"She lived in the magical world of the fairy tale". The work of Yelena Polenova at the Tretyakov Gallery
November 27 2010 marked the 160th anniversary of the birth of the remarkable Russian artist Yelena Dmitrievna Polenova (1850-1898), the sister of the famous landscape painter Vasily Polenov. To mark the artist’s anniversary, the Tretyakov Gallery prepared the exhibition titled “She lived in the magical world of the fairy tale”, which presented the most original and innovative of Polenova’s works, alongside archive documents, memorial photographs, books and magazines which revealed the artist’s singular social and artistic efforts.
Among the museums that loaned Polenova’s work from their collections to the exhibition were the Polenov Memorial History, Art and Nature Museum Reserve, and the Memorial Art and Literature Museum Reserve at Abramtsevo (most of the artist’s work is in the collections of these institutions); the Russian Museum, Historical Museum, All-Russian Decorative Art Museum, Literature Museum, Historical, Architectural, and the Art and Nature Museum Reserve at Tsaritsyno also contributed work. The exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery was the first where Polenova’s graphics were shown almost in their entirety.
Yelena Polenova was one of the pioneers of the national-romantic movement in Russian modern art and of the beginnings of symbolism. As an active member of the Mamontov circle of artists, she was among the founders of the museum of folk art at Abramtsevo, as well as the ceramics, woodwork and carving workshops there. Polenova was one of the first artists to turn to book illustrations — over a relatively short period of time, from the end of the 1880s to the 1890s, she created illustrations for and adapted more than 20 collections of Russian folk fairy tales and proverbs.
The artist’s contemporaries thought that her work in watercolour was her strongest, and in this genre she remains unsurpassed. During her later years, she turned to oil painting and showed her work at the “Peredvizhniki” (Wanderers) group exhibitions; however, her watercolours remain her best achievement. She painted landscapes and the so-called “flower portraits”, illustrations to Russian fairy tales and exquisite ornamental patterns, and created designs for furniture and wooden household objects. The challenges of exhibiting watercolour paintings and the special requirements for light and micro-climate conditions in storing them explains why there are almost none of Polenova’s watercolours on display in Russian museums. Thus, her oeuvre, so highly praised by Vladimir Stasov, Alexander Benois, Sergei Diaghilev, Sergei Makovsky, Pavel Chistiakov, and Ilya Repin, remains largely unknown to the general public.
It was the first personal exhibition of the artist’s work in Moscow since the posthumous show organized in 1902 presented by the Moscow Society of Artists. It is not surprising that the society set up the 1902 exhibition (even though all the arrangements were made by Natalya Polenova, Vasily Polenov’s wife), since Yelena Polenova had been involved in the society’s creation. The artist Leonid Pasternak remembered: “Yelena Dmitrievna and I shared many undertakings that are only taking shape now. Abundantly gifted, well-educated, with wide-ranging interests and a strong artistic temperament, big-hearted and generous, she brought us, young artists, together. Her home became our ‘headquarters’; she cultivated every ‘breath’ of true art. Yelena Dmitrievna, who spoke many languages, subscribed to foreign magazines that represented new tendencies and movements in art emerging everywhere abroad, and we all read them in our circle. ” 1
Yekaterina Junge had similar recollections: “While she was above most young artists in her education and intellect, she treated them as equals and guided them imperceptibly towards acquiring the necessary knowledge and refining their skills.”2 Yelena Polenova returned the affection of the youth that surrounded her. In a letter to Natalya Polenova, she wrote: “The more I get to know the young members of our society, the more I like them. I have become quite close to many and have found that very idealism in them which is always so appealing in an artist.”3
Even though Polenova soon had to leave the society due to disagreements with its leadership, she remained as the head of its Folk Art and Historical Exhibitions department, which had been created on her initiative. Not only did she develop its programme and select its participants, she also painted three pieces for it — “ Berendei Celebrating Shrovetide (Shrovetide in the Wooden City)” (1895, in the Tretyakov Gallery), “The Appearance of Boris and Gleb to the Warriors of Alexander Nevsky” (1895-1896, Orel Regional Museum of Fine Arts) and “Prince Boris Before He Was Slaughtered” (1896, in the Russian Museum). The first of these paintings was shown at the exhibition.
