Important European Collection of Russian Art, plus Other Properties

30 May 2020

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


79. KOROVIN, KONSTANTIN (1861–1939)

Boulogne, signed, inscribed "Boulogne" and dated 1935.

Oil on canvas, 50.5 by 61 cm.
50,000–70,000 GBP

Provenance: Private collection, Italy, until the late 1990s.
Private collection, Croatia.

Boulogne belongs to a series of vibrant, superbly executed paintings that Konstantin Korovin painted over a number of years on his trips to the country and the seaside. His contemporaries recalled that he would randomly interrupt a stroll, or bring his driver to a halt, exclaiming: “Stop! I want to paint!” Then, Korovin would make an impromptu sketch, transforming a seemingly unremarkable scene into a lovely landscape, with all the elements coherently organised into an integral composition.

In Korovin’s French and Crimean landscapes, it becomes especially apparent that the process of painting was more important to the artist than the subject, and the fragmentary, sometimes incidental composition is only a pretext for creating a veritable poem of light and colour. Boulogne is one of such spontaneous works, which showcase Korovin’s consummate skills and the main principle that guided his artistic pursuits: “More pleasure, more brightness”.

Korovin was unfailingly sensitive to the decorative aspect of the scenes he depicted. This comes through in the graceful rhythm unifying the short brushstrokes that make up the space of the street and the sky. However, it is the light that creates the picture’s sense of wholeness: the shining light of the sun casting coloured reflections off the objects, as well as dark-blue and lilac-grey shadows.

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.