Pavel Tretyakov and Nikolai Ge
The relationship between Pavel Tretyakov and Nikolai Ge has never been examined in any detail in publications devoted to the art collector. Alexandra Botkina barely touches upon the subject in her memoir, while Sofia Goldstein states definitely that Ge’s late work, so highly valued by Leo Tolstoy, was never appreciated by Tretyakov.1 When art experts write about Ge, they stress that the master’s art stood alone as original and ahead of its time, deeming the details of the relationship between the artist and the collector less of a priority.2
The subject of “Tretyakov and Ge” touches upon many issues in the history and shaping of the Tretyakov Gallery collection; it sheds light on Tretyakov’s attitudes and philosophy, as well as general debate surrounding art at their time. There is little actual correspondence between Ge and Tretyakov.3 However, their opinions, assessments and tastes are reflected in their personal relationship as well as in related circumstances, and give a vivid picture of their complex era.
Pavel Tretyakov (1832-1898) and Nikolai Ge (1831-1894) were of the same generation. The artist and the collector had much in common, but much divided them too. They both loved art, worshipped it and served it. At almost exactly the same time they separately conceived of the idea of a portrait gallery of “people treasured by our nation”. Unfortunately, the financial circumstances of his life did not allow Ge to achieve his goal. At different points in their lives their relationship would be warm and close, then cold and distant, and they would part ways. Over the years, their feelings toward one another changed — sometimes associated with respect, kinship and admiration, sometimes resentment, irony, incomprehension, indifference and scepticism. As years went by, the differences became more palpable, perhaps even insurmountable. Tretyakov wrote candidly to Tolstoy after Ge’s death: “As to his work, my favourite is ‘The Last Supper’, then ‘Peter and Alexei’, ‘In the Garden of Gethsemane’, ‘Christ and the Disciples Going out into the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper’ (the study), your portrait, those of Herzen and Schiff; I like a lot of things about ‘Mercy’, as to his other paintings, I do not understand them.”4 The collector’s honest words reveal the ambiguous nature of his relationship with Ge.
The art collector and the artist met rather late in their lives, at the turn of the 1860s and 1870s, when both were already established figures in the art world. Why had they not met earlier? Ge was on a scholarship from the Imperial Academy of Arts and working in Italy, and only returned home to Russia in May 1870. When Stasov asked Tretyakov when he had first met Ge, Tretyakov mentioned 1870.5 This date is confirmed by Ge’s first known letter to the art collector from St. Petersburg, dated February 12 1870: “I deeply regret that my visit to Moscow was too short to visit your gallery or have the pleasure of meeting you personally; I hope to have the privilege to do so when I am in Moscow next time, which should be soon.”6
The first piece that Tretyakov acquired from the artist was “Peter the Great Interrogating Tsarevich Alexei at Peterhof”, a painting based on Russian history. Tretyakov bought the painting directly from the artist in 1871, before the opening of the first exhibition of the “Peredvizhniki” (Wanderers) group.7
Tretyakov did not buy Ge’s art very often, and he openly refused some of the artist’s pieces. Tretyakov did not commission a single portrait from the artist for his renowned gallery of portraits of distinguished citizens of Russia. During Ge’s lifetime, only ten paintings were acquired for the gallery, and not a single drawing. The only drawing in the collection was “The Last Supper”, which was accepted as a gift from the artist in 1887.
Tretyakov bought the painting “What is Truth?” at Tolstoy’s urgent request, after it was removed from a “Peredvizhniki” exhibition due to being deemed “deeply offensive to religious feeling.”8 He also financially supported the painting’s failed American “tour” arranged by Tolstoy, and paid for its return home, to the gallery in Tolmachi.
By the year of Tretyakov’s death9, his collection included one drawing and 47 paintings by Ge, out of which 11 were acquired by the collector himself, and 36 were a gift from Ge’s son, also named Nikolai Ge. By comparison, Tretyakov’s collection had 22 paintings by Fyodor Vasilyev, 36 by Ivan Kramskoi and 18 by Nikolai Yaroshenko.
