27 November 2013
View from a Balcony in Autumn, signed.
Oil on canvas, 72.5 by 58.5 cm
Executed c. 1910.
Provenance: The artist’s studio.
Collection of Vladimir Maksimov, editor of Continent, the Russian émigré journal published in Paris in the 1970s and 1980s.
Anonymous sale; The Russian Sale, Sotheby’s London, 10 May 2000, lot 44.
Private collection, UK.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
Literature: Yu. Osmolovsky, Konstantin Fedorovich Yuon, Moscow, Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1982, p. 78, the present lot can be seen hanging on the left wall in a photograph of the artist and his family in their Moscow apartment.
View from a Balcony in Autumn by Konstantin Yuon is one of those works, which preserves for future generations the mood that inspired them. Painted in the 1910s, when the world of country estates, old dachas and cherry orchards was in full retreat before the iron march of progress, this heartfelt autumn composition by Yuon sounds nostalgic notes of a dwindling way of life.
Like most of Yuon’s village landscapes of the time, it was most probably painted in Ligachevo, the large settlement near Moscow, where, having finally decided that the beauty of the Russian heartland was the thing most dear to him, Yuon bought a small parcel of land in 1908 and built a studio-home, which he gradually extended. The artist purposely chose to build his house on the edge of the village where he could communicate to best effect with both people and nature. Finding that the land he had bought was not suited for growing fruit and vegetables, the artist decided to give over the whole plot to young trees, which he transplanted from the nearby forest.
The studio in Ligachevo became the artist’s favoured retreat. It offered him a continuous communion with nature and the conditions he needed to transfer fresh impressions to the canvas. Autumn is just such a living fragment of existence, seemingly glimpsed by chance.
The composition, intentionally curtailed and constructed with remarkable simplicity, is infused with the deep lyricism characteristic of the best Russian autumn landscapes. The unity of nature and a human dwelling, harmoniously coexisting and treated by Yuon as an organic whole, is transmitted by means of laconic artistic tools with no pretension to effect. Pure, localised colours and the intonational richness of surface texture play a prime role in Yuon’s art. He adds to the decorative power of the picture by flattening its space, turning the background into a solid, multi-coloured carpet of fallen leaves.
View from a Balcony in Autumn was among the artist’s most-loved works and it hung for a long time in the front room of his home in Moscow, where it can be seen in a photograph published in a 1982 monograph on the artist. Later the work entered the collection of Vladimir Maksimov, the editor of Continent, the prominent émigré periodical with a Christian and liberal bent, which was published in Paris from the 1970s to the 1990s.
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.