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Having studied with the famous actor and teacher Constantin Stanislavsky in Russia, Alla Nazimova came to New York City with a Russian troupe of actors and decided to stay. She, like her teacher, worked hard to “become” her characters, rather than to seek recognition for her own stage personality. In 1906 and 1907, she demonstrated this gift by playing the leads in New York productions of Henrik Ibsen’s plays A Doll’s House and Hedda Gabler. Critics marveled at the totality of her shift from one character to another.

Edward Simmons captured Nazimova’s dramatic flair and beauty in this painting, done at the height of her reputation. In later years, she fluctuated between the stage and roles in early Hollywood motion pictures.

Details

  • Title: Alla Nazimova
  • Creator: Edward Emerson Simmons
  • Date Created: 1910
  • Physical Dimensions: w61.3 x h61.3 x d3.2 cm (Stretcher
  • Type: Oil on canvas
  • Rights: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Val E. Lewton
  • External Link: https://npg.si.edu/object/npg_NPG.86.142
  • Classification: Painting

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