MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1-2 Dec 2010

1 December 2010

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Torso of a Boy

* 113. YAKOVLEV, ALEXANDER 1887-1938

Torso of a Boy signed with an initial and dated 1913

Sanguine on cardboard, 47.5 by 58.5 cm
25,000-30,000 GBP

Literature: Mikhail Bulgakov, Master i Margarita, St Petersburg, Vita Nova, 2001.

In 2002 Kalinovsky was named Artist of the Year at the XV Moscow International Book Fair for his illustrations for The Master and Margarita.

“… At last they regained the platform where Koroviev had first met Margarita with the lamp. Now her eyes were blinded with the light streaming from innumerable bunches of crystal grapes. Margarita stopped and a little amethyst pillar appeared under her left hand.”
Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Gennadi Kalinovski was perhaps the most brilliant exponent of Moscow book illustration from the 1960s to the 1990s, the period of its real blossoming. Moscow took over from Leningrad which, from the late 1920s to the early 1940s, had led the way in book design. But by the time of Khrushchev’s Thaw, the Northern Capital hardly produced any new names, while in Moscow talented young book illustrators in the persons of Ilya Kabakov, Valery Alfeevsky, Anatoly Kokorin, Erik Bulatov, Eduard Gorokhovsky, Oleg Vassiliev and many others moved into action.

Even in such prestigious company, Kalinovski was unique. Read any work illustrated with Kalinovski's watercolours, and you cannot imagine those characters outside the world proposed by the artist. It was only possible to create such masterpieces by totally renouncing any secondary considerations which might impede the artistic sacrament. This is explicitly confirmed by Kalinovski himself: “I can only work when I am entirely shielded from the pressures of life. I would even shut all light from my studio, blocking up the windows and avoiding communication with others almost entirely, lying for long days and weeks, half dreaming and half in the real world, running through images of different types, one after the other, which had come to me from, as I understand it, some kind of reservoir which we know as the subconscious.”

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.