MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions 27-30 May 2012

27 May 2012

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Still Life in a Ginger Jug

§ 121. GONCHAROVA, NATALIA (1881-1962)

Still Life in a Ginger Jug, signed with initials, also further signed twice and inscribed on the reverse.

Oil on canvas, 33 by 24 cm.
100,000–150,000 GBP

Provenance: From the collection of Hélène du Bouchet-Lovell, New York.
Anonymous sale; Impressionist and Modern Paintings, Drawings, Watercolours and Sculpture, Sotheby’s London, 24 May 1989, Lot 31.
Acquired at the above sale by the previous owner.
Private collection, UK.

Exhibited: The Russian Experiment: Master Works and Contemporary Works, Castle Gallery, College of New Rochelle, New Rochelle, September–October 1990.

This striking work is one of a series of still lifes with flowers painted after Goncharova had left Russia. The boom in avant-garde trends had, it seemed, already subsided, and among European painters there was now a renewed interest in the Realist tradition.

Alongside her design work for Parisian theatres, Goncharova painted a vast number of still lifes in her studio depicting “prickly bouquets”, which she would do to keep her hand in training. She regularly painted magnolias, roses and sprigs of cherry and apple-blossom, paying homage to Realist depiction of nature.

The influence on Goncharova of Post-Impressionism is particularly noticeable in the present lot, Still Life in a Ginger Jug. Her expressive painting style, together with a desire to re-create the nature of things, links Goncharova to both the Post-Impressionists and the art of Japanese engraving. The variety in texture and line as well as the harmonious colour palette marvellously convey the beauty of this spring bouquet. The sprig of cherry-blossom also echoes the sakura blossom design on the Japanese vase.

With her work on still lifes, Goncharova was aiming to refine her skills in conveying the simplicity and clarity of forms. Precise modelling and subtlety in the chosen shade became recognised features of this artist’s work.

Goncharova’s small still lifes with flowers were very popular in France and constantly in demand for exhibitions in the Paris galleries. It was probably the marriage of European and Russian traditions in her art that so captivated the French. As Marina Tsvetaeva so keenly observed of Goncharova, “When painting sprigs of willow and poplar catkins, she is painting her kinsfolk from Tula”.

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.