Catalogue: Important Russian Art Auction

15 October 2020

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

The Flautist

121. KLIUN, IVAN (1873–1943)

The Flautist, signed with initials.

Pencil, pen and ink and watercolour on paper, 21 by 15 cm.
12,000–18,000 GBP

Executed c. 1913.

Provenance: Collection of S. Kliunkova-Soloveichik.
Private collection, USA.
Private collection, Europe.

The work bears a stamp with authentication from S. Kliunkova-Soloveichik, the artist’s granddaughter, on the reverse.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert O. Glebova.

Literature: S. Kliunkova-Soloveichik, Ivan Vasilievich Kliun, New York, IVK Art, 1993, p. 81, illustrated and listed.

Related literature: For sculpture Musician, see I.V. Kliun, Moi put v iskusstve, Moscow, RA, 1999, p. 29, illustrated.

Another telling piece of evidence of Kliun’s creative quest is The Flautist (c. 1913), the sketch for the Cubist sculpture The Musician, which he fashioned in 1916 (now in the State Tretyakov Gallery). The period of the artist’s fascination with such spatial compositions made from various materials (painted wood and tin, celluloid and glass) coincided with the mid-1910s, when his interest in the “architectonic and mechanical strength of a structure established analytically” gained the upper hand for a while over his painting experiments.

In his memoirs, Kliun mentions Cubist Woman at Her Dressing Table, Fleeting Landscape and The Flautist Musician, with which a whole stack of preparatory sketches is associated, as being among the best Cubist sculptures of the 1910s. Nearly all of them reproduce a design that is already fully developed without any substantial changes and with the same frontal perspective. It is a human figure consisting of solid bodies of different shapes and colours, made of wood and held together by a dark rectangular board with a ball in the middle. The only feature that distinguishes the composition of the sketch to be auctioned is the pedestal on which the musician stands and which is absent from the other known drawings. Since a low square base, similar to the one depicted, was actually produced by Kliun for the three-dimensional sculpture, it is fair to assume that the sketch is the definitive one in the series and records the final stage of the artist’s work on The Musician.

The present lot as illustrated in the Catalogue Raisonné

The Flautist
The Flautist

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.