25 - 28 November 2012 Russian Art Auctions

25 November 2012

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Summer Landscape

* 27. KOROVIN, KONSTANTIN (1861–1939)

Summer Landscape, signed and dated 1914.

Oil on canvas, 53 by 80 cm.
220,000–400,000 GBP

Provenance: Private collection, Europe.

Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert A. Gusarova.

Konstantin Korovin’s life-affirming Summer Landscape belongs to the remarkable cycle of Okhotino landscapes from the second decade of the 20th century. These rather large canvasses, remarkable for their virtuoso painterly artistry, are essentially plein air studies elevated by the artist to the status of fully finished pictures. He painted them astonishingly quickly, sometimes when out fishing or shooting while waiting for a bite or between drives. Accordingly, nature comes across in these paintings as a concentrated sensation infused with the painter’s poetic sentiment, as if living and breathing the same air that he does. The same old forest edges, barns, sheds, wattle fences, weirs and stretches of water not only fail to tire Korovin’s eye but, on the contrary – take on a sharper individual resonance on each occasion, with the season and time of day. No wonder the artist’s peers, upon seeing these unpretentious village views of the Vladimir region, observed that “Korovin saw the same world as others do, but saw it in surprising richness”.

As early as the 1870s, when searching the landscape for his own motifs “close to my heart and which resonate with my soul”, and distancing himself from the Itinerant position, Korovin wrote: “What is needed is light: more gladness, more brightness”. The strongest embodiment of these words, which became a kind of creative credo for the artist over the years, is in the Okhotino canvasses, in which, captivated by the natural force that is colour, he becomes a true bard of the Russian summer. The warm summer days and evenings, precious for their paucity and which gladden the Russian soul, literally enthralled Korovin with the riot of their shimmering colours. In Summer Landscape, dated 1914, the sun is peeping out after rainfall as evening approaches and spilling its light on the waterlogged field and damp grass; it seems as if the sun itself is urging the artist to reproduce the effects of light.

The painting is filled with bright colour in great variety. The searing contrast of pink and green suggests Korovin’s intoxication with the luxuriance of painting and, through painting – the luxuriance of nature. The manner in which the artist applies a succession of effective, precise, impatient and impetuous broad brushstrokes is relaxed. This imparts to the whole composition not only a slightly uplifted, festive mood, but also a special rhythm in time. It seems that the artist has seized the moment and then, from behind the treetops, out comes the sun or even a rainbow, to momentarily cast its beams to earth.

Thus, Korovin’s landscapes from the years 1900 to 1920 occupy a special place in his creative bequest. Preserving an immediacy of natural impression, and the astonishing painterly bravura that is inherent in the artist’s best pieces, they have become perhaps the most profound and poignant part of the legacy the artist left behind him.

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.