MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1-2 Dec 2010

1 December 2010

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Portrait of the Artist's Wife in an Interior


Portrait of the Artist's Wife in an Interior mid-1920s

Watercolour and gouache on laid paper, 47.5 by 31 cm
8,000-12,000 GBP

With a pencil sketch on the reverse.

Exhibited: Moscow Union of Artists, 1978, W82, inscribed on the reverse.

Konstantin Chebotarev is one of the most interesting Russian masters of the first third of the 20th century. An outstanding representative of the Kazan school, who studied under the brilliant Nikolai Fechin, Chebotarev did not however become a conduit for the graphic ideas of his famous teacher. Having organised in 1917 an avant-garde association — the first in Kazan — of talented young people, called The Sunflower and fought with the White Army under Kolchak as it retreated eastwards (1918–1920), Chebotarev, returning to Kazan thanks to an amnesty, did not stop at that. In 1921 the artist became leader of a left front in art, becoming head of the creative group Vsadnik (The Rider), which not only in name but also in its very essence became the Russian heir to the tradition of the Munich-based Blaue Reiter group. Having fulfilled commissions in various applied areas, such as a series of books and sets of mounted engravings in limited editions (from six to 50 copies), Vsadnik entered the history of Russian art as the only case of a manifesto declaration of innovation in a single segment of figurative art — in graphic design. Chebotarev’s works in the 1920s, and those of his associates, feature many traits reminiscent of the dawn of the century, from the machinery and movement of Balla and Severini to Larionov’s Rayonism and Pechstein’s distorted angles.

Apart from rare cases when editions of the Vsadnik group have been presented at auction, this watercolour is the first appearance on the international art market of an easel work by Chebotarev. The model is the artist’s wife and colleague, Alexandra Platunova (1896–1966), a book and magazine designer of such Moscow periodicals of the 1920s as Krasnaya Niva, Krasnaya Panorama, Prozhektor and others.

The present work was owned by the artist’s family and was featured in a posthumous exhibition, which took place in 1978 at the Moscow Union of Artists on Begovaya Street.

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.