MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1 December 2011

1 December 2011

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Set Design for Alexander Neverov's "Peasant Women"

67. KUSTODIEV, BORIS (1878-1927)

Set Design for Alexander Neverov's "Peasant Women", signed, inscribed in Cyrillic "I akt/ Baby p'esa Neverova" and dated 1920.

Pencil and watercolour on paper, laid on cardboard, 44.5 by 62 cm.
70,000-90,000 GBP

Provenance: Private collection, UK.

Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.

It is no surprise that Boris Kustodiev, who worked so enthusiastically on the themes of traditional Russian life, festivals and holidays, should have collaborated closely with the theatre. This set design for Alexander Neverov’s play Peasant Women, which had won acclaim in Moscow in 1920, conveys the atmosphere of an autumnal Sunday in the country with the vivid colours typical of Kustodiev. In this populous composition, which was created for a production at the Smolny Theatre in Petrograd, the artist reproduced the typical Russian characters so recognisable from his genre paintings.

Close to the style of lubok folk art and craft work which Kustodiev studied and was so fond of, this watercolour reveals to us the character of a Russian village, conveying the essence of ordinary people’s everyday life in the multi-coloured language of art. Kustodiev himself said: “I regard a vivid kaleidoscope of colours to be entirely characteristic of Russian life.” His palette holds great significance in his works and becomes particularly saturated in his theatre designs with their generalised schematic forms. This rare design for Peasant Women, a poetic image of Russian provincial life, clearly testifies to Kustodiev’s talent as a theatre designer.

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.