Olga's Gallery

Valentin Serov


Portrait of Maria Zetlin.

1910. Oil on canvas. Private collection. Read Note.

Valentin Serov. Portrait of Maria Zetlin.

Maria Samoilovna Zetlin (born Tumarkina) (1882-1976) was an influential figure among the artists of the Russian expatriate community in Paris. She was married to Mikhail Osipovich Zetlin (1882-1945), a prominent Russian writer, poet, editor and publisher. Their home in Paris became a major social attraction for artists, writers and other intellectuals, including such notable figures as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Diego Rivera and most of the big names in the Russian expatriate community. A noted beauty, Maria Zetlin was the subject of numerous portraits by prominent contemporary painters, among them Valentin Serov, Leon Bakst, Sergei Chekhonin and Alexander Yakovlev. Over the years, the Zetlins amassed a significant collection of paintings by Russian artists. They were forced to abandon it in 1941 when they fled from France to New York ahead of the German invasion of the country, but were fortunately able to recover it after the end of World War II. Most of the collection remained in the family until 1959, when it was bequeathed to the Municipality of Ramat Gan in Israel