Natalia Nordman

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Natalia Nordman
Nordman by Repin 1900.jpg
Natalia Borísovna Nordman-Severova

14 December 1863
Died30 June 1914
NationalityRussian Empire
Other namesN.B.Severova
Partner(s)Ilya Repin

Natalia Borísovna Nordman-Severova (14 December 1863 – 30 June 1914) was a Russian author who was the partner to the artist Ilya Repin.


Nordman was born in Helsinki in 1863. Her father was a Finnish admiral of Russian Navy Bernhard (Boris) Nordman [fi] and her mother was Russian noblewoman Maria Arbusova, who was the widow of Colonel Ehlert.

Nordman was a suffragette and a champion of vegetarianism. In 1900 she met the married artist Ilya Repin who was on a trip to Paris. Repin was captivated by her and they went to live in her home, Penaty, in Kuokkala, which was still a part of Finland at that time. The couple would invite notable artists from Russia every Wednesday as their new home was a train ride from St Petersburg.[1] The Wednesday gatherings enabled Repin to put together an "album" for Nordman. He created portraits of notable visitors and each painting would be labelled with their name, their profession and occasionally their autograph. Nordman hospitality was well known and visitors included the writers Maxim Gorky and Aleksandr Kuprin; artists Vasily Polenov, Isaak Brodsky, Filipp Malyavin and Nicolai Fechin as well as poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, philosopher Vasily Rozanov and scientist Vladimir Bekhterev. Nordman was the keeper of this album as it was readied for display at World Exhibition in Italy in 1911.[2] Repin was to describe Nordman as the "love of his life".[1]

In 1911 she travelled with Repin to the World Exhibition in Italy, where Repin's portraits were displayed in their own separate room.


  • «Intimnyi︠a︡ stranit︠s︡y»; by N. B. Severova (1910)[3]

Death and legacy[edit]

Nordman died in Orselina in 1914 and Repin journeyed to see her. Nordman left her home to the St Petersburg Academy but they could not take possession as Repin lived there for 16 more years. Nordman's "album" of Repin's portraits was separated, but in 2009 an exhibition was made of these pictures.[2]


  1. ^ a b Daniel Coenn (28 July 2013). Repin: Drawings. pp. 3–. ISBN 978-1-304-27417-5.
  2. ^ a b Portraits from the ‘Album of Natalia Nordman-Severova’,, Retrieved 21 November 2016
  3. ^ Intimnyi︠a︡ stranit︠s︡y, 1910