Alexander Beggrov’s Scheveningen Fishing Boats. A Dutch theme in the oeuvre of a Russian marine painter

Jeroen van der Boon

Magazine issue: 
#2 2022 (75)

Alexander Karlovich Beggrov (1841-1914) started his professional career as an officer in the Imperial Russian Navy. After an early and voluntary discharge from the naval service, he devoted himself to his artistic ambitions. His beach scenes with fishing boats and fishing folk form an important part of his oeuvre. In 1876, he came to the Dutch North Sea coast to paint the bluff-bowed fishing boats of the Scheveningen fishermen.

Alexander BEGGROV. Return of the Fishing Boats. 1913. Detail
Alexander BEGGROV. Return of the Fishing Boats. 1913
Oil on canvas. 44 × 64 cm. © Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Detail

Alexander Beggrov (name variations Beggroff and Beggrow) was born on December 17, 1841, in St. Petersburg to the family of the Baltic-German draftsman Karl Petrovich Beggrov.[1]

After completing Saint Anne’s High School for children of the German community in the capital, he was assigned to educational institutions of the Imperial Armed Forces for military training at the age of 12, first at the Nicholas Army Engineering School and then at the Navy Engineering and Artillery School.

At the age of 22 - he had been drawing and painting for several years - Beggrov was commissioned as a naval officer and entered service with the Baltic fleet. On one of his first sea voyages (with the frigate Alexander Nevsky), he was shipwrecked off the coast of Danish Jutland, whereupon the Russian naval authorities commissioned their official artist - the marine painter and St. Petersburg art-school teacher Aleksei Petrovich Bogolyubov - to capture the consequences of this shipping disaster on canvas. However, as Bogolyubov himself was not at the site, he used crewmember Beggrov's detailed sketches of the disaster for his paintings. Beggrov's drawings bore witness to a striking talent for draughtsmanship and they appealed to the influential Bogolyubov so much that he later helped Beggrov gain admittance to the Imperial Academy of Art in Saint Petersburg. This is how the young painter came into contact with the experienced professor who would first become his teacher in the Russian capital and, later, also his mentor in the early 1870s in Paris.[2]

Beggrov's teacher had also trained to be an officer in the Russian navy. As an artist, he started out as a batalist - a painter of (maritime) war scenes - but he soon understood the impact of the German and French landscape schools and, by applying these modern artistic trends in his own work, gradually transformed his painting style. He became an expert on European landscape painting and had a great influence on many Russian painters. This also applies to Beggrov, whose painting style even came to resemble that of his famous teacher remarkably closely.

Beggrov greatly admired Bogolyubov. His adoration went so far that - especially at the beginning of his artistic career - he began to enthusiastically copy his teacher. This procedure was not uncommon in the 19th century, but Beggrov imitated his teacher more diligently than was then usual in academic painting circles. He chose the same painting locations and views as well as the same themes and painting techniques. At the time, he was criticised for this behaviour. For example, the German art historian Julius Meyer notes in his “General Lexicon of Artists” from 1872: “His [Beggrov’s] works resemble a lot those of Prof. A. P. Bogoljuboff.“[3] Hermann Alexander MQller and Hans Wolfgang Singer come to the same conclusion in the first volume of the “Lexicon of Artists” from 1920: “numerous seascapes [...], resembling so much the paintings of his teacher.“[4] The contemporary Russian art historian Irina A. Ilyina writes about Beggrov's imitations: “In the paintings of the novice painter, one can discern ‘Bogolyubov’ locations, themes, compositions and perspectives, as well as technical and visual processes,” which she believes are a sign of a crystallising of Beggrov’s craftsmanship.[5] Of course, Bogolyubov was sympathetic to his pupil and influenced him with his way of painting, but the close collaboration also led to parallels in painting style, which gave rise to a constant comparison between the work of the two men, “which the artists themselves did not always like and which did not improve their relationship,” writes Ilyina.[6] In this context, she refers to the sculptor and academy professor Ilya Yakovlevich Gintsburg, who describes in his memoirs how Bogolyubov once spoke of his pupil (perhaps with an ironic intent): “he, that scoundrel, started to copy me and imitated my painting style in such a way that his paintings were mistaken for mine.”[7]

Beggrov's early Parisian apprenticeship with the academy painter Leon Bonnat may have fostered his copying behaviour. The prevailing French studio practice for students of painting was particularly strongly focused - even more than in St. Petersburg - on imitating their masters.[8]

Finally, Bogolyubov's teaching style may have contributed to the emergence of the stylistic similarities. The professor used to send his students to study locations where he had previously painted himself. He often accompanied them there to work with them and unveil the secrets of his artistry. For example, in the summer of 1874, he and Beggrov stayed in the idyllic French seaside resort of Veules-les-Roses on the Atlantic coast, where the painters Ilya Repin, Vasily Polenov and Konstantin Savitsky also resided.[9]

Nevertheless, Beggrov did develop his own style in the course of his painting career, driven by his natural talent and assisted by the experience of maturity.

