In 1889 Serov married Olga Trubnikova.
He won a medal for his portrait of Angelo Masini in 1890 at the Moscow Society of Art Lovers. In 1897 he began teaching at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. In 1900 Serov received the Grand Medal of Honor at the Paris World Exhibition for his portrait of Grand Duke Pavel Alexandrovich.
Serov is considered the first Russian Portraitist to break from academic tradition and adopt a modern style. He worked as an impressionist using his academic training as an anchor for his expressive handling. His paintings captured the character of the sitter with bravura brushwork and strong sensitivity to color and shape over detail. He quickly became a much sought after portraitist.
Serov’s portraits have an immediacy and intimacy to them they seem to be snapshots of a moment in time with the sitter. This seemingly casual approach and required much effort on the artists part and his paintings often took weeks and sometimes months to complete.
Valentin Serov died in Moscow on November 22, 1911 at the age of 46.
Dimitri Sarabyanov and GrigoryArbuzov
1982 Aurora Publishing
The Itinerants The masters of Russian Realism
1996 Aurora Publishing
Any human face is so complex and so unique that you can always find in it traits worthy of portrayal be they good or bad. For my part, each time I appraise a person’s face I am inspired, you might even say carried away, not by his or her outer aspect which is trivial, but by the characterization it can be given on canvas.~ Valentin Serov