MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 1 December 2011

1 December 2011

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Illustration for Alexander Pushkin's "The Robber Brothers"

407. VRUBEL, MIKHAIL (1856-1910)

Illustration for Alexander Pushkin's "The Robber Brothers", signed, further stamped by the Imperial Academy of Arts "IAKh... ...OKT 1881" and inscribed "II k".

Ink and wash and watercolour on paper, laid on cardboard, 31 by 37 cm.
50,000-70,000 GBP

Provenance: Formerly in the collection of Ms Knorre, St Petersburg.
Important private collection, Germany.

Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert E. Zhukova.

Literature: Iskusstvo i promyshlennost’, No. 1, 1924, p. 29, No. 3, illustrated.

Works by the outstanding Russian artist Mikhail Vrubel are extremely rarely encountered outside the museum world. His paintings and drawings always attracted great interest and, over the years, the main body of his work has migrated from the celebrated collections of Sergei Morozov and Adrian Prakhov into those of Russia’s greatest museums.

Early-period Vrubel is especially interesting for understanding the development of his inimitable style; the fluidity of his line and the depth of his dimensional forms gradually give way to the “broken”, mosaic-like techniques that would become the prime stylistic trait of the master. The magnificent Robber Brothers, an illustration for Pushkin’s poem of the same name, was created by Mikhail Vrubel in 1881 as a student drawing exercise a year after the artist had enrolled at the Imperial Academy of Arts. This dynamic and uncommonly mature work reveals strong draughtsmanship, a taut dynamic and skilfully conveyed narrative drama.

This work was originally in the collection of Mrs Knorre, who had worked as housekeeper to the Pampel family in St Petersburg. Vrubel was a close friend and lived on and off with the family between 1878 and 1883, when he was tutoring their children. The drawing was published in 1924 in the magazine Iskusstvo i promyshlennost’.

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.