Catalogue: Important Russian Art Auction

15 October 2020

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Composition I

§ 54. LANSKOY, ANDRÉ (1902–1976)

Composition I, signed.

Oil on canvas, 195 by 96.5 cm.
100,000–200,000 GBP

Executed in 1958.

Provenance: Galerie Kriegel, Paris (label on the reverse).
Private collection, Switzerland.
Contemporary Art, Sotheby's Paris, 31 May–1 June 2011, lot 24.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Private collection, UK.

Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the Andre Lanskoy Committee.

Literature: Flying in the Wake of Light, London, 2014, p. 61, illustrated.

André Lanskoy’s Compositions of the late 1950s and early 1960s are works by a celebrated artist who carved out a niche for himself in post-war abstract art.

Once he had, for the first time ever, abandoned figurative painting in the late 1930s under the influence of works produced by Kandinsky and Klee, Lanskoy focused single-mindedly on abstraction over the next decade. He worked hard, seeking and constantly perfecting a method of his own, one that differed both from the geometrical constructs of the Russian avant-garde and from European Analytical Cubist output. The artist saw the colour in light as being paramount in his works.

This was the first, crucial element around which everything else was organised – the drawing, the composition and the rhythm. Lanskoy’s light in colour has been compared repeatedly to the coloured shadows and flashes that burst into flame when encountering the sun’s rays refracted in the stained-glass windows of mediaeval cathedrals. The critic Jean Granier even wrote that Lanskoy’s colours are varied, but they are nearly always as cold as glass and only warm up when applied by his personal touch.

As time passed, sensuality and emotion became increasingly prominent in his compositions. The artist applied cadmium and cobalt hues, azure and brilliant greens to the surface of the canvas in chaotic, pastose stripes and planes, using a table onto which he squeezed out his paints as a palette. This creative method ultimately led art historians to acknowledge the special phenomenon of French Lyrical Abstractionism, a fellow traveller and rival of American Abstract Expressionism.

The works presented belong precisely to this French movement, of which Lanskoy is regarded as one of the founding fathers.

The present lot as illustrated in the "Flying in the Wake of Light" publication

Composition I
Composition I

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.