Valentin A Serov
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Status, estimation and price of the artist Valentin A Serov
Price of a painting by the artist: 2,500 – 10,000,000 €.
Estimation of a print by the artist: 1,400 €.
Price of a drawing by the artist: 210 – 40,000 €.
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Art in the genes
Valentin A Serov is a Russian painter born on 7 January 1865 in St. Petersburg. Born to a composer father and a pianist mother, Serov was bathed from an early age in a bubbling artistic atmosphere in the Abramtsevo circle, an area north of Moscow which was the artistic centre of Russia in the mid-19th century.
From the age of 13 to 14 he took drawing lessons from the Russian painter Ilia Répine at home. He took advantage of this opportunity to regularly visit the rich Russian industrialist and collector Savva Mamontov. At the age of 15, he studied at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg from 1880 to 1885 under Professor Pavel Tchistiakov, a master of historical painting and portraiture. There he received a silver medal for his work on a study and studio work at the end of his studies in a studio, as was customary at that time. Sarov’s painting is influenced by that of his master Chistyakov and his strict plastic system as well as by Repin’s realism. Later in his career he befriended other Russian painters such as Mikhail Vroubel and Constantin Korovine.
A teaching artist
From 1894 to 1899 Sarov was a member of the Association of Travelling Art Exhibitions. This was a realist movement that appeared in 1863 in Russia and lasted until 1890. This group was formed in opposition to the teaching, methods and subjects of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. From 1899, he joined the artists’ association Mir Iskusstva (The Art World) founded a year earlier, advocating a revival of Russian pictorial art through different mediums such as theatre and the art of the book. Sarov mainly produced portraits, but his landscapes are also of major importance in the history of Russian painting (Domotkavono 1886), sometimes even combining the two genres (the two children 1899).
He taught at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture from 1887 and finally became a full member of the Academy in 1903.
An ambiguous relationship with the Russian authorities
Following a peaceful demonstration that escalated into a shooting by the state on 9 January 1905, Sarov decided to leave the school where he taught in protest. Throughout his career, he was appreciated by Russian society and painted a large number of portraits of its notables. He died in 1911, on December 5th and was buried in the cemetery of the Novodevitchi convent.
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