Ekaterina Serebriakova – Obituary

Katya in blue by the fir tree. A wonderful painting of this name, from the brush of the legendary Zinaida Serebriakova, can be found in the Pushkin Museum. On it is depicted a little girl with bright deep and big eyes. This is Ekaterina Serebriakova, Zinaida’s daughter, her right-hand woman, and the preserver of her artistic heritage. A superb graphic artist, painter and interior decorator, Ekaterina died on August 26, 2014, in her apartment on Montparnasse. She was in the 102nd year of her life.

The world of Russian culture has had an immeasurable loss, said the Russian ambassador to France, Alexander Orlov. The ambassador is indubitably correct – and not just because owing to Ekaterina’s efforts, her mother’s legacy was preserved. Zinaida was one of the greats of Russian art, one of the first women to write her name in bright letters in its history. Ekaterina herself was an extraordinary talent – with pleasure she painted watercolours of landscapes and still lifes, and (in modern parlance) undertook grand design projects in wealthy suburban mansions. However, she never shouted out her talent. For most of her life, she remained in the shadow of her mother and her brother Alexander. Only last year did Ekaterina Serebriakova dare to exhibit her work to the judgment of the public.

Ekaterina’s work was first displayed in her centennial year. The Tretyakov Gallery exhibited it as part of “Zinaida Serebriakova. The Paris Period. Alexander and Ekaterina Serebriakova. From the collection of the Fondation Serebriakoff.” It was possible to assess her individual style, in which, nevertheless, one could trace the creative tradition of her mother and her great-uncle, Alexandre Benois. Further, in the Pushkin Museum there was a presentation of the first book dedicated to her – besides reproductions of her paintings, there were memoirs of contemporaries, archival material, articles of research and critique. And, in the Russian ambassador’s residence in Paris was held her first personal exhibition. These developments did not go unnoticed in the world of culture. The fate of Zinaida Serebriakova was perceived thereafter somewhat differently: it was evident that behind the great artist there had always been a guardian angel – her daughter. In Paris, Ekaterina had taken care of all the housework, providing her mother with the opportunity to work.

Ekaterina Serebriakova’s funeral would be held at the Russian cemetery in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois.

(Loosely translated from the article titled Скончалась Екатерина Серебрякова by Maria Moskvicheva, August 26, 2014.)

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