Artistic recognition also followed, but according to Ilyina, “the conviction of an all-too-clear continuity would remain forever.”[10]

In 1876, at the intercession of Bogolyubov, Beggrov travelled to Scheveningen, a Dutch fishing village on the North Sea, near The Hague, to paint en plein air. Bogolyubov knew very well where he was sending his student - the professor had visited the Dutch North Sea coast several times.[11]

The village had attracted landscape painters for centuries and, especially in the 19th century, the influx of artists from all over the world was enormous, reaching a peak in the second half of the century - the time of the painters of the Hague School.

Scheveningen’s charm for painters was largely determined by the lack of a harbour. The fascinating fleet of fishing boats - ‘bomschuiten’ or ‘bommen’, massive wooden bluff-bowed sailing boats with a flat bottom - were a favourite element of the Scheveningen beach for many landscape painters. The fishermen let the boats run dry on the beach after fishing. Herring, plaice and haddock were unloaded on the spot to carts. Outside the fishing season, the ships were hoisted high on the beach or in the dunes to prevent them from being carried away by the tide. For the local population, this was a labour-intensive undertaking for which many men and teams of horses had to work together. The artists mainly saw a picturesque scene, but in December 1894, disaster struck for the fishing population - in one night, a severe western storm destroyed almost all the fishing boats. Breakwaters and a raised boulevard were built on it. Only 10 years later did Scheveningen get a port.

For the painters, the fishing village was a true haven of pleasure. Kraan writes: “At the beach, they found a variety of subjects: fisherwomen waving goodbye to their husbands or waiting for the return of a boat, the fish auction on the beach, shell fishermen with their characteristic wooden carts, net-menders in the dunes and the pulling of the pinkies [beach crafts with a sail, predecessors of the buff-bowed fishing boat, but smaller, less flat-bottomed and less angular than these] and the buff-bowed fishing boats pulled up the beach with horsepower.” [12]

The first foreign painter to visit Scheveningen (and Dordrecht) in the 19th century was probably William Turner, in 1817. Many English masters followed in his footsteps. Painters from other countries followed, in the first half of the 19th century from France, such as Eugene Louis Gabriel Isabey. From Denmark came Carl Fred- erik S0rensen, and from Germany, Andreas Achenbach. After about 1850, the bathers arrived and Scheveningen thereafter became a seaside resort.

The emerging middle class gradually discovered Scheveningen as a place for relaxation and beach holidays. Casinos, hotels, bathhouses and theatres transformed the village. It grew busier and busier, with the attendant loss of the intimate character of the original community. The growth of tourism went hand in hand with the decline in artistic interest and many painters of the fishermen’s life moved to the unspoilt smaller fishing villages further north and south along the coast.[13]

Yet, 20 years later, in about 1870, the village and the beach of Scheveningen were still a popular place to paint and when Alexander Beggrov came to the coastal village for the first time, he could take full advantage of the picturesque coastal scenes. Coincidentally, his appearance marks the beginning of the heyday of the Hague School, which would last until the turn of the century and to which the famous Dutch marine painter Hendrik Willem Mesdag- the ‘Painter of the North Sea’ - belonged. Most foreign painters had yet to come, including the Russians, who came to the Dutch coast in the last quarter of the 19th century.[14]

On arrival in Scheveningen, Beggrov was 35 years old. He already enjoyed a certain amount of fame. Four signed works of his are known from that first visit - three drawings and an oil painting.

The drawing “Scheveningen” (1876, private collection, Amsterdam) depicts a summer beach scene with fishermen. Fisherwomen wearing the white Scheveningen ‘mop hats’ with wings that recede to the side, seem to be waiting for the disembarkation of a fishing boat. Two women sit on a pile of planks, their straw hats covering their mop hats and providing protection from the blazing sun. A fisherman with a basket and an older gentleman with a top hat complete the waiting group.

“Schevenin” (1876, location unknown) is a coloured drawing of bluff-bowed fishing boats lying on the high tide line. The beach anchors of other not visible fishing boats are hooked into the sand. Further on, groups of people stand by the moored boats and along the high tide line.

