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Alla Nazimova

Artist
Edward Emerson Simmons, 1852 - 1931
Sitter
Alla Nazimova, 4 Jun 1878 - 13 Jul 1945
Date
1910
Type
Painting
Medium
Oil on canvas
Dimensions
Stretcher: 61.3 x 61.3 x 3.2cm (24 1/8 x 24 1/8 x 1 1/4")
Frame: 81.9 x 82.6 x 8.3cm (32 1/4 x 32 1/2 x 3 1/4")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Val E. Lewton
Object number
NPG.86.142
Exhibition Label
Born Yalta, Russian Crimea
Having studied with the famous actor and teacher Constantin Stanislavsky in Russia, Alla Nazimova came to New York City with a Russian troupe of actors and decided to stay. Like her teacher, she worked hard to “become” her characters, rather than to seek recognition for her own stage personality. In 1906 and 1907, she demonstrated this gift by playing the leads in productions of Henrik Ibsen’s dramas A Doll’s House (1879) and Hedda Gabler (1890). Critics marveled at the totality of her shift from one character to another. Edward Simmons captured Nazimova’s dramatic flair and beauty in this painting, which was made at the height of her reputation. In later years, she alternated between the stage and roles in early Hollywood motion pictures.
Nacida en Yalta, Crimea rusa
Habiendo estudiado con el famoso actor y maestro Constantin Stanislavsky en Rusia, Alla Nazimova se trasladó a la Ciudad de Nueva York con una compañía de actores rusa y decidió quedarse. Al igual que su maestro, trabajó mucho para “convertirse en” sus personajes, en lugar de buscar reconocimiento por su propia personalidad sobre el escenario. En 1906 y 1907, demostró este don al protagonizar dos producciones de Henrik Ibsen: A Doll’s House (1879) y Hedda Gabler (1890). Los críticos quedaron maravillados ante el cambio total que la actriz realizaba de un personaje a otro. Edward Simmons capturó el talento dramático y la belleza de Nazimova en esta pintura, ejecutada en la cumbre de su carrera. En los años posteriores, alternó el escenario con papeles en las primeras películas de cine de Hollywood.
Provenance
Henry E. Harvitt; purchased 1975 by Val E. Lewton, Washington, great-nephew of sitter; gift 1986 to NPG
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Exhibition
20th Century Americans: 1900-1930 (re-installation 2012)
On View
NPG, South Gallery 322