6 June 2018
Spring in Zhelnikha Village, signed and dated 1955, also further signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 90 by 141 cm.
Provenance: Collection of the Art Fund of the USSR (partial label on the stretcher).
Important private collection, USA.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by Vladimir Stozharov, the artist’s grandson. It has been included as No. 1467 in the complete registry of the artist’s works, compiled by the family.
Literature: Vladimir Fedorovich Stozharov, 1926–1973, Zhivopis, Risunok, Moscow, Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1977, p. 70, listed.
Spring in Zhelnikha Village by Vladimir Stozharov, offered here for auction, is one of his first “village” works. The picture was painted in 1955, after the artist had returned from a trip to Siberia, on an inspired and sincere impulse that shows he had discovered his own group of themes and his own painting style.
As in other works of this period, the composition is aligned horizontally but does, at the same time, extend into the background. The houses and barns of the small village of Zhelnikha near Volokolamsk are picturesquely dotted along a high river bank. The landscape seems to be virtually deserted, yet a feeling of everyday country life is conveyed very vividly. Noticing reliable signs that spring is on the way, Stozharov transfers them to the canvas: there is the soft snow melting in the sun, the exposed earth, the still bare branches of the trees stretching up towards the sun, the long shadows they cast, a flock of birds in the sky and chickens on thawed patches of ground.
Subsequently, Stozharov’s work was often to feature the subject of springtime in the countryside. But while in his works of the 1960s and 1970s, the leitmotif will be provided by the topic of the reawakening of the powerful driving force of life and the renewal of the world, here, in an earlier, lyrical canvas, spring is seen as being the gentle, tremulous breathing of nature. Fellow artists often recalled how Stozharov sought to capture the particular time when spring is approaching, and to convey it in his paintings: “He would leave Moscow in early spring... so as to catch snow and still have time to paint some winter motifs. But everything in the natural world was changing rapidly, and he had to hurry to paint both the thawed patches and the spring floods, and then the first green shoots, the village houses and, especially, the drying-houses and barns that he loved” (G. Daryin, “Vladimir Stozharov”, Moskovskii khudozhnik, No. 1, 1974).
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.