MacDougall Auctions 28 November 2008

28 November 2008

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Lady with a Guitar

* 13. KOROVIN, KONSTANTIN 1861-1939

Lady with a Guitar signed and dated 1912

Oil on canvas, 86 by 66 cm.

Provenance: Private collection of A.Y. Abramyan, Russia.
Private collection, USA.

Authenticity certificate from the State Tretyakov Gallery, experts A. Gusarova and L. Gladkova.

Exhibited: The Fine Art Exhibition of the Russia Union of Artists, Fadeev Central House of Literature, March-April 1972, label on the stretcher.

Literature: Illustrated on a postcard published by Izobrazitelnoe Iskysstvo, Moscow, 1974.

Lady with a Guitar is a magnificent example of Korovin’s work from the 1910s when the master reached the peak of his career. It was during this period that his canvases became increasingly colourful, and a free, sweeping style emerged. This is clearly visible in the portraits of Nadezhda Komarovskaya, a close friend of Korovin, whom he frequently portrayed from the end of the first decade of the twentieth century to the early part of the second decade.

Korovin painted his model by improvising directly from nature, and therefore the portrait has none of the deliberate, painstaking style and faithfully recreated details which were characteristic of his youth. He strived to depict the young lady in a relaxed pose, and to convey a lively, domestic scene. His speedily produced works are focused on conveying first impressions. A relationship between the portrait image and its environment is constructed with the aid of pulsating light and miscellaneous reflections. The way in which he makes use of his own “trademark” colourist discovery of 1886 is also extremely striking: the “burning” of the colour red next to green, gradually becoming transformed into the traditional colour spectrum of the master and his diverse combinations of dark green and red-ochre tones. The very structure of the composition, in which a model sits in the corner against the background of a window, becomes a characteristic feature of Korovin’s works of this period, which frequently combine the genres of portraiture, landscape painting and still life. A number of compositions from this series are well known. They include one of the Lady with Guitar portraits, which was sold at the MacDougall’s Russian Art Sale in May 2006.

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.