Wednesday, 23 May 2012

SALE: Petrov-Vodkin to Headline MacDougall’s Russian Art Auctions 27 & 30 May 2012

On the evening of 27 May 2012 in London, MacDougall’s will offer an exceptional painting by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. Still Life. Apples and Eggs, estimated at £2,000,000-3,000,000, is one of the most typical and recognisable of Petrov-Vodkin’s works of the early 1920s. 

Oil paintings by Petrov-Vodkin exceedingly rarely appear on the market and few works of such significance as Still Life. Apples and Eggs remain in private hands. The work was previously in the collection of Grigory Blokh, before it was acquired by Abram Chudnovsky, another famous collector from Leningrad. Chudnovksy, a well-known physicist, started collecting art immediately after Stalin’s death in 1953, and by the 1960s had amassed one of the most important collections of early 20th century Russian avant-garde paintings, including works by artists such as Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich and Pavel Kuznetsov. Petrov-Vodkin’s Still Life. Apples and Eggs was among the highlights of the collection. Widely exhibited after Chudnovsky’s death in 1985, the work is now offered at auction for the first time.

Petrov-Vodkin painted Still Life. Apples and Eggs in Samarkand during the summer of 1921, when he took part in an official expedition to establish the condition of architectural and historical sites in Turkestan. His four months in Samarkand were particularly fruitful and he returned with an important body of work including landscapes, portraits and still lifes. He was later to publish a book on his experiences in Central Asia, illustrated with his own drawings. 

Petrov-Vodkin’s still lifes are not only among the best works in the artist’s oeuvre, but are also among the most important Russian paintings of the period following the Revolution of 1917. In these works, the artist painstakingly analysed every facet of the objects he painted, often depicting them from an elevated viewpoint. This “spherical perspective”, based on a unique philosophical system developed by the artist, bestows Petrov-Vodkin’s seemingly simple still lifes with monumental significance. Comprising modest objects which reflect the austerity of the period, Petrov-Vodkin’s still lifes are full of tension, but simultaneously extremely delicate and rich in colour.

The appearance on the market of Still Life. Apples and Eggs presents a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire a museum-quality work by Petrov-Vodkin. The painting will be offered alongside other masterpieces of 19th and 20th century Russian art at the Important Russian Art sale on Sunday 27 May. On 30 May, MacDougall’s will present Russian paintings, icons and works of art, as well as a collection of works by the theatre designer Dimitri Bouchène. The total pre-sale estimate for all sales exceeds £25m. 

Important Russian Art
Sunday 27 May 2012, 17:00

Russian Art, Icons and Works of Art
Wednesday 30 May 2012, 10:30 and 14:00

Dimitri Bouchène Collection 
Wednesday 30 May 2012, 16:00

Viewing Days
Friday 25 May, 10:30–18:00
Saturday 26 May, 10:30–18:00
Sunday 27 May, 10:30–14:00
Monday 28 May, 10:30–18:00
Tuesday 29 May, 10:30–18:00


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