The composition “Street in Dordrecht. Holland” (1876, Yaroslavl Art Museum) shows a street scene in the Dutch city of Dordrecht.15 In the centre of the image, a flower pushcart and two women are depicted; to the right of the cart, we see two dogs. In the background are brick buildings in grey-brown tones, with shops on the ground floor. The painter has depicted in Dutch ‘Brood Beschuit en Kleingoed’ and ‘Bier en Gedisteleerd,’ so these are apparently a bakery and a liquor store. Beggrov probably did not draw this place by chance - for the inhabitants of Dordrecht, this historic place was known for centuries as the ‘Moordhoek’ (‘Murder Corner’). Incidentally, it is impossible that Beggrov drew the spot in 1876 at the location. According to a directory from the city, the buildings had already been demolished in 1873. Nevertheless, the title, year, and signature document Alexander Beggrov’s commitment to this old Dutch city that was so attractive to artists.[16]

The oil painting “Schevenin” (1876, Slovtsov Regional Museum Complex, Tyumen) shows a coastal landscape with bluff-bowed fishing boats anchored in the surf.[17] Left of centre, we see two large fishing boats with sails hoisted. The waves crash wildly against the ship's hull. Human figures are visible on the deck. In the surf, at the stern, is a fisherman with a rope, knee- deep in the water. Further to the right, on the beach, several fishermen and women in white mop hats are visible. To the right are fishing boats with half-lowered sails. There are small human figures to be seen. In the background are more sailing ships. Two-thirds of the canvas is occupied by a dense cloud cover. The sun's rays break through faintly. The entire colour palette is executed in the style of the Hague School - in lead gray and brownish tones.

A year later, in 1877, Beggrov paid a second visit to Scheveningen. An oil painting from that year is a beach scene titled “Scheveningen. Repairs to the Fishing Boats” (1877, Radishchev State Art Museum, Saratov). The work is located in the Radishchev Museum in Saratov, originally set up by Beggrov's teacher Bogolyubov as his personal museum and opened in 1885. The professor was quite fond of this painting by his pupil and he found a home for it in his museum when it opened.[18] The canvas depicts a sandy coast where the hulls of several fishing boats are being tarred. Workers relax by the boats. In 2009, the Russian art historian Ilyina describes the mood of the work as follows: “On the canvas, Beggrov creates a poetic image of the seacoast - the sun breaks through the thick fog and illuminates the deserted coast and the fishing boats that look like sea monsters thrown down on the beach by the high tide.”[19] After 1877, as far as we know, the painter made no further visits to Scheveningen or the Dutch coast.

The painting “Scheveningen. Holland” [20] (1887, Nizhny Tagil Museum of Fine Arts) has something festive, something cheerful about it. The atmosphere is optimistic. The chattering fishermen's wives, the golden-yellow beach sand, the deep-blue colour of the sea with white crests, the clear blue sky with rushing clouds, and the fluttering sails of the fishing boats even make it seem as if Beggrov has painted the wind.

Two years before his first visit to Scheveningen, Aleksandr Beggrov had started exhibiting at the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions. As an active member of the Peredvizhniki (“the Wanderers”), he would invariably participate in its exhibitions over the course of many years.

Exactly when Beggrov painted the work “Scheveningen” (1877/1888, location unknown) is uncertain. The RKD-Netherlands Institute for Art History in The Hague puts it at 1877. This image was printed in a Dutch auction catalogue from 1979, when this canvas was auctioned in The Netherlands at the Van Marle en Bignell auction house in The Hague[21] for the sum of 13,500 guilders, which is the equivalent of 32,000 euros in 2018.[22] In the margin of this image in the auction catalogue is an intriguing handwritten text that reads: “Follower of Mesdag [...] was his student”[23] - an interesting, but most likely gratuitous observation from an anonymous source. The painting style of “Scheveningen” is distantly reminiscent of Mesdag’s work, and it is even probable that Beggrov took a few lessons with Mesdag during his stay in The Hague, but the style seems more related to that of the DQsseldorf master Andreas Achenbach.

A representation of the work on the front page of the 19th-century illustrated Russian art and literary weekly “Vsemirnaya Illyustratsiya” (“Worldwide Illustration”) No. 479 of March 11, 1878, argues in favour of this year of creation, although this cover image differs slightly from the image in the Dutch auction catalogue. The information on the site of the Russian State Catalogue of Museum Property and the “Album for the 25th Anniversary of the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions” (Moscow, 1899) argues against the year 1877. Both mention 1888 as the year of production.24 In any case, it is likely that such a painting already existed in 1877. There may also be an author’s copy from 1888.

