Alexei Harlamoff – master of portrait
Alexei Harlamoff was a Russian artist, the master of the portrait.
Alexei Alekseevich Harlamoff (or Kharlamov) was born on October 18, 1840 in village Dyachevka, Saratov Province. He was born into a large family of a serf peasant. He was the seventh child. Soon after his birth, the owners decided to sell his parents to another landowner, and the children were left with them. Little Alyosha was lucky, because of his infancy he could not be separated from his mother and therefore the boy was sold along with his parents. In 1850, Alexei’s parents were given freedom. Soon the family moved to St. Petersburg. The volunteer of the Academy of Arts V. Ya. Afanasyev taught 12-year-old Alexei. The boy worked hard and in 1854 entered the Imperial Academy of Arts, where he became a student of Professor A. Markov, a representative of late classicism.
For success in drawing and painting Alexei Alekseevich received two small silver medals in 1857 and 1862, and two large silver medals in 1863. In 1866, Harlamoff received a small gold medal for the painting The Baptism of Kievans, and in 1868 – a large gold medal for the painting The Return of the Prodigal Son.
In 1869, Harlamoff among the best graduates of the Academy received the right to a pension trip abroad. Alexei traveled a lot around Europe: he visited art museums in Germany, Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland. For some time he lived in Paris.
In 1872 Harlamoff joined the Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions. Subsequently, the artist regularly sent his paintings to the annual exhibition of the Wanderers in St. Petersburg.
At the end of 1872 the artist returned to Paris, where he entered the studio of the fashionable French artist Leon Bonn. It was under the influence of Bonn that the artistic style of Harlamoff finally took shape.
At the end of 1875 the artist came to Russia, but in autumn of next year he returned to France.
The last years of his life, Harlamoff spent in poverty and loneliness. The only one who brightened up his old age was the French opera singer Felia Litvin.
Alexei Harlamoff died on April 10, 1925 in Paris and was buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery.