MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1 December 2011

1 Dec 2011

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


Lady with a Guitar

* 16. KOROVIN, KONSTANTIN (1861-1939)

Lady with a Guitar, signed and dated 1912.

Oil on canvas, 86 by 66 cm.
250,000-300,000 GBP


Provenance: Collection of A.Y. Abramyan, Russia.
Private collection, USA.

Exhibited: The Fine Art Exhibition of the Russian Union of Artists, Fadeev Central House of Literature, March-April 1972 (label on the stretcher).

Literature: Illustrated on a postcard published by Izobrazitel’noe iskusstvo, Moscow, 1974.

Lady with a Guitar is a magnificent example of Korovin’s work from the 1910s when the master reached the peak of his career. His canvasses became increasingly colourful during this period, and a free, sweeping style emerged. This is clearly visible in the portraits of Nadezhda Komarovskaya, a close friend of Korovin, who frequently modelled for him during this period.

Korovin painted his model by improvising directly from nature, and therefore the portrait has none of the deliberate, painstaking style and faithfully recreated details which were characteristic of his very early work. He strove to depict the young lady in a relaxed pose and to convey a lively, domestic scene. His speedily produced works are focused on conveying first impressions. A relationship between the sitter and her environment is constructed with the aid of vibrating light and varied reflections. The way in which he makes use of his own “trademark” colourist discovery of 1886 is also extremely striking: the “burning” of the red next to green, gradually transforming into the traditional colour spectrum of the master and his diverse combinations of dark green and red-ochre tones. The very structure of the composition, in which a model sits in the corner against the background of a window, becomes a characteristic feature of Korovin’s works of this period, which frequently combine the genres of portraiture, landscape painting and still life. A number of compositions from this series are well-known. They include one of the Lady with a Guitar portraits, which was sold at MacDougall’s Russian Art Sale in May 2006.


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.