Judging by its catalogue, the posthumous exhibition of Polenova’s work was substantial and comprehensive. It opened in St. Petersburg on January 15 1902 in the halls of the Academy of Arts and remained open to the public until January 10 1903. Sergei Diaghilev wrote an enthusiastic review in the “Mir Isskusstva” (World of Art) magazine, where he pointed out that the exhibition “was arranged with a great deal of taste”4; he also mentioned that at the beginning of 1903, the exhibition moved to Moscow, to the Imperial Historical Museum. A detailed article about it, completed with photographic illustrations, was published in “Niva” (Field) magazine. Some of the pieces shown at the posthumous exhibition, as we can see from the photographs, were in museum collections and are on display at the recent exhibition, including a bench (end of the 19th century) and small table for needlework from the Abramtsevo Museum Reserve.
Even back then Polenova’s work was already largely in private hands, principally with Savva Mamontov’s family and at his estate, and in the collections of Maria Tenischeva, Ilya Ostroukhov, Praskovia Antipova, Pavel Tretyakov, and others. It took considerable effort on the part of Natalya Polenova to bring them together. She wrote to Alexandra Botkina: “I am very hopeful that you and Sergei Sergeevich will loan us the ‘The Beast’ and small watercolours, especially ‘The Last Flower’ and ‘Thistle’... Masha Fyodorovna [Yakunchikova] will, of course, be loaning us her entire collection of ornamental patterns, and she also prepared quite a few embroideries based on Yelena Dmitrievna’s drawings.”5
Currently, most of Polenova’s work from the private collections of the Polenovs and the Mamontovs is housed respectively at the Polenov Museum Reserve and the Abramtsevo Museum Reserve. The latter has a large number of ornament drawings, which were apparently turned over to Mamontov’s descendants by Maria Yakunchikova before she left Russia6. Her illustrations for Russian folk tales, which belonged to Maria Tenischeva, as well as the lovely watercolours from the collections of Alexandra and Sergei Botkin, found a home at the Russian Museum. A wonderful series of watercolour landscapes which the artist painted during a trip along the Volga and the Don rivers, to the Caucasus and Crimea, and gifted to Praskovia Antipova, is now housed at the Yaroslavl Museum of Fine Arts. A significant number of Polenova’s architectural sketches are at the Historical Museum; this collection also includes her working materials, such as rubbings from carved objects of folk art, which were gifted to the museum by Vasily Polenov in 1921.
Only a small number of the above-mentioned works became part of the exhibition — the rest were reproduced in the catalogue prepared specifically for this project. Reproductions of Polenova’s work from the museums of Kaluga, Kostroma, Nizhny Novgorod, Astrakhan, Saratov, Ufa, Orel, Kursk, Chelyabinsk, Alupka and Ivanovo were included in this album. Apart from numerous illustrations, the publication has many articles which give detailed information about the artist’s creative path, her characteristic style, as well as her place in Russian artistic life at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. Archival publications form an especially interesting section, as the artist’s previously unpublished correspondence and reminiscences of her contemporaries from the Manuscripts Department of the Tretyakov Gallery are included. All expert articles are abundantly illustrated with photographs, most of which are published for the first time.
