1 December 2010
Lake in Early Spring signed, c. 1910s
Oil on canvas, laid on panel, 71.5 by 100 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, Finland.
Authenticity has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
Related Literature: For similar works, see Perezviny Magazine, No. 18, 1926.
Latvian by birth, Vilhelms Purvit studied at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1890–1897. A student in the studio of Arkhip Kuindzhi, Purvit in his earlier paintings revealed his teacher’s influence in the search for rich, decorative effects and idealism of nature (The Last Rays, 1897). As Purvit’s art matured, his oeuvre began to show his admiration for Isaac Levitan. He captured the mysterious charm of Latvian landscape through the use of modest, subdued and even prosaic subjects.
Purvit’s career was for many years closely connected with Latvia. In 1898 he travelled to Germany, France and Austria, and in 1906–1909 worked in Tallinn. Many of his paintings depict the transition between winter and early spring. His palette is predominantly cool, only rarely broken by contrasting colours. Purvit’s work is touched by essentially rural simplicity, quite unlike the urban or historical preoccupations of his contemporaries.
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