The events and developments of the relationship between the artist and the collector should not be called ambiguous; nevertheless, there was something in this relationship that was not present in Tretyakov’s contacts with other artists. Ge’s late paintings of the “Gospel Series” were the subject of correspondence between Tretyakov and Tolstoy, which later became exceptionally important in the history of art and culture; these paintings were the reason why the writer and the collector exchanged important opinions on fundamental issues of Russian art. The controversy around the “Gospel Series” caused Tretyakov and Tolstoy to plainly state their views. Ge’s art continued to challenge Tretyakov throughout his life; generally quite reserved in his opinions and reluctant to discuss art, Tretyakov was forced to express his thoughts and feelings in letters, whether he wanted to do so or not. His commentary regarding Ge’s work, sometimes in defence of the artist, sometimes justifying his own actions, appears in his letters of different periods.
Tretyakov became interested in Ge’s work long before they met. The artist’s name is first mentioned in a letter to Tretyakov dated October 2 1863 — at that time Ge’s “The Last Supper” (now in the Russian Museum) was shown at the Academy of Arts exhibition. We do not know what the art collector’s first impression of the painting was; however, on numerous later occasions he expressed regret that “The Last Supper” was not in his gallery: “... of all the art exhibited at the Academy, with the exception of Ivanov’s studies, the painting that really stands out, that reigns — is Ge’s piece. What a shame it is at the Academy — the place is wrong for it! What a wonderful painting!”10
From 1863 onwards, Tretyakov was paying close attention to Ge’s work, and he kept an eye on his every new painting. In 1869 the art collector was closely following the creation of “Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane”. It would take Tretyakov a little less than 20 years to acquire the painting, in 1887 — it became Ge’s second painting in the gallery, and the first on a theme from the New Testament.
In the 1860s-1870s Tretyakov embarked on his plan to collect portraits of Russian writers, artists, composers, public figures, publicists and other “cultural icons”. At about the same time Ge decided to paint a similar gallery himself — “to create images of beloved contemporaries”. During the year of 1871 alone, the artist painted portraits of Ivan Turgenev, Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin, Nikolai Nekrasov, Alexander Serov; he also created a bust of Vissarion Belinsky. In 1871 Tretyakov commissioned a portrait of Belinsky from Kirill Gorbunov, of Turgenev from Vasily Perov; a year before that, also for Tretyakov, the artist Keller-Villiandi painted a portrait of Alexander Serov. This parallel concept of creating a national portrait gallery is quite illustrative; both Ge and Tretyakov intended to bequest their collections to the nation.
In 1869 Tretyakov apparently learned about the portrait of Alexander Herzen that Ge had painted in Florence in 1867; he approached the artist with an offer to buy it for his gallery, but Ge refused: “I have long been painting these portraits with a special purpose in mind, with no monetary interest for myself.”11
In mid-1870s Tretyakov once again requested to purchase Ge’s series of portraits. Ge was now prepared to donate the portraits to Tretyakov’s gallery, as well as any new ones that he may still paint in the future “so that they would belong to society, according to our mutual wish”. However, the artist listed four conditions, “of no consequence” to the collector, to which Tretyakov was not able to agree.12
Tretyakov did not give up and made another offer in the spring of 1877. Tretyakov’s letter has not survived, but the artist’s answer of March 8 1877 said: “I have always preferred to have you as the custodian of my work than any other private or government one as you are a real connoisseur, as well as someone I have full trust in ... it is in every way unreasonable to have these at the farm.”13 Ge had to admit the financial strain of supporting his family and agreed to sell his portraits of Alexander Herzen, Nikolai Kostomarov and Alexei Potekhin.
There was a delay in sending the portraits to Moscow as Ge was making copies to keep for himself. Tretyakov was first frustrated, then suspicious — when the purchased paintings arrived, the collector doubted that the portrait of Kostomarov that he had received was the original that he had seen at the Academy of Arts exhibition, but rather a later a copy by the artist. Ge had to explain himself: “An enlightened man, when uncertain of something, has a thousand ways to reassure himself before he accuses an honest man of fraud, and does it by throwing the accusation in his face, with cynicism unheard of in polite society. For the second time, I declare to you that the portrait of Kostomarov that was sent to you is the only one I painted as Kostomarov sat for it.”14 Tretyakov admitted his distrust was improper, however asked for leniency — as a collector, he had to alleviate his doubts, albeit in such a clumsy, unseemly manner. “I had to have your assurances. Your letter, even though it could not have been pleasant, gives me a perfectly satisfying answer to my question.” Then he takes stock of his relationship with Ge and continues: “I deeply regret that our association and friendly relations had to come to such a strange end.”15
Seven years went by. In 1885 Ge offered to sell to Tretyakov his portrait of Leo Tolstoy (painted a year before), admitting that it was financial hardship that made him do so.
