Alexandre Serebriakoff - Gifted Gallery
Alexandre Borisovich Serebriakoff was a painter, watercolourist and Russian decorator, born in 1907 in Neskuchnoye, near Kharkov (now Ukraine). Exiled in France after the Russian Revolution, he practiced the rare specialty of interior portrait, leaving a meticulous testimony of the decorations and celebrations of French high society. He often signed his works with his sister, Catherine Serebriakoff.
Alexandre Serebriakoff was born into a family of artists. His mother, Zinaïda Serebriakova, was the first Russian woman to be recognised as an important painter. He is related to the Benois, the famous dynasty of Russian artists emigrated from France in the 18th century. The great-grandfather of Alexandre is the architect Nicolas Benois, his great-uncle was the painter, decorator and scenographer Alexandre Benois, founder of Mir Iskousstva and friend of Serge Diaghilev. His grandfather Eugene was a sculptor. One of his uncles, Eugene Lanceray, was a sculptor, painter and graphic designer, the other is Nikolay Lanceray, a renowned architect.
Alexandre Serebriakoff was seven years old when the October Revolution broke out. All family property was confiscated, including the property of Neskoutchnoye (in French, "Sans Souci") where he was born. His father, Boris, was imprisoned by the Bolsheviks: he died in 1919 during his incarceration. His mother took her children to Petrograd to try to survive, but in the face of difficulties, resolved to emigrate alone to Paris in 1924. Alexandre and his sister Catherine joined her soon after. This is where Alexandre started a career as an interior designer. He stayed in Camaret-sur-Mer and Concarneau, with his family, for several summers during the following years.
He was commissioned for portraits and interior portraits by many of the Parisian and London high society, starting in the 1940s through to the end of his life in the 1990s. Serebriakoff was commissioned to paint rooms at the Château de Groussay, owned by Carlos de Beistegui, first in 1942 and many more times throughout the next 20 years. These interior portraits have become his most celebrated works.
In 1945 the Duke and Duchess of Windsor commissioned Serebriakoff to paint the rooms of their Parisian home, 24 Boulevard Suchet.
In 1948 Ronald and Nancy Tree commissioned a series of of paintings of the rooms of Ditchley Park. They had both fallen in love with Ditchley Park in 1933, a great house in Oxfordshire, near Blenheim Palace and once they had fixed up the rundown rooms Ronald Tree commissioned Serebriakoff to create watercolours of the restored rooms.
Aesthetes and lovers Arturo López Willshaw and Alexis von Rosenberg, Baron de Redé, both commissioned portraits from Serebriakoff, Lopez Willshaw commissioned rooms of his home and hotels in 1950s including his hotel where Redé lived, Hôtel Lambert, while Redé had Serebriakoff paint his portrait in full costume from his 'Le Bal Oriental' in 1969.
His other commissions included Elie and Liliane de Rothschild and the Schneiders for rooms in their hotel, Alexandre Popoff’s apartment in Paris, the Interior of Serge Ivanoff’s studio in Paris and Boris Kochno and Christian Bérard’s apartment.
Alexandre Serebriakoff died in Paris in 1994, aged 86. Despite being a renowned artist in his time, there is very little information of his life and work on the internet. To get a deeper insight one must read the rare books on his work, which is only accessible if one is fluent in French. But like many brilliant artists, his work speaks for its self.