8 June 2011
A Complete Set of Illustrations for Alexander Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades", consisting of 16 finished illustrations, a portrait of Pushkin, a page with the artist's coat of arms, 19 preparatory sketches and text, all finished illustrations signed, mostly with initials, the page with the coat of arms signed, inscribed with a dedication to the artist's wife, inscribed "Paris" and dated "21/XI/46".
Pencil, black crayon and charcoal on paper, each finished illustration measuring approximately 22 by 18 cm.
The present volume of unpublished illustrations for Alexander Pushkin's The Queen of Spades is a rare and particularly fine example of Georges Pogedaieff 's work as an illustrator. The drawings were completed in Paris in 1946, just a year after the liberation of the city. Pogedaieff had remained in Paris during the German occupation, and it was during this difficult time that he began illustrating Russian classics. Although his illustrations for works by Pushkin, Lermontov, Gogol and Dostoevsky remained unpublished, they seem to have had a special significance for the artist, who dedicated them to people close to him. This is the case for The Queen of Spades, which he dedicated to his wife.
In these drawings, Pogedaieff perfectly captures Pushkin's characters: the officers playing cards until the early morning, the old countess literally frightened to death, or Hermann driven insane by greed. His almost caricature-like treatment of the characters' faces reflects the element of parody present in Pushkin's story, and the use of black suits the mysterious mood of the tale. Besides the completed illustrations, the volume also contains several preparatory sketches which give us an insight into how the artist worked. The variations between the two, such as the presence of a pistol in Hermann's hand in one of the sketches, is a proof of how much thought Pogedaieff put into these drawings.
The illustrations are presented in the original portfolio, designed personally by the artist, and accompanied by the text in French.
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.