MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1-2 Dec 2010

1 December 2010

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

In the Church

319. GRIBKOV, SERGEI 1820-1893

In the Church stamped with the artist's name on the reverse

Oil on canvas, 75 by 65.5 cm.
90,000-120,000 GBP

Provenance: Private collection, Europe.
Private collection, France.

Authenticity has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.

An extraordinary work of great beauty, harmonious in its composition and sublimely elegiac in mood, Sergei Gribkov’s In the Church reveals to us the distinctive world of Russian painting of the 1860s; on the one hand imbued with echoes of the Biedermeier era and resonances of Russian Romanticism, and on the other with a leaning towards the caring and socially acute depiction of the lives of ordinary people, which eventually became the true-to-life basis of the strongly ideological art of the Itinerants. Dating, it appears, from the very early 1860s, Gribkov’s painting is distinguished by a very finely-layered scumbling technique and a "sleekness", typical of Russian academic painting of that time. A turning point in the creative life of this artist was his move in 1852 from Moscow to St Petersburg, where he spent his time copying the masterpieces of the Hermitage, thereby honing the painting skills he had acquired at the Moscow Academy. In the collection of the State Russian Museum is a work with a similar subject, Spanish Girl Praying in Church, which he painted in St Petersburg that same year. The artist’s close attention to the young models’ poses, the placing of their hands, the surrounding detail and above all to the lighting — a crucial factor, dictating the overall mood of the painting — are typical of the well-known works of that period. The moments of "imparting" spiritual ecstasy and intimate religious communion were also absolutely typical of this artist. It is therefore unsurprising that, some years later, Gribkov gravitated from an art which was still absolutely secular and even somewhat "salon-oriented" towards a refined, religious art, devoting himself entirely to the creation of frescos for the interiors of churches and cathedrals.

At the current time the works of this outstanding master are mostly owned by museums and are extremely rare in private collections. We are thus delighted and proud to be offering this unique work at auction.

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.