Yelena Polenova was born in St. Petersburg, into the family of an hereditary nobleman Dmitry Polenov and his wife Maria. Yelena’s personality was very much influenced by the artistic atmosphere of her family. The future artist’s father, a renowned archaeologist, bibliographer, historian, and the author of many publications on ancient Russian manuscripts and the history of Russian law, was able to interest his daughter in world history. Later it allowed her to successfully pass the examination to receive the diploma of a teacher of history. Ydena’s mother, the granddaughter of Nikolai Lvov, a famous architect at the time of Catherine II, was gifted in literature and art. When she noticed that her younger daughter had an aptitude for drawing, she began to practice with her, and later hired a tutor, Pavel Chistyakov, who was to become famous as a teacher of art. From the age of nine, along with her other siblings, Yelena took drawing classes from him. From that time through to 1880, with small breaks, she studied drawing and watercolour at his studio. It was only while Chistyakov was living abroad (on a scholarship) that she attended Ivan Kramskoi’s classes at the drawing school at the Society for the Support of Artists.
In 1879 Yelena Polenova joined the ceramics class at the drawing school and graduated a year later; she was awarded a “grand silver medal” (no gold medals were granted) for her panel “A Feast with Ivan the Terrible”, based on the drawing by Vyacheslav Schwarz. She was the first student in the history of the drawing school to be sent to France to perfect her skills in the art of ceramics; subsequently, she assumed the post of porcelain and earthenware painting teacher at the school. In Paris she was able to consult with the leading specialists in ceramics, Lieffert and Sieffert and even visit Joseph-Theodore Deck’s factory, examine the manufacturing process, and receive advice. She described this in her letter to Grigorovich, the school’s director: “ I secured a letter of recommendation to one of the best local artists, a specialist in genre Limousen Cieffery; unfortunately, his atelier was closed as the classes had not started yet. I tried studying by myself, but it turned out that this style, more than any other, required a good mentor. It was only yesterday that Lieffert came back to Paris; his courses start at the end of this month, but he agreed to accept me a bit earlier, so I will start working with him next Monday (October 6/18). So far, I have been exclusively working with relief and barbotine. As to Deck’s studio, I cannot even hope to study there, I know well that it is not possible; even less so, to learn the secrets of his manufacturing process — however, I greatly benefited from visiting his factory. Indeed, Deck remembers your treatment of him well, and upon hearing that I was sent by the Society for the Support of Artists, he took great pains to show me his workshops in detail and explained a lot of things that had been unclear to me before that. ”7
Grigorovich’s plans for a teaching career for Polenova were not to materialise fully. Polenova taught porcelain and earthenware painting in a Maiolica class she had created only for a short period. In the autumn of 1882, after the death of her father and sister, Yelena and her mother had to move to Moscow to live with her brother Vasily, who had settled there previously. Soon she became an active member of the Mamontov artistic circle, taking part in designing decorations for home theatrical productions, and later creating costumes for performances of Mamontov’s “Private Opera House” in 1885.
Polenova was able to interest many artists from Mamontov’s circle with painting on porcelain and earthenware. At the “ceramics Thursdays”, which replaced the “drawing Thursdays” at the Polenov residence, her new friends enthusiastically painted earthenware dishes. “It turned out to be a great activity,” she wrote to Antipova, “better than painting with the quill, because it is easier, less serious — exactly what is needed for people who have worked seriously all day and are looking to resting and doing something different.”8
Polenova’s porcelain is preserved at the Polenov Museum Reserve and at the Historical Museum. A series of small plates titled “The Four Seasons” (from the 1880s, in the Polenov museum) is especially interesting — each month of the year is represented with a typical landscape. At the end of 1882, at the All-Russian Industrial and Art Exhibition in Moscow Yelena Polenova was awarded a bronze medal for painting on porcelain and earthenware. It was not without her influence that in 1890 a pottery workshop, Mamontov’s pet project, was established in Abramtsevo.
