1956 - 1957

In the present work the sense of immediacy and the free application of paint indicates that this work was likely painted en plein air. The artwork is dominated by the group of women washing clothes in a river on a warm summer's day. The women are standing on a wooden jetty bending over their washbowls. Children are swimming and splashing in the water in the background. Strong, nimble figures move cohesively and with precision. Beams of sunlight reflect from the water, naked shoulders and calves. The laborious task becomes a joyful social event and two women smile broadly at the viewer.

The brothers reworked the composition several times and they have created three versions of this painting. The present work was purchased from the British Royal Collection.


Oil and Canvas


147cm x 214cm

Alexsei & Sergei Tkachev

Sergey (born 1922) and Alexey (born 1925) are famous Russian artists, both are full members of the Academy of Arts of the USSR, the People's Artists of the USSR, laureates of the Repin State Prize and the State Prize of the USSR. The brothers were born in a village in the Bryansk region. During the war, Sergey served in the army, while Alexey was working at a defence factory in the Urals. After the war, both Alexey and Sergey graduated from the famed Surikov Institute, where they studied under the outstanding artist S.V. Gerasimov. Since 1950, the brothers have worked together as one artist on the same canvases, creating some remarkable masterpieces. They have also worked independently, each of them developing their own individual styles. The Tkachev brothers' works are owned by the State Tretykov Gallery, the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Tkachev Brothers Museum in Bryansk and other museums and private galleries. Their paintings have been exhibited at the Smithsonian International Gallery in Washington, D.C, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

Throughout their career the Tkachev brothers documented village life in all its variety and simplicity. They enthusiastically recorded activities from ploughing and haymaking to harvesting and fishing, and observed lives of their neighbour villagers from birth and childhood to marriage and raising children. Russian countrywomen, whom the artists admired for their natural beauty, strength, and agility, occupied a central role in the Tkachevs' works. 

"Our paintings tell our life stories. The subjects are not fantasies, they all spring from real people, real events, and from stories told to us by our elders. Part of our souls are in each one".