28 November 2018
A Summer's Evening, Signed and dated "Avgust 1923".
Oil on canvas, 71 by 86.5 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, UK.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
Exhibited: The Russian Art Exhibition, Grand Central Palace, New York, 1924, No. 209 (stamp and label on the stretcher).
Literature: Exhibition catalogue, The Russian Art Exhibition, New York, 1924, No. 209, listed.
Igor Grabar’s picture entitled Summer’s Evening may be considered a sort of summation of the fruitful summer the artist spent in 1923 at the village of Krylatskoye near Moscow. For almost the first time since the revolution he was able to tear himself away from his administrative work as Director of the Tretyakov Gallery and museums section of the People’s Commissariat for Education to devote himself entirely to painting, his great love.
Harking back to the traditions of the Russian realist school of painting at the end of the 19th century, Grabar painted “trying to forget all the ‘-isms’ in the world and just be one of the public admiring the beauty of nature”. The artist himself believed that at this time gaining “transcendence over impressionism gave greater freedom to my brushwork, which immediately both loosened my handling of form and simplified my painting, bringing it closer to synthesis”.
Among the landscapes he painted at Krylatskoye, Grabar would give prominence to Summer’s Evening. As early as 1923, on his return to Moscow that autumn, the artist included this work among those selected for the grand exhibition of Russian art being prepared in America. In all about twenty of Grabar’s paintings went into the American show of 1924. Summer’s Evening had a well-earned place among them, representing the latest achievements in Russian landscape painting.
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