1 Dec 2011
On the River Protva. Fisherman, signed, also further signed, numbered "1628" and dated 1953 on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 72.5 by 64 cm.
Provenance: A gift from the artist to his friend A.G. Rubbakh (1896-1976), composer and professor at the Moscow Conservatoire, in 1953.
Acquired from the family of the above.
Private collection, UK.
Literature: Konchalovsky. Khudozhestvennoe nasledie, Moscow, Iskusstvo, 1964, p. 137, listed as “zhi 1340”.
Philosophical universalisation was intrinsic to the work of the outstanding Moscow artist Petr Konchalovsky — more so than to any other. He was equally skilled at painting portraits, still lifes and landscapes of his native Central Russia. As a landscapist Konchalovsky should be considered epic rather than lyric. His landscapes are characterised by a celebratory, emotional universalisation and the heady and whole-hearted fusion of nature with the restless essence of man. However, in Konchalovsky’s interpretation there is no soulless, overwhelming pantheism suggesting — as, for example, with the classic Romantic artists — a complete and total domination of man by nature. Instead we have an optimistic confrontation between elemental force and human reason, anticipating some kind of dramatic denouement rather than a charmless and pusillanimous compromise. This proud and heroic subtext was characteristic of much of the best Russian work of the post-war period — a category that certainly includes Konchalovsky’s On the River Protva. Fisherman, which the artist painted in 1953 for his friend, the composer and professor at the Moscow Conservatoire, Avrelian Rubbakh.
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