In 1882 Polenova graduated with a silver medal from the watercolour courses of the Drawing School, where she had studied since 1880. From then on, the artist always took part in the exhibitions of the Society of Russian Watercolourists and the Moscow Society of Art Lovers. Chistyakov thought that any male artist would be honoured to be the author of her watercolours. Polenova painted many of her landscapes in Abramtsevo , where she was drawn by her friendship with Yelizaveta Mamontova, a friendship that was based on shared creative aspirations. Polenova’s heartfelt description of Abramtsevo’s surroundings survives in the memoirs of her niece Yekaterina Sakharova: “The Khotkovsky road, the spring sun, blue shadows on the snow, the snow-covered plains and the banks of the Vor’ River, little yellow globeflowers underneath the pines, Yelizaveta Grigorievna’s favourite watercolour, always hanging by the window in her study, the road to the village of Bykovo surrounded by rye spikes and wild flowers in the fields — all these were like pearls you could admire forever. ”9
In 1885 Polenova and Mamontova started enthusiastically studying folk art and collecting the best samples for the house museum in Abramtsevo. The artist wrote to the critic Vladimir Stasov about her passion: “As long as we could, we bought carved objects which we were able to find during our trips — salt cellars, boxes, donets, shveikas, rollers (spindles), linen rollers, spinning-wheels, beaters (swingles); front parts of carts and sleds; children’s wooden chairs and benches. I sketched or photographed larger objects, such as tables, hanging wall cabinets, arks, benches (mostly not the hanging kind but the ones that are built into the wall and are part of the inner architecture of the izba [peasant house in rural Russia].) Thus, we ended up with a rather inclusive collection at Abramtsevo, and a whole lot of notebooks with sketches and photographs.”10
In the same year, a woodwork and carving workshop was set up on Mamontov’s estate to teach local boys the craft. “One had to hear the delight in Yelena Dmitrievna’s voice when she spoke about the successes of Abramtsevo’s apprentices, as well as the distribution of their work through sales, to understand how passionate she was about her beloved work. It was not just an artist’s satisfaction upon creating beautiful images, but also the need to bring those images to life, to ‘give them out’ to the people,11 the artist Yekaterina Junge would later write.
Yelena Polenova acted as the workshop’s artistic director until 1892; she designed more than 100 pieces of furniture and household objects. She aspired to reach such continuity in her designs that “it would be hard to tell where the folk elements end, and my own creativity starts.”12
Furniture manufactured in Abramtsevo was much appreciated and sought after. A certain cabinet with a column, which came in different sizes, was especially popular. Natalya Polenova described in detail the process of its creation: “Inspiration for its shape came from one cabinet V.D. Polenov had made, and the details were designed by Yelena Dm[itrievna] based on the museum pieces and her own sketches. The lower part with a pullout handle was copied from a small shelf from the village of Komyagino; the handle was taken from a donets we had found in the village of Valischevo in the Podolsk region; the top shutter came from the front part of a cart; the column was based on one found in the village of Bogoslov in the Yaroslavl region; the vase with a rose pictured on the first cabinet was copied from a sketch in V.D. Polenov’s album, originally found on a swing in Devichie Pole.”13
At the beginning of the 1890s Polenova created one of her best pieces (now at Abramtsevo), a door reminiscent of the “entrance to the enchanted izba of Baba-Yaga [the witch in Russian folklore], guarded by owls, the midnight birds of Russian fairy tales. ”14 Vladimir Stasov, with his typical fervour, exclaimed: “What a unique and original talent to reveal the Russian style which is not recognized and very often despised and dragged into mud!!”15
Yelena Polenova’s creative life was quite intense at this time, as witnessed by many of her letters: “My work day is separated into morning and afternoon activities. In the morning I work on my oil painting... Fairy tales are part of my morning, too. I take care of the workshop business in the afternoon. I work on the creative issues in the evenings, and the administrative side at dusk; once a week I go to Abramtsevo.”16 Apart from all this, she hosted her “ceramics Thursdays”, which were attended by numerous young artists, and attended Saturday watercolour classes at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
The mid-1880s were the time when Polenova’s art grew independent and mature. It was then that she challenged herself to a task quite elusive for the visual arts — “in a series of watercolours, to convey the Russian people’s poetic view of Russian nature, to determine for both myself and others how Russian landscape influenced and found expression in Russian folk poetry, both epic and lyrical.”17 She successfully fulfilled this task in a series of illustrations to Russian fairy tales.
The artist’s interest in folklore and folk culture in general developed from her grandmother’s influence: Vera Voeikova18 had a vast knowledge of Russian history, folk poetry and fairy tales. Sometimes in the summer Voeikova took Ydena and her other granddaughter Olga to her country estate in Olshanka in the Tambov region. Later the artist often recalled the long carriage rides, when she admired the beautiful landscapes and listened to her grandmother’s rendition of the folk tale “War of the Mushrooms”. This fairy tale became the first one that Polenova illustrated and published as a phototype edition in 1889 at the publishing house of Thiele. She personally created the layout, ornamental decorative inserts, and the script.
Polenova painted her illustrations for “War of the Mushrooms” in a realist style (in the tradition of genre painting), like her other illustrations of the Abramtsevo period 1886 to 1889, for the fairy tales “Ded Moroz” (Father Frost), “The Wolf and the Fox”, “Ivanushka the Fool”, “Izbushka na Kuriikh Nozhkakh” (Cabin on Chicken Legs). These stories usually develop against the background of the distinctive land scapes of Abramtsevo and its surroundings. The wooded road up to the Khotkovsky monastery — Polenova painted it from the veranda of the house in Abramtsevo — became the setting for her last composition for “War of the Mushrooms”: the milk-caps, their rifles drawn, are starting on their campaign. Numerous pages of the artist’s album preserved her watercolour sketches of honey fungus, red-pine mushrooms, bearded milk-caps, death caps, edges and clearings in the woods, painted both close up and from a distance.
The mysterious garden and pond of the Tolstoy family house in Bozhedomka in Moscow, where the Polenovs lived at the beginning of the 1880s, inspired the illustrations for the fairy tale “The White Duck”. The scenery, the ducks swimming in the pond, and even Vasily Polenov’s infant first son Fedya (he was painted sitting in a nest) all served as “models” for the illustrations. The background landscape carried considerable meaning in this work; the artist aspired to find motifs that would help fully express strong poetic feelings.
Yelena Polenova started working on her second “Kostroma” series of fairy tales (1889-1898) after she had spent the summer of 1889 at the Nelshevka country estate of her good friend Praskovia Antipova, in the Kostroma region. She left there with numerous sketches of northern architecture and household objects adorned with paintings and carvings, as well as new fairy tales she had heard from the locals. Yekaterina Junge wrote about Yelena’s surprising ability to find common language with rural folk: “... she knew how to extract traditional tales from the people, how to make old women find and give her the almost forgotten old scrap; as she travelled through Russia, children gathered around her, sang and told her fairy tales, and she wrote them all down; she was already thinking about making them into those illustrated Russian fairy tales for which she later painted a series of magnificent watercolours. ”19
Polenova wanted to see her books published and affordable for the widest segment of the population, and unlike “War of the Mushrooms”, with colour illustrations; to achieve that, she drastically changed her painting style. The “Kostroma” series is stylistically different from the illustrations created previously in Abramtsevo. It is executed in a typically modernist manner, with strong emphasis on clear lines, bright spots of colour, and expressive silhouette. A sharpness and definition in the stylized drawing and application of local colour was achieved, which allowed for preserving a good quality of the reproduction in print. However, the fairy tales which were prepared for publication at that time (“Son Philipko”, “How the Bear Lost His Tail”, “Chiki-chikalochki”, “The Thieving Magpie”, “Nikolashka-Trebukhashka”, “The Fool and the Foolish Girl”, “The Greedy Man” and others) were only published after Polenova’s death in 1906 under the title “Russian Folk Tales and Rhymes.