In the mid-1870s Ge’s art was regarded with caution, to say the least; the fact that he left to live in the country was seen as an escape from St. Petersburg due to a creative crisis. In 1874 Kramskoi wrote to Repin: “Ge is lost, it seems it is too late for him to learn, and he never really did...”16 It looks as if Tretyakov was also watching the artist’s work with caution.
In 1889 the public was astonished by Ge’s “Christ and the Disciples Going out into the Garden of Gethsemane after the Last Supper” (in the Russian Museum). Many of the “Wanderers” praised it, Myasoyedov, Konstantin Savitsky and Yaroshenko among them. The artist did not conceal his disappointment that the painting did not end up at the gallery in Moscow. Tretyakov, however, did not regret the fact: “Your painting leaves a great impression, but it resembles a large study, and I am more interested in your small study, the one I always wanted to buy from you, and I am reconfirming my offer...”17 Tretyakov acquired that study from the artist in the same year.
The end of the 1880s marks the last, and probably most complicated time in the relationship between the artist and the collector. At the time, Leo Tolstoy became a strong advocate of Ge’s art, and consequently Tretyakov was now facing two highly-regarded and serious opponents — the artist and the writer.
In the winter of 1890 St. Petersburg hosted the 18th “Peredvizhniki” (Wanderers) exhibition. Ge’s painting “What is Truth?” was displayed, causing uproar in the press. Three weeks after the opening, the painting was removed from the exhibition and excluded from its catalogue due to the interference of the official censor. The artist was at a loss to find a home for his “besieged” canvas.
In early summer 1890 Tretyakov received a letter from Tolstoy informing him that the painting was going to be exhibited in America and might be sold there. The writer went on to say that it was “inconceivable” that Tretyakov had not acquired the painting and urged him to “correct your mistake... so that your longstanding endeavour would not be in vain...” In his turn, Tretyakov tries to gently clarify the reasons for his reservations regarding “What is Truth?”: “... I had known for certain that the painting would be removed from the exhibition, and it would be forbidden to show it; consequently, it made no sense ... to purchase it ... However, this was not my only reason. I did not understand it. I saw great talent in this painting (as there is in everything that Ge creates), and said as much, but still ... I would be very grateful if you explained to me in more detail why you think that this painting is a masterpiece in Christian art. Only time will tell, but your opinion is so important and valuable for me that I need, to avoid an impossible situation, to correct my mistake, to immediately buy the painting and preserve it until the time when it can be exhibited.”18 Anxious not to make matters even worse and undermine his life’s mission to build a gallery of Russian art, Tretyakov bought the painting. A Moscow merchant subsidised the exhibition of “What is Truth?” abroad; however, it did not meet with success either in Germany or in the United States. The painting returned from its travels in spring 1891.
The same year Tretyakov bought Ge’s portrait of Tolstoy, the third in his collection. (The first was by Kramskoi, painted on Tretyakov’s commission in 1873, while the second was painted by Repin in 1887 and immediately acquired by Tretyakov).
Soon after, “The Diary of Tolstoy’s Follower” by Nikolai Ilyin was published19; it recalled the story of the painting’s exhibition abroad and rather insulted the writer, the artist and the collector. It seemed that the incident brought Ge and Tretyakov closer together, and they exchanged letters.
Ge had the higest respect for Tretyakov for his contribution to building a national Russian art collection. On numerous public occasions Ge stated how much he admired Tretyakov’s decision in the summer of 1892 to donate his collection of Russian art to the city of Moscow, combining it with his late brother’s collection of European art. “You are our dearest ally,” the artist wrote to the collector. “When our own real, contemporary art emerged with us, you supported us with your pure, noble and loving critical judgment. You were the first one to demonstrate — with your actions, not just words — that you value and love our art.”20 Ge’s contemporaries had vivid memories of his powerful speech at the first Congress of Russian Artists in Moscow, in which he repeated his expression of gratitude publicly.
