Lot 10
  • 10

Alexei Harlamoff

200,000 - 300,000 USD
298,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Alexei Harlamoff
  • Choosing Apples
  • signed Harlamoff (lower right)
  • oil on canvas
  • 28 7/8 by 21 3/8 in.
  • 73.3 by 54.3 cm


Newman Ltd., London
Sale: Sotheby's, London, November 16, 1994, lot 55, illustrated
Richard Green, London
Private Collection, United Kingdom


Olga Sugrobova-Roth and Eckard Lingenauber, Alexei Harlamoff: Catalogue Raisonné, Düsseldorf, 2007, p. 226, no. 201, illustrated pl. 186

Catalogue Note

Choosing Apples is a rare and elaborate example of Alexei Harlamoff’s exquisite two figure compositions, combining both genre and still life subjects.  The painting portrays two girls, possibly sisters, in the process of choosing from a bushel of apples recently collected in a basket on the floor. With her boots still on, the older girl tests the firmness of the apples on her knee, while the younger child lifts one to her cheek as if to compare it to her own rosy glow.  Though the setting is rendered in earth tones, Harlamoff uncharacteristically adorns the background with a picture frame and carved buffet deux corps, in front of which stands a table covered with a white cloth.  Upon the table sits a painted porcelain jug and between the girls a glass, pewter bowl and half-eaten apple.

Harlamoff studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg and won a gold medal and a travel scholarship in 1868 for his painting The Return of the Prodigal Son.  This enabled him to go to Paris, where he remained, working with the great portrait painter and teacher at the École des Beaux-Arts, Léon Bonnat (1834-1922). In his early career, Harlamoff painted many genre and religious subjects, learning his skills by copying Old Master paintings such as Rembrandt's Anatomy Lesson in the Mauritshuis in The Hague.  He also became a respected portrait painter, and counted such dignified sitters as Tsar Alexander II and Prince Demidoff among his patrons.  His most beloved subjects, however, were informal portraits of peasant girls, so popular with artists of the end of the nineteenth century, while capturing the ambiance in the details of dress and domestic context.

Harlamoff's work was exhibited in the Russian section of the Décennale exhibition of art produced between 1889 and 1900, which was part of Paris' Exposition Universelle, 1900.