Adapted for children and illustrated by Ye.D. Polenova.” The publishing house of Grossman & Knebel produced three editions of the book; they are now a bibliographical rarity. The artist worked on some of those during the autumn of 1894, when she stayed at Vasily Polenov’s estate Borok. Yekaterina Sakharova, who observed her aunt and godmother at work, thought that, “Yelena Dmitrievna’s watercolours and fairy tales brought us (Vasily Polenov’s children) a plentiful world of children’s creativity.20
In 1895 Polenova started painting a picture on a motif she had thought of herself. It was based on the image of a young girl who is picking fruit from a tree; carefree, she does not notice a monstrous serpent creeping up on her. The canvas was called “The Beast. (Serpent. Fairy Tale)” (1895-1898, at Abramtsevo). Natalya Polenova thought that the painting was autobiographical, because in it the artist unwittingly predicted her untimely death: “Living in the magical world of art, picking its flowers, she did not see the hideous beast which had already crawled close to her and was to savagely snatch her.”21
During her final years Yelena Polenova was very much taken with symbolism, an interest largely due to Maria Yakunchikova’s influence — Polenova met Maria in 1887 at her family dacha in Zhukovka. Vasily Polenov and his family spent a few summers there, to paint en plein air with friends and talented students. Among the visitors to Zhukovka were Konstantin Korovin, Isaac Levitan, Mikhail Nesterov, Valentin Serov, Ilya Ostroukhov, and Maria Yakunchikova. In his letter to Ilya Ostroukhov, Vsevolod Mamontov wrote about the fun and friendly mood there: “All of us, including Dryusha^ visited the Polenovs in Zhukovka. We went fishing, strung and launched fireworks, went swimming and then left to see the Sapozhnikovs in Lyubimovka.”22
Surrounded by such gifted young artists, Polenova turned to oil painting herself. She first painted small genre scenes, and then gradually moved on to more challenging allegorical, symbolic work. “I am working on a painting inspired by Fofanov’s poem ‘Bright Stars’,” she wrote to Yelizaveta Mamontova. “Therefore, I have to paint the night, the stars, the night air and light, the night colours — in short, all the lovely poetry of a summer night.”23 During the “Zhukovka” period, Polenova and Yakunchikova developed a strong spiritual bond which filled their lives with warmth and helped them creatively.
Maria Yakunchikova, who for health reasons moved to Europe in 1889, felt an intense need to be in contact with Polenova. She constantly wrote to her, shared her artistic plans, and brought her up to date with news from Europe; sometimes she sent her catalogues from exhibitions of artists of the symbolist movement whose aim was to introduce “an element of mysticism into art”. In turn, Polenova stayed with her on her long trips to Paris. Thanks to Polenova Maria became seriously interested in folk art. In Maria’s studio, they talked at length about their plans to take part together in the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. After Polenova’s death, Maria came to Moscow and created sketches for an open-shelf cabinet for the Russian Artisan Division and “The Girl and the Forest Spirit”, an embroidered panel (now in a private collection, Switzerland). She oversaw its embroidering, as well as that of Polenova’s “Ivanushka-the-fool and the Firebird” while living in M.F. Yakunchikova’s house on the Nara river.
It was for this house that Polenova designed a Russian-style dining room in 1897, as well as another version of her panel “The Firebird” (1897, Tretyakov Gallery), that is conceptually powerful and close to symbolist. Similar to “The Beast”, ornamental patterns of fantastical vegetation played a major role in this last work by Polenova. According to the artist’s contemporaries, inspiration for her ornamental patterns came in extraordinary ways: from music she had heard, or in her dreams. Yegishe Tatavosian wrote: “Yelena Dmitrievna’s ornamental patterns have a special flavour; their colours are glorious, and they are quite fantastical. I have seen some of Vrubel’s designs — his style was similar at that time. His patterns were decorative, and severe, compared to hers. Hers are such an intricate combination of colours and lines that one could admire them just like good paintings. They are not just patterns, it feels as if mysterious thoughts are infused in them, their colours ‘ sing’, if one can put it this way. ”24
Polenova’s quest to embrace different areas of artistic expression was characteristic of the “versatile” artist who applied him- or herself to various genres, typical of the art nouveau era. Alexander Benois wrote about her in 1904: “Her [Polenova’s] work laid the foundation for all the industrial and art-related efforts of our local governments; she inspired the ceramic workshop in Abramtsevo, the Stroganov Arts and Industry School, and the Choglova carpet enterprise; she was also the main inspiration for other artists, such as Yakunchikova, Malutin, Davydova, Roerich, Korovin, Golovin, and Bilibin.”25
- PasternakL.O. On the “Russian Artists’ Society”. Quote from “Zapiski raznyh let” (Notes from various years). Moscow, 1975, p. 215.
