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Alfred Eberling (1872-1951)

Alfred Rudolfovich Eberling, was a successful painter and photographer in the early 20th century.
A pupil of Ilya Repin, he never deviated from realism (in the broad sense of the word) and left a number of striking works executed in the painterly two-dimensional manner typical of that time.
Eberling’s portraits, entirely in the spirit of salon art in terms of imagery and not devoid of a chocolate-box prettiness, were always marked by refined, often unexpected combinations of colors.

Alfred Eberling | Portrait of Ballerina Tamara Karsavina, 1911

We know that Eberling’s models often came from the world of the theatre. Before 1917 he had produced around 100 pictures of this kind.
It is quite possible that the unknown young woman in the Hermitage portrait also belonged to St Petersburg’s thespian bohemia. | © The State Hermitage Museum

Alfred Rudolfovich Eberling was born in the town of Zgezh in Poland. In 1899-1900 he studied at the Higher Art School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture under the Imperial Arts Academy.
In 1900 he studied art under F. Lenbach in Munich. At the turn of the century Alfred Eberling's works were often displayed at spring exhibitions in the Academy. Back then already his art drew media exposure.
Alfred Eberling spent most of his life in Leningrad. He was the founder and member of the Archip Kuindji Association (1909-1931) and signed its new charter in 1922, when reviving the art group.
He was also a part of the Ilya Repin Consolidation of Artists (1924-1929).
The artist taught at the Drawing School of the Society for Encouragement of Arts (1904-1933) and the Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture (1934-38).

Till 1941 Alfred Eberling taught in his private art studio, as well as in the fine art studio of the Lenigrad House of Scientists.
In the Soviet era he was a professor of the Arts Academy.
Alfred Eberling painted in the genres of still life, landscape, and portrait. The public was attracted by the portraits of his contemporaries, such as, for example, of the great ballerina Anna Pavlova. Her portraits created by Alfred Eberling have come down to us in private collections and in the Bakhrushin Theatrical Museum.
His paintings are kept in the Russian Museum and the Theatrical Museum in St. Petersburg, in the Bakhrushin Theatrical Museum in Moscow and in some provincial collections, including Barnaul, where he was in evacuation.
His canvasses are also stored in private collections: the most complete of them is located in Italy, the country that he loved very much and where he often stayed for a long time.
It happened so that a new interest in him arose half a century after his death and it was not related to his activities as a painter … but as a photographer. Alfred Eberling could have never imagined it, because he was never really earnest about this part of his creativity.
As for his photos, they stand out with their vivacious and unorganized character, or a reporting manner, as it was named later.

It is really unusual since most of the photos that have come down to us from that epoch are typically stiff and still like monuments.
Therefore photos by Alfred Eberling are stunning, being so alive and spontaneous. They were taken in such a way that people whom he photographed had no chance to react to him.

Thus Alfred Eberling can probably be considered the first real "street" photographer in St. Petersburg.

The life story of Alfred Eberling has something in common with destinies of other painters, who became classics of world photography: Jacques-Henri Lartigue from France, and Rudolf Heinrich Zille from Germany...
Alfred Eberling - today this name is known only to a limited circle of artists and art critics, but in the early 20th century it was present nearly in every review about another art exhibition in St. Petersburg.

His colours are like verses in painting, so light, transparent, and wonderfully cold. Alfred Eberling has a divine gift of insightful look into the beauty of the world and telling with radiant paints about it …" - an art magazine of that time stated.

Alfred Eberling lived a long and complicated life: he had to face both criticism and glory, both poverty and material welfare.

Alfred Eberling | Illustration to Lermontov's poem "The Demon"

Laureato all'Accademia delle arti, fondatore e membro della "Società intitolata a A. Kuindzhi", Mariupol, studente di Ilya Repin, direttore della Società imperiale per l'incoraggiamento delle arti, pittore di corte, Alfred Rudolfovich Eberling divenne famoso in pre-anni rivoluzionari.
Mentre lavorava alle illustrazioni del poema "Demone" di , l'artista con calore e tenerezza disegna nello spettacolo di Tamara le sfumature più sottili dei suoi sentimenti.

Pittore, fotografo, insegnante russo, Alfred Rudolfovich Eberling è nato a Zgierz (Polonia). Dal 1889-1899 studiò all'Accademia di belle arti.
A cavallo dei secoli XIXI-XX Eberling esponeva frequentemente alle mostre primaverili nelle sale dell'Accademia.
Nel 1899-1900, ha studiato presso la scuola d'arte superiore di pittura, scultura e architettura sotto l'Accademia imperiale delle arti. Nel 1900 ha studiato a Monaco di Baviera con F. Lenbach.

La maggior parte della sua vita Eberling trascorse a Leningrado.
Era membro della "Società per conto di Arkhip Kuindzhi" (1909-1931). Membro dell'"Associazione degli artisti intitolati a I. Repin" (1924-1929). Presto si sono mostrati nel percorso di insegnamento.
Ha insegnato alla Scuola di disegno della Società per l'incoraggiamento delle arti (1904-1933), allo Studio AHRR (1926-1929), all'Istituto di pittura, scultura ed architettura (1934-38).
Fino al 1941 diresse il suo studio d'arte privato e lavorò anche nello studio d'arte di Leningradskom, la Casa degli scienziati.
In epoca sovietica, Eberling era professore all'Accademia delle arti.