Few stars of the Russian Imperial Ballet shone as brightly off the stage as Mathilde Kschessinska. The Prima Ballerina counted the Emperor and Grand Dukes among her admirers; amassed a fabulous fortune and sumptuous collection of jewels; and lived in one of the most elegant mansions in St Petersburg … only to lose it all in the Russian Revolution. However, in exile she was able to marry the man she loved and establish a dance studio which trained ballet stars of the next generation.
EUGENE BARILO VON REISBERG is a writer, researcher, and art consultant. He is an internationally acknowledged authority on Franz Xaver Winterhalter, the nineteenth-century elite portrait specialist, and he is currently completing a doctoral thesis on the artist at the University of Melbourne
photographer unknown, Mathilde Kschessinska, carte-de-visite, 1897, private collection