25 November 2012
First Snow. Blue Dacha, signed and dated 1938, also further signed, numbered “1284” and dated on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 72 by 100 cm.
Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist’s family by the present owner.
Private collection, Europe.
Authenticity certificate from the experts S. Rimskaya-Korsakova, E. Nesterova and A. Bogdanov.
Authenticity certificate from the expert T. Ermakova.
Literature: Konchalovsky. Khudozhestvennoe nasledie, Moscow, Iskusstvo, 1964, p. 140, listed as “zhi 1030”.
For Petr Konchalovsky, the 1930s were years largely spent painting landscapes: of Moscow, Leningrad, Ryazan, the Crimea and of course, the dacha.
Not by chance did the artist in 1932 acquire his famous dacha at Bugry from his old acquaintance Anna Ivanovna Troyanovskaya. In his youth he had spent several months on the neighbouring estate of Belkino, where Alexander Pushkin once used to stay, and he fell in love with these places.
Right up until his death, the artist and his entire family would spend a large part of every year at Bugry. The surroundings, the old-fashioned house with no electricity, the abundant produce from the gardens and the spoils of hunts provided a refuge of creative freedom for the artist in the difficult times when he was hounded for his “incorrect”, Jack of Diamonds art. At this time Konchalovsky was especially drawn to working on winter landscapes, continuing his pursuit of, in his own words, “the elusive aspect not yet captured, of nature in our Russian winter; her cast-iron logic that applies to the simplest relationships, demanding a kind of extreme clarity”.
Behind the apparent chromatic minimalism of his famous winter compositions – Oleg’s House in Ryazan, Pink House on Bolshaya Sadovaya Street, and The Pharmacy – lies a virtuoso’s technical grasp of highly complex colour transformations. First Snow. Blue Dacha is in no sense inferior to these works. On this canvas the artist conveys in a masterly way the typically tactile quality of a wooden house in Bugry, lit in subtly nuanced hues.
The artist’s attention had already been attracted by the juxtaposition of the colour planes of a dark blue house and snow in one of his early Abramtsevo works (House at Abramtsevo, 1911). However, with his radical experiments in search of new textural forms now behind him, Konchalovsky resolves the same chromatic challenge in a completely different way. A fauviste exaltation of colour and dynamic brushwork are replaced by a relatively calm manner of painting. There is a particular emotional tone which Konchalovsky finds through the colours of his impressions. His Bugry landscapes of the 1930s, as distinct from the Abramtsevo series, express a mood of closeted self-absorption, showing a familiar world which the artist perceives in a new way. He is now drawn not to nature’s monumental logic, but rather to the complexity of her inner being. In this respect, his unusually vibrant and laconic landscape First Snow. Blue Dacha may be regarded as fully emblematic of the artist’s creative credo in the 1930s.
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.