29 November 2017
Women Talking, dated "11 10 59".
Oil on cardboard, laid on cardboard, 31.5 by 69 cm.
Provenance: Acquired from Alexander Stozharov, the artist’s son, by the present owner.
Important private collection, USA.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by Vladimir Stozharov, the artist’s grandson.
It has been included as No. 164 in the complete artist’s registry of works, compiled by the family.
Literature: Vladimir Fedorovich Stozharov. 1926–1973. Zhivopis, Risunok, Moscow, Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1977, p. 80, listed.
Vladimir Stozharov painted Women Talking during one of his working trips to Kostroma and Yaroslavl regions, north east of Moscow, where the artist would often go beginning from the late 1950s. Stozharov, who belonged to pochvenniki, or “artists of the earth”, had a genuine love for the Russian countryside and the distinctiveness of its centuries-old way of life. Stozharov’s landscapes nearly always feature real people, while he declared himself to be “no lover of uninhabited nature”. His favourite subjects are rural landscapes that have been shaped by people, and Women Talking, presented here for auction, is a remarkable example of such a genre landscape.
Capturing the everyday life of a modest village, the artist lovingly recreates on the canvas outbuildings, barns and the patches of first autumn snow, which lie in bright spots on the withered grass and clods of earth; and this colour pattern, as well as the intimate, behind-the-scenes, subject matter generate a poetic image of homeland. Stozharov was genuinely interested in painting unassuming rural buildings – huts, bathhouses, barns and sheds, – as for him, they embodied the concept of human life. Later, he would sum up this aspect of his worldview by saying that he wanted “to convey the beauty of people’s souls... through the image of the house where they live and of the land they walk on.”
Therefore, although the genre element of the conversation between the two women in bright skirts and scarves complements and enlivens the work, it does so without becoming its conceptual or compositional centre. In this, as in many other works, the most impressive aspects of Stozharov’s pictorial language are a warm and rich colour palette, and a sweeping painting style.
Such charming immediacy and warmth are mainly typical of Stozharov's small-scale works, which continue the artistic tradition of the Union of Russian Artists, incorporating the realistic manner of painting, specificity in conveying the material world, and poetic vision, characteristic of its members Turzhansky, Arkhipov and Yuon.
Notes on symbols:
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§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
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