Sunday, 11 February 2018


“A true portrait should, today and a hundred years from today, be the testimony of how this person looked and what kind of human being he was.” - Philippe Halsman 

Aleksandra Mitrofanovna Beļcova (Russian: Бельцова, Александра Митрофановна, March 17, 1892 in Surazh, Chernigov Governorate – February 1, 1981 in Riga, Latvian SSR) was a Latvian and Russian painter.

Aleksandra Beļcova graduated from the Secondary School for Women in Novozybkov in 1912. Later she started studies in Penza city art school, from which she graduated in 1917. While in Penza she met several Latvian painters who studied there as refugees. Among them were Jēkabs Kazaks, Konrāds Ubāns and Voldemārs Tone. Especially close relationships developed between her and Romans Suta, another Latvian painter who studied in Penza.

In 1917 she went to Petrograd to study in State Free Art Workshop under Nathan Altman. It was in Petrograd that her first solo exhibition was held in 1919. Just after the exhibition she moved to Latvia along with Romans Suta and became a member of the Riga Artists Group. The couple married in 1922 in Riga and after marriage they visited Paris, Berlin and Dresden.

In 1923 their daughter Tatiana was born in Paris. In 1925 she painted “The White and the Black” (above). She was involved in the Roller group exhibitions and Riga Graphic Artists Association in the following years. Her paintings were mostly portraits and still lifes, beginning as a Cubist she turned to realism in later years. Her mediums were oil, watercolour, ink and pencil, and she also painted on porcelain. Beļcova died on February 1, 1981.[1] The home of Aleksandra Belcova and Romans Suta in Elizabetes street 57A-26 in Riga is now turned into memorial museum and art gallery.

An excellent critique of the painting above can be found here:

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