He used very soft and natural colours and paid great attention to delicately highlighting the cheeks and temples. His masterful portrayal of the eyes always draws the viewer directly in to the painting and emphasises the innocence and beauty of the sitter. Harlamoff sometimes used warm crimson colours to contrast with the pale skin tones and the backgrounds were often dark and impressionistic. His paintings can be found in museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg and in important private collections all over the world.