27 Nov 2013
Women by the Sea, signed and dated 191(5).
Oil on canvas, 80 by 102 cm.
Provenance: Possibly, collection of O.D. Vinokurov.
Collection of the Soviet opera singer Elena Katulskaya.
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner.
Important private collection, Europe.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
Exhibited: Possibly, XIII vystavka kartin Soyuza russkikh khudozhnikov, Moscow, 7 January 1915–20 December 1916, No. 109.
Literature: Possibly, exhibition catalogue, XIII vystavka kartin Soyuza russkikh khudozhnikov, Moscow, 1915, p. 8, No. 109, listed.
Possibly, N. Stankevich, Sergei Vinogradov, Leningrad, Iskusstvo, 1971, p. 129, listed under works from 1915.
Sergei Vinogradov is among those eminent masters whose work gives a vivid picture of the development of the Russian plein airgenre in the first two decades of the 20th century. In the 1880s, influenced by prominent teachers such as Vladimir Makovsky, Vasily Polenov, Illarion Pryanishnikov and, later, Bogdan Villevalde, Vinogradov perfected the skill of narrative painting, bringing a freshness of perception and richness of colour to the Russian genre style, and freeing it from dark “umber” tonalities. Thanks to his virtuoso draughtsmanship and excellent compositional gift, Vinogradov created works on a par with those of his teachers. Robust drawing meant that Vinogradov, unlike Korovin, could keep a tight hold on the form of his subjects and achieve a brilliant impressionistic effect without compromising other aspects of the work. Later in life Vinogradov was among the founders and active members of the Union of Russian Artists, together with Arkhipov, Yuon, Rylov and Korovin. The group made an important contribution to Russian artistic life by consistent development of the national impressionist tradition, and it also largely determined the further development of contemporary realist painting, echoes of which are visible in the best examples of Soviet post-war art. Prior to his departure to Latvia in 1923, Vinogradov created a number of outstanding works, which are now among the prize exhibits of many Russian museums, including the State Tretyakov Gallery and the State Russian Museum. They include: Spring is Coming (1911), In the House (1912), Female Bathers (1913), Pond (1913), In the Cell(1916), Alupka. By the Sea (1917) and many others.
This marvellous canvas, Women by the Sea, is unquestionably one of the most important works of Vinogradov’s Russian period. The main impact of the work comes from the highly striking relief effect, but it is also striking for the ease with which the artist achieves a highly complex saturation of colour, in the blues of the water and the expanses of the sky. According to the painting’s previous owner, the prominent Soviet opera singer, Elena Katulskaya, the girls in the picture are the daughters of the legendary Russian opera singer, Feodor Chaliapin, strolling by the shore of the Gulf of Finland. It is probable that the painting Women by the Sea, presented for this auction, was exhibited at the opening exhibition of the Union of Russian Artists in 1915–1916.
Notes on symbols:
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§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
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