5 June 2013 Russian Art Auctions

5 Jun 2013

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


Design for a Niche with a Statue of the Virgin Mary

491. CHEKHONIN, SERGEI (1878-1936)

Design for a Niche with a Statue of the Virgin Mary, signed and inscribed "Paris".

Pencil, watercolour and gouache on paper, 33 by 25 cm.
8,000–12,000 GBP



Fine art connoisseurs very often associate Sergei Chekhonin with Soviet agitprop porcelain. Chekhonin, however – as well as being a revolutionary pioneer in the field of industrial design (he was artistic director from 1918 to 1927 at the Petrograd, later Leningrad, State Porcelain Factory) – was primarily a consummate book designer. In the 1910s he proved to be one of the masters whose work established the high standard of Russian graphic art. With his impeccable grasp of lettering and ornamentation Chekhonin, in conjunction with Dmitri Mitrokhin and Georgiy Narbut, belonged to the younger generation of members of the World of Art group who raised graphic art in books to a new level.

His exquisite pen and watercolour drawings became absolute Russian classics of the first quarter of the 20th century. The well-known Russian art historian Abram Efros called Chekhonin’s style “Soviet Empire”. The work in this catalogue is most probably a sketch for the decoration of an architectural niche. The artist produced it in Paris at the very end of the 1920s or beginning of 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.