However, Ge still did not understand why the paintings of his “Gospel Series” did not attract Tretyakov’s attention. He was injured by Tretyakov’s silence, and the fact that the latter showed no interest in any of the artist’s late works. At the same time, Ge’s letters from his last years clearly display his penchant for preaching, lecturing, and instructing the art collector. Ge argued with Tretyakov’s opinion that his last painting, “The Crucifixion”, “lacked artistic value”. The artist candidly stated that it was painful for him to hear such judgment from a man “who did so much for living art”, that Tretyakov’s words were at odds with his work as a collector.
Nikolai Ge died on June 1 1894. Tretyakov, both during the artist’s lifetime and after his death, often spoke of his deepest respect for Ge, both as an artist and as an individual. On June 29 1894 he confessed in his letter to Tolstoy, and his sincerity cannot be doubted: “I deeply loved Nikolai Nikolaevich as a person and had great respect for him as an artist; I always said he was indeed a true artist.”21; Ge’s passing caused Tolstoy and Tretyakov to renew their correspondence regarding the master’s legacy.
Tolstoy valued Ge’s sincerity and “Christian vision”; he called the painter “not just an outstanding Russian artist, but one of the great ones who bring the advent of a new era in art.”22 “His main strength is his sincerity, a clear and accessible subject- matter,” Tolstoy wrote. “Some say his technique is weak, but it is not true. Whenever a painting has a message, it is criticised for weak technique, especially by those who fail to understand the message.”23 Tolstoy strongly advised Tretyakov to buy all remaining Ge’s work “so that ... our main national art gallery would not miss out on the legacy of one of our best artists.”24 In return, Tretyakov honestly admitted: “I am not ashamed to say that I do not understand him — otherwise, I would be lying.”25 He tried to justify his view by pointing out similar opinions of his peers. He knew only too well from his experience that there were none who openly praised the painting, and many who disapproved of it: “... it may be that it is those few who are actually right, and there will be a time when Truth triumphs, but when?”26 the collector asked.
Tretyakov insisted that it was impossible for a public gallery to acquire Ge’s late artworks — it would cause complications with censorship and interference into the museum’s affairs. As the curator of the Moscow Art Gallery at the time, he was afraid to “offend the feeling of the Orthodox Russian people”27; he was concerned that someone, in a fit of indignation, should destroy the paintings or demand that they be removed from the gallery. Cautious and far-sighted, Tretyakov thought such considerations valid, and considered it his duty to protect the gallery’s reputation, to guard and preserve it. Tretyakov was convinced that those kinds of paintings should only be in private hands.
Immediately after the artist’s death his sons Peter and Nikolai and his daughter-in-law Yekaterina decided to move Ge’s paintings from his home to Yasnaya Polyana, fearing that they would not be safe otherwise. Having received the paintings, Tolstoy promised to Ge’s children that he would try to convince Tretyakov to “buy all paintings that were left of Ge’s and keep them” at his gallery.28 Tolstoy writes to the artist’s son Nikolai: “... so far, I have just been corresponding with Tretyakov ... I think I may have succeeded in making him understand the significance of Ge’s legacy; and, when I am in Moscow, I will work to establish a museum of Ge’s art through him, or Soldatenkov, or someone else...”29 In the summer of 1894 two of Ge’s paintings, “The Judgment of the Sanhedrin” and “The Crucifixion” (1894) were placed in Tolstoy’s study in Yasnaya Polyana “until their future is decided”.
It seems that it was at the same time, with Tolstoy’s participation, the agreement was reached between Tretyakov and Ge’s heirs. Tatiana Sukhotin-Tolstoy writes in her memoir: “Having thought over and discussed the fate of Ge’s paintings with close friends, my father suggested that Tretyakov create a museum of Ge’s art within his gallery and collect all the artist’s paintings and studies for it. Cautious and practical, Pavel Mikhailovich listened to father’s proposal ... and agreed to give his answer in a year. Exactly a year later, he visited my father and said he would take the paintings and put them up in his gallery among other art, but he would only have a separate space for them in five years.”30
In March 1897 Tretyakov accepted from Ge’s son Nikolai the donation of 116 pieces by Ge: six paintings, 14 sketches, two portraits, 32 studies and 62 drawings.31 He promised that they would be exhibited in the gallery for a year; he went on to specify that “those paintings that for some reason cannot be exhibited fo r the public will be displayed in a separate space, unless you have other suggestions.”32
In the spring of the same year Tretyakov started his last reconstruction of the gallery, which was finished in August of the following year, and the placement of the paintings within the gallery was rearranged. On September 1, he invited a select group of people to view Ge’s paintings, which stayed on display for just a few days. A law-abiding citizen, he went on to temporarily cover some of the paintings of the “Gospel Series” with drapes. Their titles can be determined from the materials of the Tretyakov Galley Council records of 1899 and 1900, as well as Tretyakov’s letters to Ilya Ostroukhov. There are no surviving accounts of any observations by Tretyakov himself on the subject.
