Russian Artists in America. Elizabeth Shoumatoff (1888-1980)

Elizabeth Shoumatoff is an artist whose fate is just as unusual as the unusual are her sitters. Not to mention the many other, but the Frick, Mellon, Grand Ducas of Luxembourg etc. Her most famous client was the great American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Not all Americans know her name, but almost everyone knows this unfinished portrait. During the posing session, Roosevelt complained of a severe headache. Soon after the session ended, he died.

Elizabeth Shoumatoff next to the famous portrait in the Roosevelt retreat in the Little White House in Warm Spring, Georgia. 

Elizabeth Shoumatoff ended up in America because of the Russian revolution of October 1917. Her husband and brother were sent from Russia to Washington as part of the Provisional Government's procurement commission in 1917. Shoumatoffs and Avinoff, the brother of Elizabeth, people who belonged to the circles of the Russian aristocracy had every reason to fear for their lives, so they decided to stay in America. 

When her husband Leo died in 1928 and she and her children were left without a livelihood, she decided to professionally take up painting, for which she always had love and abilities. She managed to become a popular and sought-after master of salon portraiture. Her paintings have adorned the homes of the rich and famous on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Elizabeth's creative heritage includes about 3000 portraits. One of them, portrait Mary Louise Johnson Moreland is part of the Goldin Fine Art collection. 

Portrait of Mary Louise Johnson Moreland. Watercolor. Ca. 1950.

John Worthington 1848 - 1919, the grandfather of the sitter, was the oil producer and banker in Pittsburgh PA. He was in the service of the Standard Oil Co. (New Jersey) and well known in local industrial and social life.





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