Zinaida Yevgenyevna Serebriakova was among the first female Russian painters of distinction.
Zinaida Serebriakova was born on the estate of Neskuchnoye near Kharkov (now Kharkiv, Ukraine) into one of Russias most refined and artistic families. She belonged to the artistic Benois family. Her grandfather, Nicholas Benois, was a famous architect, chairman of the Society of Architects and member of the Russian Academy of Science. Her uncle, Alexandre Benois, was a famous painter, founder of the Mir iskusstva art group. Her father, Yevgeny Nikolayevich Lanceray, was a well-known sculptor, and her mother, who was Alexandre Benois sister, had a talent for drawing. One of Zinaidas brothers, Nikolay Yevgenyevich Lanceray, was a talented architect, and her other brother, Yevgeny Yevgenyevich Lanceray, had an important place in Russian and Soviet art as a master of monumental painting and graphic art. The Russian-English actor and writer Peter Ustinov was also related to her.
In 1900 she graduated from a womens gymnasium (equivalent to grammar school or high school), and entered the art school founded by Princess M. K. Tenisheva. She studied under Repin in 1901, and under portrait artist Osip Braz between 1903 and 1905. Between 1902–1903 she spent time in Italy, and from 1905–1906 she studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris.
Zinaida Serebriakovas works wereexhibited in Moscow, Leningrad, and Kiev, to great acclaim. Her albums sold by the millions, and she was compared to Botticelli and Renoir. However, although she sent about 200 of her works to be shown in the Soviet Union, the bulk of her work remains in France today.
Zinaida Serebriakova died in Paris on 19 September 1967, at the age of 82. She is buried in Paris, at the Russian cemetery at Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois.