5 June 2013 Russian Art Auctions

5 June 2013

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Motherhood, a Cover Design for the Magazine "Krasnaya Niva"

* 411. PETROV-VODKIN, KUZMA (1878-1939)

Motherhood, a Cover Design for the Magazine "Krasnaya Niva", signed twice, once with a monogram, and titled in Cyrillic, also further titled and dated 1926 on the reverse.

Pencil, ink and watercolour on paper, 23 by 30 cm (sheet size).
40,000–60,000 GBP

Provenance: Important private collection, Europe.

Authenticity certificate from the expert E. Zhukova.

In the 1920s Petrov-Vodkin’s work in the field of illustration and children’s book design was particularly fruitful. As with his works in oil, the artist builds his designs – creates their structure – on the basis of the theory of spherical perspective that he conceived in his book Euclid’s Space. On one occasion when he threw himself to the ground as a boy, the future artist’s attention was caught by the unusual state engendered in him at the moment he fell by the landscape around him. The art critic Yury Rusakov wrote: “Later he mulled over this impression and came to the conclusion that in painting, the artist’s own movement needed to be coordinated with movement in the surrounding world, because when that coordination took place there arose a sensation of the spherical nature of the surface of the earth. The system for perceiving space, however, and the method he developed of turning that into a painting, Petrov-Vodkin firmly believed, allowed a planetary sensation to be felt – in any canvas – of the connection between a specific object depicted and the immense spaces of the universe. Even if spherical perspective was not a discovery of universal significance, it still gave the spatial construction of Petrov-Vodkin’s own pictures unusual sharpness and a unique quality.” We can clearly see all this in the drawing of Motherhood here at auction, where in the mother’s rocking of her baby, in her every movement, in the slope of the window and the landscape glimpsed in it, we observe the instability of the universe and, alongside it, the accompanying equilibrium.

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.