MacDougall Auctions 2-3 December 2009

2 December 2009

Artist Index / Full Catalogue



Clown signed with initials, titled in Cyrillic and dated 1960 on the reverse

Oil on board, 70 by 49.5 cm.
25,000-35,000 pounds

Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist by the father of the present owner.
Thence by descent.
Private collection, Germany.

Authenticity has been confirmed by Tatiana Sokolova-Kharitonova, widow of the artist.

In his artistic compositions during the first half of the 1960s, Kharitonov was the ultimate magician and storyteller; he was simultaneously a king and a beggar. In other words, he was a poet of the highest order. Kharitonov expressed himself in his canvases solely through parables; he valued the purity of artistic language above all else, and from the multiplicity of artistic techniques at his disposal, he showed a clear preference for the metaphor.

His use of metaphor came into being through his transformation of seemingly ordinary objects and occurrences into new and incredible poetic forms. For example, Kharitonov’s Clown depicts a person bending down to pick a flower, and for all the laconicism of its form, one can certainly sense something that is more universal.

Thanks to his extraordinary vision, Kharitonov saw the “beautiful” as the “wonderful”, and given that he loathed subject clichés, whether in art or in life, he sought to redefine the world, generously sharing his discoveries with the viewer. Those who viewed the world through Kharitonov’s eyes became poets themselves, acquiring the ability to grasp the fragility of life and the transience of time, witnessing the Little Prince uprooting the baobab trees from his planet and even glimpsing the ghostly silver lining of the dark cloud looming overhead.

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.