Sothebys to Hold Inaugural Exhibition in Kiev and Preview in Moscow

. May 10, 2008 . 0 Comments

MOSCOW – Following Sotheby’s 2007 and recent 2008 exhibition previews of Russian, International Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern Art in Moscow, Sotheby’s is delighted to announce that in May 2008 the company will stage its first-ever exhibition in Kiev, Ukraine. This initiative reinforces the significance of the Commonwealth of Independent States to Sotheby’s business and demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to its Russian and Ukrainian collectors.

The exhibition at the Bogdan and Varvara Khonenko Museum of Western Arts in Kiev from May 15 to 18, 2008 will spotlight 24 important Russian and Ukrainian Paintings – spanning the 19th and 20th centuries – from Sotheby’s London Russian Art auctions on June 9th (Evening Sale) and 10th (Day Sale:Paintings), 2008**. The exhibition preview continues its tour within the CIS the following week, when the same group of highlights will be on view at the Schusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow from May 23 to 25, 2008.

Commenting on the inaugural exhibition in Kiev and the upcoming Moscow preview, Jo Vickery, Senior Director and Head of Sotheby’s Russian Art department in London, said: “We are thrilled to be bringing toMoscow, and Kiev for the first time a selection of the most important 19th- and 20th-century Russian and Ukrainian

Art Works from our forthcoming June auctions. In the early 20th century in particular, Ukrainian artists such as Baranov-Rossiné and Alexandra Exter (whose work is represented in the exhibition) played a major role in the development of Modernism in Russia, exhibiting in major shows in the Russian capital and influencing new trends in art there.”

Mikhail Kamensky, Managing Director of Sotheby’s CIS, continued: “Collectors in Russia and the CIS are extremely important to Sotheby’s and we are delighted to be staging our inaugural exhibition in Kiev and bringing further highlights to Moscow, almost one year after opening our office in Russia. Sotheby’s strategy is to provide an enhanced level of service to our collectors in the CIS and this exhibition in Kiev marks the start of a series of events which will bring some of the finest property from our international auctions directly to clients based in Ukraine.”

The most important highlight from Sotheby’s upcoming sales of Russian Art is Goncharova’s still life Nature Morte aux Fruits. The painting, which has come from a private French collection and is previously unpublished, was a gift from the artist to Guillaume Apollinaire, the French poet, writer, art critic and theorist of Cubism in 1913. Nature Morte aux Fruits is one of several still lifes that Goncharova executed in the years 1912-13, prior to her departure for Paris; including Still Life with Leg of Ham and Duck (1912), in the collection of the Russian Museum, St Petersburg and Linen (1913), which is located in the Tate Gallery, London. Similar to both these works, this painting is unusually literal in its exploration of contemporary Cubist and Futurist theory. Apollinaire wrote the catalogue essay to her and Larionov’s first joint exhibition held at the Paul Guillaume Gallery in Paris in May–June 1914 and it is likely that Goncharova exhibited this work at that show as an unnamed still life. This major work by one of the major Russian avant-garde artists of the pre-war period is estimated at £2-3 million ($3,980,000-5,970,000).

Another important painting in the exhibition, also from a private French collection and by Natalia Goncharova, is the artist’s Still Life with Red Flowers and Peaches. It is a major work from the early Russian avant-garde period and is believed to date from 1910 (although certain historians have dated it as early as 1907) and is one of Goncharova’s first still lifes in oil. The painting is a typical still life from her earliest artistic period, when she was discovering contemporary French painting for the first time and found great inspiration in works by Gauguin, who she believed to be among those who truly understood the purpose of art. The technique which Gauguin employed in his painting Still Life with Grapefruits is evident in the offered painting; although the line is simplified, each stroke of colour plays an important role. Goncharova was also influenced by the work of the French Fauvist painters, whose use of vibrant colour is central to their art. Still Life with Red Flowers and Peaches is estimated at £1-1.5 million ($1,990,000-2,900,000).

Autumn Twilight by Mikhail Larionov (1881-1964)
Painted when the artist was only 19 years old, Autumn Twilight is among the earliest paintings by Mikhail Larionov ever to be offered at auction. From 1898 to 1903 Larionov produced mainly sketches and studies, however full scale oil paintings from this period such as Autumn Twilight are extremely rare. The subject of this painting is characteristic of his early landscape studies and urban sketches, which is in contrast to Larionov’s mature works. Larionov played an important role in introducing French artistic movements to Russia; not only did he stage the Golden Fleece Exhibition, which brought work by Gauguin, Braque, Van Gogh and Derain among others to Moscow, but in 1909 Larionov also founded the influential group of Russian artists known as the Jack of Diamonds, who were avid followers of Cezanne. The oil on canvas, which was painted in Moscow before Larionov emigrated to France and comes from a private US collection, is estimated at £150,000-200,000 ($299,000-398,000).

View from the Terrace by Konstantin Korovin (1861-1939)
Konstantin Korovin’s artistic talent earned him the title of Russia’s greatest Impressionist painter and his View from the Terrace is a fine example of his ability. This oil on canvas, which he executed in 1912, depicts the famous Black Sea resort of Gurzuf in all its summer splendour and is thought to be the view from Korovin’s Villa. Korovin loved the early Springs in the Crimea and these were surroundings that naturally lent themselves to his impulsive Impressionist style. Fedor Chaliapin was a regular visitor to his villa in Gurzuf and the two friends enjoyed sitting on the terrace, affectionately known as the ‘frying pan’, in the intense Crimean sun. The painting is estimated at £600,000-800,000 ($1.2-1.6 million).

The Kremlin on the Eve of the Coronation of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich by Konstantin Yuon (1875-1958)
A further important oil on canvas in the exhibition is Konstantin Yuon’s The Kremlin on the Eve of the Coronation of Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich, which records one of the most decisive moments in Russian history, the birth of autocracy. Painted in 1913 it is clear that Yuon was influenced by the tercentenary celebrations of the Romanov dynasty. This grand historical landscape, dominated by the majestic structures of the Kremlin, depicts the coronation of Tsar Mikhail in 1613 and the beginning of the Romanov dynasty. A Moscow native, Yuon often looked to his place of birth for inspiration, and like other members of the World of Art group he was also concerned with capturing the essence and feel of bygone days. His overall ability lay in depicting large-scale events whilst still focusing on detail and he continued to depict important historical events until late in his career. Consistent with his series of works that recorded the topography of Moscow, this oil on canvas accurately represents each structure, however here pure topography gives way to a joyous vibrant vision of a scene more reminiscent of Russian folk art. It is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000 ($1,600,000-2,390,000 million).

Category: Fine Art News

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