Private collection, UK
Sale: Sotheby’s London, 7 April 1989, lot 23
Nikolai Rachkov is best known for his portraits of young women and children, such as Little Flower Seller (1869) and Portrait of a Young Girl (1877). Here, however, the artist demonstrates his skill in depicting a genre scene and introduces a strong narrative element to the piece. The painting captured moments of ordinary life and imbued them with a sense of narrative or emotion. In Homeless, Rachkov demonstrates his ability to capture the intense emotional charge of his portrait paintings.
Born near Nizhny Novgorod in 1825, from 1838, Rachkov studied at Alexander Stupin’s art school in Arzamas and after at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in St.Petersburg. In 1845 the Academy awarded him with a silver medal for the Portrait of a Gypsy Woman. In the 1860s, the artist moved to Moscow, where he was one of the founding members of the Moscow Society of Art Lovers along with such as Ivan Aivazovsky, Isaac Levitan, Vasily Perov, Aleksey Savrasov, and others.
Rachkov was one of the most significant Russian genre painters; his works are in the collections of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the Russian Museum in St.Petersburg and the Voronezh Museum.