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By van Elven, Pierre Tetar (Dutch, 1828-1908)
This exquisitely detailed watercolour painting of the Tsarina in Nice, France, is not only a beautiful artwork, but also an important relic of Russian history.
This fine watercolour painting depicts the Russian Tsarina, Alexandra Feodorovna (1872-1918), wife of Tsar Nicholas II, to the centre, surrounded by her entourage whilst visiting the French city of Nice during the winter of 1855. The Tsarina is shown seated, wearing a black gown highlighted with blue, holding a fan and wearing a tied hat as she converses with a woman sat opposite her. The scene is set in a walled courtyard of a house on the edge of the city, with mountains and a castle visible in the background.
The painting is signed to the lower left 'P. T. v. Elven', and bears a written inscription in French to the reverse, reading 'Alexandrine Feodorowna Impératrice de Russie et sa suite pendant l´hiver de 1855 a Nice / Pierre Tetar van Elven Niezza', translating to 'Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of Russia, and her suite during the winter of 1855 in Nice / Pierre Tetar van Elven, Nice'. The scene is painted with watercolour on paper, and is glazed and housed in a giltwood frame.
The named artist, Pierre Tetar van Elven (Dutch, 1828-1908) was born in Brussels as the son of Dutch artist Jean-Baptiste Tetar van Elven, who was also his teacher. In 1846 he moved to Holland and enrolled at the Academy of Art in Amsterdam. After travelling and working extensively around Europe, from 1858 he gained a formidable reputation as the court painter of King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy (1828-1878).
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