Zinaida Evgenievna Serebriakova
Signed in Latin, inscribed Paris and dated 1930 l.l., pastel on paper. The present beautifully-modelled nude , was drawn in Paris in 1930 by an artist at the height of her powers, six years after she had left Petrograd to live and work in France. Serebriakova deploys the softness of her medium almost like oil paint, smudging and smoothing the pastel to imbue her landscape of the female form with the soft, undulating contours of flesh. In a letter to her daughter in 1947, the artist commented on her technique: "I use pastels as if they were ordinary crayons, only retouching and sometimes shading" (letter to Tatiana Serebriakova, 23rd January 1947). The blue-greens of the model's veins beneath her almost translucent skin betray the life and energy contained within her great stillness. For Alexander Benois, fellow artist and Serebriakova's uncle, Serebriakova's captivating nudes hold a special place within the corpus of her work; they are "the chief glory of her work, there is nothing quite like them. In these studies of the female body we find not merely natural quality but a special quality familiar to us from literature and music" (A. Benois, "Artistic Letters, The Union exhibition" in Reck 13th March 1910).