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Reclining Moroccan

Painting, 1932, 48×63 cm

Description of the artwork «Reclining Moroccan»

This pastel work belongs to the so-called “Moroccan cycle” Serebryakova, which includes about 200 works. These are “sketches”, as the artist herself called her masterly sketches created during two trips to exotic lands, held in 1928 and 1932. Also, according to the fresh impressions from these travels, the artist already in Paris wrote several oil works (1, 2, 3).

... Two fates were destined to live Zinaida Serebryakova. In the first, she is a descendant of an art family, a happy, beloved and loving wife, a mother of adored children, a famous artist. The second fate is a widow separated from children, exhausting herself to earn a piece of bread, not finding a place in a foreign land and losing her homeland, torn by anxiety and devoured by hopeless longing.
... Golden rain on Serebryakova in Paris did not spill. “No one understands that starting without a penny is insanely difficult. And time passes, and I fight all in the same place, ”she writes to her mother in despair.
The brightest event of this "life after life" for Zinaida Serebryakova was, perhaps, a trip to Morocco. The Belgian Baron Brouwer saw her paintings at one of the exhibitions and offered to pay for the trip so that he could pick up any paintings he liked from the paintings written there. In 1928 and 1932, Zinaida traveled to Morocco.

Here is an excerpt from her artist’s letter sent to Moscow by E. E. Lancere from Marrakesh in December 1928: “I was struck by everything here to the extreme - costumes of the most varied colors, and all human races mixed up here - blacks, Arabs, Mongols, Jews (quite biblical), etc. Life in Marrakesh is also fantastic - everything is done in a handicraft way, as it should have been 1000 years ago. In the square - called Jemal El Fia - every day thousands of people watch, sitting in circles on the ground, at dances, magicians, snake tamers (just like dervishes and Hindus), etc., etc. All women are closed from up to heads, and nothing but eyes is visible. I’ve been here for two weeks now, but I’ve become so stupefied by the novelty of my impressions that I can’t figure out what and how to draw. As soon as you sit down (in the corner of the street, always, however, stinking) to draw, so the women leave, the Arabs do not want to be painted, and close their shops and require tea - 20 or 10 francs per hour !!! Actually ... I took the risk of this trip, as the money for it was loaned to me by Mr. Brower, from whom I painted portraits in Bruges in the summer. He wanted me to make a “nude” from the natives of the beautiful, but there’s no need to talk about this fantasy - no one even in the bedspreads, when only a click of the eye is visible, doesn’t want to pose, and not just to give a hint about the “nude” ... ”However, Serebryakova still managed to find models for posing naked.

Critics note the great maturity and sophistication of the works created on the second trip to Morocco in the spring of 1932: the artist visited Marrakesh, Fez and Sephra.

Serebryakova’s daughter Tatyana wrote about the time of her second stay in Marrakesh: “Contact with this fantastic world made her forget all the troubles, she wandered the streets of Marrakesh and Fez and painted, painted ... She painted so eagerly, so much that she did not have enough paper, which she she took with her, and Katyusha sent her another batch. During this period, she worked literally with lightning speed. This lightning speed was caused by the fact that the Koran forbids people to pose, and she could hardly “catch” the model for a small fee. She told me that for more than thirty minutes she had not worked on a single pastel portrait, and yet her every sketch is a finished work of art! She was attracted by the proud tread, the bearing of the Arabs, the harmony of their figures and the decorativeness of the burnus and robes. ”

Bymaterials Arthiva. Quotations from the letters are given by the publication: Zinaida Serebryakova ”, A. Rusakova, 2017
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About the artwork

This artwork was added since it is referred to in the materials below

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Nude

Style of art: Orientalism

Technique: Pastel

Materials: Paper

Date of creation: 1932

Size: 48×63 cm

Artwork in selections: 20 selections