Beggrov’s “Rescue Boat” (full title “For the Dying. Rescue Boat”) (1888, Leo Tolstoy State Museum, Moscow) depicts a rescue brigade of 10 dogged rowers working its way through the rising waves in a stormy sea, presumably heading towards the survivors of a shipwreck. The illustration is a reproduction from the aforementioned Peredvizhniki album. According to this Peredvizhniki album, the painter produced this large work - it measures 142 x 179 cm - for the Peredvizhniki Exhibition of 1888. The painting depicts Scheveningen.

Another oil painting “Fishing Canal in Dordrecht (Holland)” (1891, location unknown) features a Dutch cityscape with moored barges in a city moat. To the right of the quay, civilian houses with characteristic Dutch faqades are visible. On the left, in the background, we see a grain mill. This work was exhibited at the 19th Peredvizhniki Exhibition of 1891. The painting was auctioned in 1999 at Sotheby’s in London for more than 22,000 euros.

A graphic work of the painter “Unloading the Sailing Boats” (1893, location unknown) depicts fishing boats in turbulent surf. The fishing boats have arrived, the catch is being landed. The fishermen's wives are waiting at the fish auction.

Quite interesting is the painting “Return of the Fishing Boats” (1913, Tretyakov Gallery)25 with a scene depicting a fish auction, a Scheveningen beach scene, with fishing boats and women who gather around the catch that has been brought ashore. The man with the top hat and the stick is the auctioneer. He starts with too high a starting price and lowers it until someone agrees to buy a batch of fish for that price. A fish- erwoman raises her arm for approval.

“Return of the Fishing Boats” from the series of Scheveningen works is perhaps the clearest example of the way in which Beggrov positions human figures in his beach scenes. They do not have a real function in the depiction. These additional characters are for decoration. They increase the realistic atmosphere, give depth to the scene and literally bring the beach landscape to life, reinforcing the fishing theme. Beggrov begins to experiment with this way of painting at around the time of his arrival in Scheveningen. After that, he would also increasingly use this composition trick in his cityscapes.

What is also striking in Beggrov's Scheveningen works is his eye for detail. He depicts the bluff-bowed fishing boats extremely accurately. Contemporaries recalled that he criticised any depiction of a ship showing the slightest inaccuracy in construction.

As far as we know, Alexander Beggrov visited Holland twice. In 1876, he painted in Scheveningen and Dordrecht26 and, in 1877, he worked in Scheveningen.[27]

No visits are known of from later years or, at least, documented information is lacking. Nonetheless, works with a Dutch theme do exist from later years: 1887 (“Schevening. Holland”); 1888 (“Scheveningen” and “Rescue Boat”); 1891 (“Fishing Canal in Dordrecht (Holland)”); 1893 (“Unloading the Sailing Boats”); and 1913 (“Return of the Fishing Boats”).

It seems that the Scheveningen fishing scenes inspired Beggrov until late in his artistic career. Apparently, the painter used sketches that he had made on previous visits to Scheveningen. Perhaps he had developed - like his teacher Bogolyubov - a special emotional bond with the Dutch coast. Be that as it may, it is certain that, at about the turn of the century, he was no stranger to art circles in The Hague and Scheveningen - his name repeatedly crops up in newspaper articles during that period.

For example, an anonymous reviewer wrote in the “Algemeen Handelsblad” of April 12, 1886, about a “non-academic exhibition” which “still [yields] a lot of interest,” among which he includes Beggrov's work “Nevsky Prospekt”.[28]

In 1902, in Scheveningen, Beggrov was one of the Russian exhibitors at the “Exposition Internationale a Scheveningue”, an international art exhibition and charity art raffle aimed at raising money for the victims of the Second Boer War.[29] Artists from all over Europe and beyond had submitted approximately 5,000 works, which were raffled off after being exhibited.

In the Netherlands there was a lot of sympathy for the South African Boers. Artists from the Netherlands - also from abroad - were actively recruited to participate in the lottery exhibition.[30]

The exhibition catalogue lists not only paintings, engravings, etchings, lithographs, watercolors, pastels and drawings, but also medals, sculptures, pottery and luxury book editions. Two paintings by Alexander Beg- grov were raffled off. The art critic of the “Algemeen Handelsblad” wrote in his newspaper on August 14, 1902, about these two works: “More to mention: two deserving cityscapes by Beggrow.” The exhibition catalogue states on page 120, under ‘A. Beggrow, St.-Petersbourg’, two items. Item 27 “Marche aux poissons a Treport“ (“Fish Market in Treport”), and item 28 “Vue sur Treport” (“A View of Treport”).[31]

