Two years after [the October Revolution, Zinaida’s] husband died, leaving her and their four children with no money. Add to that the fact that her mother was sick and the family money was also gone. Those were harsh times for Serebryakova, they were all starving and had no financial resources for anything. She had to give up oil painting, as she couldn’t afford to buy the materials. This is when she started drawing with charcoal and pencil. Many critics say that those paintings have a very sad and tragic undertone. One of the most famous ones became the House of Cards, which shows her four children playing cards.
Marina Kosareva in Out and About on the Voice of Russia, Dec 6, 2010.