MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 25-27 November 2019

25 Nov 2019

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


A Road

18. VASSILIEV, OLEG (1931–2013)

A Road, signed and dated 1988, further inscribed in Cyrillic with a dedication and dated “29-VIII-89” on the reverse.

Oil on canvas, 80 by 90 cm.
35,000–50,000 GBP


Provenance: Private collection, New York.

Contemporary Art Day Sale, Phillips de Pury & Company London, 29 June 2009, lot 173.

Private collection, Europe.



Oleg Vassiliev’s painting A Road (1988), presented here for auction, is
a milestone work, which the artist painted in his formative years during the search for his artistic credo, described by him as the representation of the space that was close and dear to him. To achieve this goal, the artist uses the image of a road, which appears in many of his works, including In the Field. Abramtsevo (1972), Window (1988) and Path (2001). The art critic Vitaly Patsiukov wrote that Vassiliev’s oeuvre is itself reminiscent of a road, “a way in which every step opens up a further dimension of reality. Whether it lies through a steppe or a forest, whether it is a highway or a track, this is the road that determines a person’s destiny and is full of uncertainty and expectancy.”



The artist always treated a road as a way back to the past. Yet it is not just a pursuit of the ghost of bygone days, but rather “the search for an anchorage, an attempt to turn round and face a house from which he once emerged” (quoted from: Oleg Vasiliev. Pamiat govorit, St Petersburg, 2004, p. 66). This desire to unite past and present stems probably from the strong influence exerted on the painter by the philosophy of his mentor Vladimir Favorsky, who maintained that to be truthful, an artist must feel and depict time.


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.