The newspaper “Nieuws van den Dag” of August 18, 1902, also published about the “Lottery Exhibition for the Boers”. The well-known Dutch art critic A. C. Loffelt writes: “works that attract attention in the [...] foreign sections [...] The two most charming and talented cityscapes of the [international] exhibition can also be found in the Russian section, a part of the main hall where most of the sculpture is placed. They depict harbour or market views in Treport, France, but the painter, Beggrow, is a Russian and now lives in St.-Petersburg.”32 Finally, Beggrov is mentioned in a Dutch newspaper “Het Vaderland” from 1908. On November 24 of that year, an auction of the painting collections of L. G. Brouwer and J. C. M. took place in Pulchri Studio in The Hague. An article in “Het Vaderland” mentions a profit of 500 guilders for the canvas “Bridge in St. Petersburg” by A. Beggrow. (The amount corresponds to a purchase price in 2018 of almost 6,000 euros.)

Alexander Beggrov was more than 50 when he moved to Gatchina, outside St. Petersburg, in 1892. He built a house on Aleksandrovskaya Street (now Volodarsky Street) at number 33, drained a swampy piece of wasteland and turned it into his vegetable garden. He used the produce in the kitchen as he was an excellent cook[33].

In his new hometown, Beggrov was very productive as a painter. He often left the town for his work - retrospectively drawing and painting landscapes of Normandy, Brittany, Holland, Venice, St. Petersburg and of his hometown of Gatchina. In 1899 alone, five of his paintings were shown at the XII exhibition of the Peredvizhniki. He became a popular resident of Gatchina, participating in music and theatre activities and helping to organise charitable art exhibitions. In 1899, on the initiative of G.G. Myasoedov, L.V. Lemoch and A.A. Kiselyov, councillors of the Imperial Academy of Arts, the Council conferred on him the title of professor. In 1912, in the autumn of his career as an artist and around the time of his 70th birthday, he exhibited his work for the last time at the 40th exhibition of the Peredvizhniki.[34]

In the same year, he donated a considerable sum of money (almost 64,000 rubles, equivalent to a current value of almost 1.9 million euros) to a fund for the Imperial Art Academy to help “poor artists, their widows and orphans”. He was then appointed an honorary member. An appointment also followed as Collegiate Assessor, which, at the time, was an official rank to which a salary was attached.

When Beggrov’s wife Lyudmila (“Ly- usha”) Beggrova died, Alexander moved to another house in the city at 8, Cathedral Street in 1904. He would live there until his death. (The wooden house is still standing.) His wife’s death broke his spirit. He was forced to stop his artistic activities and he never left his hometown again. He was seriously ill for the last six months of his life and, on the night of April 14-15, 1914, he ended his life in his house in Gatchina by shooting himself in the heart with a revolver. Three days later, he was buried next to his wife in the Lutheran section of the local cemetery. Many people came to pay their last respects. Wreaths were laid on the coffin on behalf of the President of the Academy of Arts, on behalf of Grand Duchess Mariya Pavlovna, on behalf of the Peredvizhniki, and on behalf of his many friends and acquaintances. Beggrov was 72 years old.

Works by Alexander Beggrov are kept in St. Petersburg (Hermitage Museum and State Russian Museum)[35] and in Moscow (Tretyakov Gallery). Beggrov’s works are also found in the museums of Astrakhan, Kaluga, Kursk, Nizhniy Tagil, Omsk, Penza, Perm, Samara, Smolensk, Tula, Tyumen, Baku, Sevastopol and elsewhere.

Exhibitions of the artist’s works were held in Russia in 2001 at the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg; in 2008 at Novosibirsk State Art Museum; in 2011 at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Moscow House of Photography, and the State Art Museum in Khanty-Mansiysk; in 2014 at Penaty Museum-Estate in the village of Repino, Leningrad Oblast, and at the A.N. Radishchev Saratov State Art Museum; in 2016 at the Central Naval Museum in St. Petersburg and at the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts; and in 2019 at the Rumyantsev Mansion in St. Petersburg.


  1. 1.        Biographic data in: Emmanuel Benezit, Dictionary of artists, vol. 2, Paris 2006, p. 31 (with auction records 1984-2001); Matthew Cullerne Bown, A dictionary of twentieth century Russian and Soviet painters: 1900-1980s, London 1998, p. 28 (with a glossary of Russian artists’ associations, bibliography); John Milner, A dictionary of Russian and Soviet artists 1420-1970. Woodbridge 1993,     p. 68; Andreas Beyer, Benedicte Savoy, Wolf Tegethoff, Eberhard Konig [Saur]. Allgemeines Kunstler- lexikon. Die bildenden Kunstler aller Zeiten und Volker, vol. 8, Munchen-Leipzig 1994, p. 274-275 (with many works in museums, literature references); Ulrich Thieme, Felix Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Kunstler: von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart, vol. 3, Leipzig 1909, p. 188 (as: Beggroff, Alexander).
  2. Today, Aleksei Petrovich Bogolyubov (1824-1896) and Alexander Karlovich Beggrov (1841-1914) are among the main representatives of the Russian realistic seascape painting of the second half of the 19th century, along with two other students of Bogolyubov: Mikhail Tkachenko (1860-1916) and Nikolai Gritsenko (1856-1900).
  3. Julius Meyer (1872), Allgemeines Kunstler-Lexikon, Band III, Leipzig: Engelmann, p. 309.
  4. Hermann Alexander Muller, Hans Wolfgang Singer (1920), Allgemeines Kunstler-Lexicon, ErsterBand, Frankfurt am Main: Literarische Anstalt Rutten&Loening, p. 94.
  5. I.A. Ilyina, “Artwork of Aleksei Bogolyubov’s Students. Works of Ivan Pokhitonov and Alexander Beggrov Held at the Radishchev Museum [in Saratov]”, in Collection of Academic Studies by Scholars from Different Universities, Issue 6 (Tourism and Cultural Heritage) (Saratov: 2009), p. 211.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ilya Gintsburg, Fragments of the Past (Memoirs) (Leningrad: 1924), p. 74.
  8. Hans Kraan. Dromen van Holland. Buitenlandse kunstenaars schilderen Holland 1800-1914. Zwolle, Waanders, 2002, p. 103.
  9. The seaside town Veules in Normandy became a centre of Russian culture for three months. Here, Russian artists under the tutelage of Bogolyubov spent hours working en plein air and studying nature and new features of colour, light and sky in painting.
  10. I.A. Ilyina, p. 211.
  11. In 1854-1856, Bogolyubov studied in Dusseldorf under the tutorship of German marine painter Andreas Achenbach. In the last year of his apprenticeship, he visited the North Sea coast for the first time. He returned in approximately 1870 and, in 1885, visited Amsterdam, Zandvoort, Harlem, Zaandam, Utrecht and Scheveningen. In addition, some of his works suggest that he visited the fisherman’s villages of Vlissingen and Katwijk. A drawing was presented by Bogolyubov to Pavel Tretyakov.
  12. Hans Kraan. Op. cit., p. 319.
  13. Bogolyubov’s students Nikolai Gritsenko and Mikhail Tkachenko favoured a more authentic fishermen’s commune Katwijk north off Scheveningen (which they visited in 1889 and 1892, respectively) for plein air painting.
  14. Russian marine painters visited the Dutch coast of the North Sea - Katwijk, Scheveningen and Vlissingen - at different times in 1850-1900. They all were naval officers and official painters of the Russian Imperial Navy. These artists included Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900; visited the Netherlands in the 1840s), Aleksei Bogolyubov (1824-1896; 1856, 1870, 1885), Alexander Beggrov (1841-1914; 1876, 1877), Nikolai Gritsenko (1856-1900; 1889, 1892), Mikhail Tkachenko (1866-1916; 1889), Aleksei Ganzen (1876-1937; 1910).
  15. Last accessed on February 12, 2022.
  16. Yet in the 17th century, Dordrecht was a favourite destination of urban landscape painters (Aelbert Cuyp, Abraham van Calraet, Jan van Goyen). This quiet town with canals was rediscovered in the 19th century. In 1850-1920 “Cuyp’s town” (17th-century landscape artist Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691) was born and lived there) was visited by more than 300 foreign artists.
  17. Last accessed on February 12, 2022.
  18. I.A. Ilyina, footnote 48.
  19. Ibid. p. 212.
  20. Last accessed on February 12, 2022.
  21. Van Marle & Bignell. The 1979 Auction Catalogue, the Hague. “An important auction of paintings: oil paintings and watercolours of renowned Dutch, Belgian, German and French masters of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, as well as an important collection of 20th-century masters”. Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD-Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis), Exemplaarnummer / copy No. 201014577.
  22. Information received from Dr. J. F. de Kort, lecturer in economics at the Department of Economics, Institute of Tax Law and Economics. See also Last accessed on Febr.12, 2022.
