Following the death of Pavel Tretyakov in 1898, Repin expressed a wish to paint the collector during the last phase of his life. Repin merged his earlier portrait of Tretyakov with a study he had made of the curator E. M. Chruslow in the halls of the Tretyakov Gallery. The result was the famous Portrait of Pavel Tretyakov (1901, Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow). In 1904, Repin painted a smaller portrait, based on his earlier work in which the longtime employee of the gallery, N. A. Mudrogel was depicted. It has been suggested, but not confirmed, that the present work relates to the aforementioned portrait.