27 November 2013
Chinese Lanterns, signed, titled in Cyrillic "Svidanie" and dated 1956 on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 172.5 by 75 cm.
Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist's family by Forma Gallery, Moscow, in 1994.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1998.
Private collection, Europe.
Chinese Lanterns by Konstantin Maksimov is a prominent example of the mature style of this artist whose vital contribution to the development of Russian art after World War II is beyond doubt. Maksimov was among the first Soviet painters to bring an innovative approach to the rigid academic tradition introduced under Stalin, based on the stylistic principles of Impressionism. By the mid 1950s, Maksimov had already established himself as an accomplished artist. In 1956, the Ministry of Culture of the USSR sent him to China in the capacity of advisor to the director of the China Central Academy of Art in Beijing, where he had the opportunity to acquaint himself with the culture of this remarkable country. Chinese Lanterns reveals the artist’s talent as a subtle colourist and emphasises his masterful handling of composition. This simple genre scene, imbued with a warm and expressive lyricism, captures a moment in the life of a Chinese town at dusk: a meeting of two young people, their touching exchange of tender words in the shade of a large tree, their surroundings lit by bright lanterns. The subject symbolises a new day for China, its newly acquired youth, hopes and expectations of change. This exceptional work can without doubt be considered one of the most important paintings of Maksimov’s Chinese period.
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.