After Tretyakov’s death, Ge’s son Nikolai, followed by Repin, approached Ilya Ostroukhov as a member of the Tretyakov Gallery Council with a request to reconsider the possibility of exhibiting Ge’s paintings. “These are undoubtedly creations of a great talent,” Ostroukhov wrote to Repin. “However ... it will still not be permitted to exhibit them. By attempting to do it, we will be inviting censorship into the gallery. Is it really advisable? Before you know it, other paintings will be removed, not just ‘Golgotha’ and ‘The Morning of the Resurrection’, but also ‘What is Truth?’ and ‘The Judgment of the Sanhedrin’, and maybe some others. I do not know what the Council decides, but the best thing would be to offer Nikolai Nikolaevich [Ge’s son] two options: we either leave the two ‘Crucifixions’ in a separate (private) space, covered with drapes, or he agrees to take them back. Believe me, there is no other way.”33 In his letter to Repin Ostroukhov writes about “four [of Ge’s paintings — T.Yu.] that were kept under drapes”34 when Tretyakov was alive. He named two of them — “Golgotha” and “The Morning of the Resurrection” — and promised to secure a place in the main gallery, exhibited for the general public. The letter’s drafts are dated June 18 1899.
The Tretyakov Gallery Council met the same day, and its judgment was as follows: “Having examined the paintings [four of Ge’s paintings covered with drapes], the Council decided that № 641 ‘The Morning of the Resurrection’’ is to be immediately exhibited at the gallery where indicated by PM. Tretyakov, № 645 ‘Golgotha’ is to be also exhibited, but after a period of time, however, №№644 and 646 ‘The Crucifixion’ are not found suitable to be put on display for viewing by the public, and are to be kept in a separate space covered by drapes.”35
A190236 photograph of Room 6 of the Tretyakov Gallery confirms the placement of the paintings as decided by the Council.
The two “Crucifixions”, as in Tretyakov’s lifetime, were still not available for viewing by the public. In 1900 they were returned to the artist’s son37, who took them abroad. In 1903 the two paintings were exhibited in Paris and later in Geneva.
More than half a century went by before Ge’s solo exhibitions were held in Kiev (1956-1957), Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev and Minsk (1970-1971). During all that time before the exhibitions in the second half of the 20th century the paintings of Ge’s “Gospel Series” were repressed by censorship, kept in storage — in effect “exiled”. Tolstoy, in the Holy Synod’s Announcement of 1901, was accused of disseminating teachings offensive to Christ and the Church, and his beliefs were pronounced incompatible with membership in the Russian Orthodox Church.
In the mid-20th century, art experts lost track of one version of Ge’s “Crucifixion” (the one painted in 1894); the other one, painted in 1892, has been part of the permanent exhibition in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris since 1980.
- Goldstein, S .N. “Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov and his Art Collecting Activity" // State Tretyakov Gallery: Historical Essays. 1856-1917. Marking 125 Years of the Tretyakov Gallery Foundation. Leningrad, 1981. P. 101.
- Arbitman, E.N. “Life and Art of Nikolai Ge”, Moscow, 1972. Zograf, N.Y. “Nikolai Ge”, Moscow, 1974. Vereshchagina, A.G. “Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge”, Leningrad, 1988.
- “Late N.N. (whom I had a great affection for) and I did not correspond - there were just a few letters of purely business nature; those letters are not interesting or relevant to anyone, with just one exception, which I cannot show to anyone, or maybe... when I see Lev Nikolaevich and if he agrees with me that this letter cannot be made public - even though this letter is of no interest for anyone...” - Tretyakov wrote in his letter to Vladimir Stasov after the artist's death on August 16 1894 // Correspondence between PM. Tretyakov and V.V. Stasov. Moscow, Leningrad, 1949. P. 187.
- Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge. Letters. Articles. Reviews. Recollections by Contemporaries. Moscow, 1978. P. 200.
- PM. Tretyakov - V.V. Stasov. September 14 1893. Correspondence between PM. Tretyakov and V.V. Stasov. P. 169.
- Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge - Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov. February 12 1870. Artists' Letters to Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov. 1870-1879. Moscow, 1968. P. 9.
- Botkina, A.P. “Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov in Life and Art” Moscow, 1995. Pp. 102, 313-314
- K.P. Pobedonostsev and his Correspondents. Letters and Notes. Moscow, Petrograd, 1923. Volume 1, Part 2, p. 934.
- Catalogue of Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov's City Gallery. Edition 10, Moscow, 1898. / Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov. Life. Collection. Museum. To the 150th Anniversary of the State Tretyakov Gallery. Moscow, 2006. Pp. 47,71,103-105
- I.N. Kramskoi - P.M. Tretyakov. February 5 1881 // I.N. Kramskoi and P.M. Tretyakov.. 1869-1887. Moscow, 1953. P. 277.
- Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge - Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov. February 12 1870. Artists' Letters... 1870-1879. P. 9
- “First, as I offer the portraits to your gallery, I pledge not to withdraw them as long as the gallery remains under your personal ownership; second, I pledge to donate my portraits to the city at the same time as you donate yours, so that the two collections would not be separated; third, the portraits will remain my property as long as they have not been transferred to the city; fourth, in the event of my death, I will leave a corresponding provision in my will.” // Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge. Correspondence... P. 91.
- Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge - Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov . March 8 1877 // Artists' Letters... 1870-1879. P. 290.
- Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge - Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov. November 8 1878 // Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge. Correspondence... P. 107.
- Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov - Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge. November 15 1878// Ibid. P. 108
- IN. Kramskoi - IE. Repin. February 23 1874// Ibid. P. 89.
- P.M. Tretyakov - N.N. Ge. March 21, 1889// Ibid. P. 141.
- P.M. Tretyakov - L.N.Tolstoy. June 18 1890// L.N. Tolstoy. Book II. Unpublished Correspondence. Part V. Tolstoy's Correspondence with P.M. Tretyakov. - Legacy in Literature. Volumes 37-38. Moscow, 1939. Pp. 255-256.
- Ilyin, N.D. The Diary of Tolstoy's Follower. St. Petersburg, 1892.
- N.N. Ge - P.M. Tretyakov. October 26 1892 // Correspondence.. .P. 173.
- PM. Tretyakov - L.N. Tolstoy. June 29 1894// Ibid. P. 200.
- L.N. Tolstoy - V.V. Stasov. June 12 1894// L.N.Tolstoy about Art. Moscow, 1978. P. 116
- L.N.Tolstoy - PM.Tretyakov. June 7-14 1894 // Nikolai Nikolaevich Ge. Correspondence... P. 199
- L.N. Tolstoy - PM.Tretyakov. June 29 1894 // Ibid. P. 200
- P.M. Tretyakov - L.N. Tolstoy. June 29 1894 // Ibid. P. 201
- L.N. Tolstoy - N.N. Ge Jr. // L.N. Tolstoy. Complete Collected Works in 90 volumes. Moscow, 1928-1958. Volume 67. Letters. 1894. Moscow, 1955. P.151.
- Sukhotin-Tolstoy, T.L. Memoir. Moscow, 1976. P. 292.
- Ibid, p. 296
- Manuscripts Department, State Tretyakov Gallery. Fund 1. Item 1121. (These data are found in the letter from Nikolai Ge (the artist's son) to Pavel Tretyakov of March 22 1897 and Tretyakov's answer of March 27 1897. The data differ from the ones in the last catalogue of the gallery compiled in Tretyakov's lifetime [Moscow, 1878]).
- Tretyakov P.M. - N.N. Ge Jr. March 27 1897 // Correspondence.. .P. 204
- Manuscripts Department, State Tretyakov Gallery. Fund 10. Item 499. Sheet 1. (with reverse) - 2
- Ibid. Sheet 1
- Russian State Archive of Literature and Art. Fund 646. Opus 1. Item 14. Sheet 1 (with reverse)
- Dates of the photographs in the Tretyakov Gallery collection were corrected by a member of the Gallery's Manuscripts Department staff A.V. Bykov. It was previously believed that the photographs were taken while Tretyakov was still alive, in 1878.
- Records of Managing Council Meetings, City Art Gallery of P.M. and S.M. Tretyakov for 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1902. Moscow, 1903. P. 22