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 Alfred  Eberling

Born:   January 3, 1872
Deceased:   January 18, 1951

Russian artist and street photographer of the Silver Age


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.
He was born in the town of Zgezh in Poland. In 1899-1900 Alfred Eberling 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.

Tags: Alfred Eberling Russian Artists Russian Photographers Silver Age  

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