- Junge, E.F. Remembering Ye.D. Polenova. “Russkaya Starina” [Russian Antiquity], 1912. Volume 1. VI . P. 532. Further: Junge, E.F.
- Letter from Ye.D. Polenova to N.V. Polenova. February 4, 1895. Sakharova, Ye. V. “Vasily Dmitrievich Polenov. Yelena Dmitrievna Polenova. A chronicle of the artists’ lives.” 1964. Moscow, Leningrad, p. 521. Further: Sakharova, Ye.V. 1964.
- “Mir Isskusstva” [World of Art]. 1902, #7-12, pp. 67-68
- Letter from N.V Polenova to A.P. Botkina. Moscow. November 27, 1902. Manuscripts Department, State Tretyakov Gallery. F. 48, item 760, sheet 1.
- While preparing the exhibition, we were unfortunately unable to locate the numerous pieces of embroidery which had been crafted to Polenova’s designs in the workshop of the village of Solomenki (in the Tambov region); the workshop was set up by Maria Yakunchikova in 1891, during the countrywide famine due to crop failure.
- Letter from E.D Polenova to D.Y Grigorovich. Paris. October 2/14, 1880. Manuscripts Department, State Russian Museum. F. 71, item 69, sheets 1-2.
- Letter from Ye.D. Polenova to P.D. Antipova. Moscow. December 14 1885. Manuscripts Department, State Tretyakov Gallery. F. 54, item 6861, sheet 96
- Kisselev, M.F. Memoir of E.Y Sakharova. “Povest’ mojei zhizni” [My life’s story]. “Pamiatniki kultiry. Novije otkritija” [Cultural heritage. New findings] Annual publication. 2001. Compiled by T.B. Kniazevskaya. Moscow, 2002, p. 38. Further: Kisselev, M.F.
- “Art and art industry”, 1899. #13, p. 36.
- Junge, Ye.F., p. 538.
- Letter from YD. Polenova to YV. Stasov. Moscow, November1, 1894. Sakharova, Ye.V. 1964, p. 508.
- Polenova, N. V. “Abramtsevo”. Moscow, 1922, pp. 56-58.
- Letter from YV Stasov to E.D. Polenova. St. Petersburg, October 24, 1894. Sakharova, Ye.V. 1964, p.507.
- Letter from E.D. Polenova to P.D. Antipova. [Moscow] December 11, 1888. Sakharova, Ye.V. 1964, p. 405.
- Letter from E.D. Polenova to P.D. Antipova. [Moscow] October 25, 1886. Sakharova, Ye.V. 1964, p. 373.
- Vera Voiekova, after the death of her mother Maria Lvova (nee Diakova, 1755-1807), was raised by Gavriil Derzhavin’s second wife, Darya Derzhavina (1766-1842).
- Junge, Ye.F. P. 539.
- Kisselev, M.F. P. 26.
- Sakharova Ye.V., 1964, p. 774.
- Letter from YS. Mamontov to I.S. Ostroukhov. Abramtsevo. Dated August 3, 1887. Manuscripts Department, State Tretyakov Gallery. F. 10, item 1991, sheet 2.
- Letter from E.D. Polenova to E.G. Mamontova. [Nelshevka]. August 4, 1889. Sakharova, Ye.V., 1964, p. 433.
- Tatevosian, E.M. “Remembering E.D. Polenova”. Manuscripts Department, State Tretyakov Gallery. F. 54, item 12550, sheet 35.
- Benois, A.N. “Russkaja shkola zhivopisi” [Russian school of painting]. Moscow, 1997, p. 106-107.