6 June 2018
En Route, signed with initials.
Oil on canvas, 55.5 by 42.5 cm.
Provenance: Acquired by the previous owner in Moscow in the 1980s.
Thence by descent.
Private collection, France.
Georgy Nissky’s painting En Route, offered for auction, is indisputably one of his best works created in the 1950s. Its broad perspective, the uncluttered elegance of its composition and its monumental rhythm put it on a par with the artist’s most famous works from that period, now housed in museum collections.
En Route displays what the critics consider the two main features of Nissky’s oeuvre. Firstly, his artistic quest to capture vast expanses of land intellectually, sensually and visually. Secondly, the artist’s ability to tease out the most important traits in his surroundings whilst eschewing the trap of the “minutiae of daily life” (T. Semionova, Na prostorakh Rodiny, Moscow, Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1959).
To emphasise the boundless expanse of the imaginary space beyond the visible landscape, the artist here employs his favourite motif — a road that cuts across the composition and disappears over the horizon. However, unlike Moscow Suburbs in February (1957, State Tretyakov Gallery), a picture with a very similar subject, in which the ribbon of the road occupies the centre of the composition, as if to lure the viewer along, in the present work En Route the road, shooting ahead like an arrow along the edge of the composition concedes the central role to a vast snowy expanse, almost deserted but for a solitary human figure by the roadside. The “rhythms of energy”– the high, slender trunks of the pines on the right of the canvas, and the train speeding along its left-hand edge — only accentuate the tranquillity and stillness of the surrounding landscape — the sort of calmness that is ripe with anticipation of human intervention.
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.