  23. Catalogue of Van Marle & Bignell’s 617th auction - an important auction of paintings held on September 10, 11 and 12, 1979, page 39, No. 064, Aleksandr Beggroff (1841-). Russian school. “Bombs” on the coast of Scheveningen with fishermen. Signed and dated “Scheveningen 1877”. Canvas: 75 x 58 cm. RKD-Nederlands Instituut voor Kunstgeschiedenis. Exemplaarnummer / copy No. 201014576.
  24. Last accessed on February 12, 2022. Page 9 lists an index of works, with the year of creation, location and size of each work. “Scheveningen”; 1888; “Grand Prince Aleksei Aleksandrovich”; 71 x 58 cm and “Cannot de sauvetage”(“Life- Boat”); 1888; “Abroad, at a Stranger’s Place”; 142 x 179 cm. Reproductions of these works by BEGGROV (“Scheveningen” and “Cannot de sauvetage”) can be found on p. 20 of the album.
  25. Last accessed on February 12, 2022.
  26. Ilyina, op.cit., p. 211.
  27. Ilyina, op.cit., footnote 41.
  28. This reviewer writes the following: “Historical paintings here are featured prominently as well. They remind us of events of the past - one can say, events of the Russia of the tsars. <...> Thus, there is a painting by Beggrov called ‘Nevsky Prospect’, featuring St. Petersburg’s main thoroughfare which, with regard to its length and width, gorgeousness and bustle, almost has no equals in other capitals of Europe. But as gorgeous a spectacle as one can find on this thoroughfare at four in the afternoon, it looks equally gloomy and intimidating in the spring morning in a wet and chilly weather; and the artist shows us our favourite street in this anxiety, true to life.”
  29. The Boers were white settlers of predominantly Dutch extraction. They left Britain’s Cape Colony and founded their own independent Boer Republics, Transvaal and the Orange Free State, because they did not want to live under British rule any more. Several months previously, the Boers were badly defeated in the Second Boer War against the British Empire in 1899-1902. Annexed by the British Empire, the Republics ceased to exist as independent entities.
  30. Why did this philanthropic initiative find support in many countries? “I think the reason is the (unsuccessful) pleas for help the Boers sent in 1901 to nine different countries - this probably disturbed the public but not governments of these countries”. (Information received from Dr Adrienne Quarles van Ufford, art historian, curator at Museum Panorama Mesdag in the Hague.)
  31. The review also mentioned other Russian artists such as Andrei Petrovich Ryabushkin (1861-1904); Elisabeth Boehm (1843-1914); Nikolai Alekseevich Kasatkin (1859-1930); Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov (18441927); Aleksandr Alekseevich Borisov (1866-1934). Source: - a free site developed and managed by the Royal Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek), a repository of digitised old Dutch newspapers, books, magazines and radio broadcasts from libraries, museums and other institutions in charge of cultural heritage.
  32. Antonie Cornelis Loffelt (1841-1906) was a literature scholar and English-language instructor in Dordrecht and, from 1879, an art critic. As an art critic, he wrote, inter alia, about the Hague school.
  33. Russian and Soviet artist Yakov Danilovich Minchenkov (1871-1938), an active participant of the “Peredvizhniki” group of Russian realist painters, wrote about this kitchen garden and Beggrov’s cooking. Yakov Minchenkov, Memoirs about the “Peredvizhniki” (Leningrad: Khudozhnik RSFSR, 1965).
  34. The author of the article devoted to the painter’s 70th anniversary, published in the Niva magazine, admiringly speaks about the man of the hour: “A fresh azure sea, proud marine behemoths, white clouds of smoke from the fireworks - these are the favourite themes of this patriarch of marine landscape”.
  35. The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg holds a large collection of Beggrov’s art. Forty etchings, paintings and drawings / watercolours. Paintings: “St. Petersburg. A View of the Neva”, 1912 (oil on canvas, 85 x 120.5 cm); “An Embankment of the Neva”, 1876 (oil on canvas, 53.5 x 93 cm); “Venice. Fishermen’s Schooners”, 1876 (oil on canvas, 34.5 x 25 cm); “Le Havre. Entry to the Port During a Tide”, 1876 (oil on canvas, 53 x 89 cm); “A View of the Neva from the Winter Palace”, 1881 (oil on canvas, 53 x 93 cm); “A View of the Neva and the Admiralty Embankment on a Moonlit Night”, no later than 1882 (oil on canvas, 68 x 104.5 cm); “Deck of ‘Svetlana’ Frigate”, 1883, a study for the painting “Deck of ‘Svetlana’ Frigate”, (oil on wood, 17.7 x 27 cm); “Miinajoki” (old Finnish name of the Novinka River in Russia) (Finland), 1884 (oil on canvas, 29 x 46 cm).
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. Repairs to the Fishing Boats. 1877
