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12:00 GMT 20 June 2024

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A Bay in the North

* 13. NISSKY, GEORGY (1903-1987)

A Bay in the North, signed with initials and dated 1964, also further signed, titled in Cyrillic, numbered and dated on the reverse.

Oil on canvas, 60 by 100 cm.
60,000-90,000 GBP

Provenance: A gift from the Central Committee of Communist Party of the Soviet Union to Gus Hall (1910-2000), the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the USA (1959-2000), 8 October 1970 (plaque on the frame).
Thence by descent to the present owner.
Private collection, USA.


Completed in 1964, A Bay in the North, is indisputably one of Georgy Nissky's best works created by the artist in the 1960s. Its broad perspective, the uncluttered elegance of its composition and its monumental rhythm put it on a par with the artist’s most famous works from that period, now housed in museum collections.

Nissky is one of the most revered Soviet masters of his time and A Bay in the North is a true testament to the artist’s minimalist yet overpowering style and unearthly palette. This serene landscape displays what the critics consider the two main features of Nissky’s oeuvre. Firstly, his artistic quest to capture vast expanses of land intellectually, sensually and visually. Secondly, the artist’s ability to tease out the most important traits in his surroundings whilst eschewing the trap of the minutiae of daily life.

The painting was gifted by the Soviet government to Gus Hall, General Secretary of the Communist Party USA in 1959-2000. It was presented to Hall by the Head of State Leonid Brezhnev on the occasion of his 60th birthday during his visit to Moscow in 1970. A devoted Communist, indicted under the Smith Act in 1948 and jailed for over 5 years, Gus Hall remained an ardent supporter of Russian culture and its important collector till his death in 2000.


Plaque on the frame of the present lot
Gus Hall with Leonid Brezhnev

A Bay in the North
A Bay in the North
A Bay in the North

Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
◎ Indicates the lot is located outside the UK. Successful bidders would collect their lots outside the UK after payment.
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.