Aleksandra Snegireva-Jurgenson

Tchaikovsky Research
Aleksandra Jurgenson (1869–1946), photographed in the 1880s

Russian painter (b. 1869; d. 1946), born Aleksandra Petrovna Yurgenson (Александра Петровна Юргенсон); known during her first marriage as Aleksandra Petrovna Svetoslavskaya (Александра Петровна Светославская), and after her second marriage as Aleksandra Petrovna Snegireva-Jurgenson (Александра Петровна Снегирева-Юргенсон).

Aleksandra was the daughter of Tchaikovsky's publisher Pyotr Jurgenson (1836–1904) and his wife Sofiya. Tchaikovsky knew the Jurgenson family well, and he corresponded with many of them, including Aleksandra.

Sketch of Tchaikovsky playing cards (ca.1890), by Aleksandra Snegireva-Jurgenson (1869-1946)

In her memoirs of the composer Aleksandra recounted how Tchaikovsky liked to take part in the children's preparations for Christmas and Easter, often coming round to their house during Holy Week to help them paint Easter eggs. He also liked to tease the Jurgenson children, especially little Aleksandra, to whom he sent many joking letters. When Aleksandra started attending classes at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture, Tchaikovsky insisted that she should paint a portrait of him. However, in the end he only turned up for one session, and the sketch which Aleksandra made for this portrait was lost. Before she took up painting seriously she had, though, made a drawing of Tchaikovsky playing cards, and this has survived [1].


In 1893 Tchaikovsky dedicated his piano piece L'espiègle — No. 12 of the Eighteen Pieces, Op. 72 — to Aleksandra Jurgenson.

Correspondence with Tchaikovsky

6 letters from Tchaikovsky to Aleksandra Snegireva-Jurgenson have survived, dating from 1884 to 1893, all of which have been translated into English on this website:

2 letters from Aleksandra Snegireva-Jurgenson to the composer, dating from 1889, are preserved in the Tchaikovsky State Memorial Musical Museum-Reserve at Klin.


Notes and References