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. Repairs to the Fishing Boats. 1877
Oil on canvas. 33 × 46 cm
© Radishchev State Art Museum, Saratov. Detail
Alexander Beggrov (1841–1914) at work in his studio in Gatchina
Alexander Beggrov (1841–1914) at work in his studio in Gatchina
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. 1876
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. 1876
Pencil, watercolour on cardboard. 11.5 × 15.3 cm
Private collection, Amsterdam
Fishing boats on the beach of Scheveningen, waiting to put to sea. 1860
Fishing boats on the beach of Scheveningen, waiting to put to sea. 1860
Photo album “The Hague and Scheveningen”. 1860
Published by M.M. Couvée, The Hague. Photographer M. Hille, collection of the Municipal Archives of The Hague
A.K. Beggrov with friends in Paris. 1870s
A.K. Beggrov with friends in Paris.
Top row from left:
K.A. Savitsky, A.P. Bogolyubov, I.E. Repin, M.G. Ghe, A.K. Beggrov.
Sitting, from the left:
V.D. Polenov, Z.G. Ghe, G.G. Ghe, the wife of the artist N.D. Dmitrieva, V.A. Repina
1870s. Photograph
Scheveningen. Around 1900
Scheveningen. Around 1900
Photo. Collection of the Municipal Archives of The Hague
Aleksei BOGOLYUBOV. Katwijk in Holland. 1870s
Aleksei BOGOLYUBOV. Katwijk in Holland. 1870s
Pen on cardboard, sepia. 17.7 × 28.4 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Alexander BEGGROV. Street in Dordrecht. Holland. 1876
Alexander BEGGROV. Street in Dordrecht. Holland. 1876
Watercolour, whitewash, graphite pencil on cardboard. 17.7 × 24.2 cm
© Yaroslavl Art Museum
Portrait of Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831–1915).
Portrait of Hendrik Willem Mesdag (1831–1915). 1913
© Bibliotheque nationale de France
Alexander BEGGROV. Schevenin. 1876
Alexander BEGGROV. Schevenin. 1876
Watercolour on cardboard. 24.5 × 34.5 cm
Location unknown
A group of members of the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions. Far right A.K. Beggrov. 1886
A group of members of the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions. Far right A.K. Beggrov. 1886
Photograph. Published: Essays on the history of the Russian culture in the 2nd half of the 19th Century. Moscow, Prosveshchenie, 1976
Alexander BEGGROV. Rescue Boat. 1888
Alexander BEGGROV. Rescue Boat. 1888
Paper, printing, phototype. Original: 142 × 179 cm. Published: Album of the 25th anniversary of the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions. Moscow. 1899.
© Leo Tolstoy State Museum, Moscow
Album of the 25th anniversary of the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions. Moscow, 1899. Page 20
Album of the 25th anniversary of the Society for Travelling Art Exhibitions. Moscow, 1899. Page 20.
© Leo Tolstoy State Museum, Moscow
Alexander BEGGROV. Schevenin. 1876
Alexander BEGGROV. Schevenin. 1876
Oil on canvas. 90 × 131 cm
© Slovtsov Regional Museum Complex, Tyumen
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. Repairs to the Fishing Boats. 1877
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. Repairs to the Fishing Boats. 1877
Oil on canvas. 33 × 46 cm
© Radishchev State Art Museum, Saratov
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. 1877/1888
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. 1877/1888
Paper, printing, phototype. Original: 75 × 58 cm. Published: Auction catalogue 1979, The Hague.
RKD-Netherlands Institute of Art History
Alexander BEGGROV. Fishing Canal in Dordrecht (Holland). 1891
Alexander BEGGROV. Fishing Canal in Dordrecht (Holland). 1891
Oil on canvas. 62 × 85.5 cm
Courtesy of Sotheby's, London
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. Holland. 1887
Alexander BEGGROV. Scheveningen. Holland. 1887
Oil on canvas. 55 × 74 cm
© Nizhniy Tagil Museum of Fine Arts
Alexander BEGGROV. Return of the Fishing Boats. 1913
Alexander BEGGROV. Return of the Fishing Boats. 1913
Oil on canvas. 44 × 64 cm
© Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Alexander BEGGROV. Unloading the Sailing Boats. 1893
Alexander BEGGROV. Unloading the Sailing Boats. 1893
Сardboard, paper, ink. 25 × 33 cm
Courtesy of
Exhibition of the Boers in Scheveningen. August 1902
Exhibition of the Boers in Scheveningen. August 1902.
From left to right, three Boer commanders are seated: Koos de la Rey, Christiaan de Wet and Louis Botha. Standing from left to right are Hendrik Willem Mesdag, and Jozef Israëls (a leading member of the Hague School of realist painting and co-organiser)
Unknown photographer
© Collection of the City Archives of The Hague
House at 8, Sobornaya Street, Gatchina, where A. Beggrov lived
House at 8, Sobornaya Street, Gatchina, where A. Beggrov lived
Modern photograph





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