27 Nov 2013
Composition, signed and dated 1970.
Oil on canvas, 49 by 52.5 cm.
Provenance: Anonymous sale; Russian Art and Paintings, Sotheby's London, 27 November 2007, lot 336.
Private collection, UK.
Vladimir Weisberg, one of the most original of the “alternative” Soviet artists, was not in the strictest sense of the word, a non-conformist. He was part of the liberal wing of the Union of Artists, the leftist MOSKh, and often exhibited alongside the representatives of the so-called “austere style”. However, his individual interests continuously returned to the subject of pure art, automatically placing Weisberg’s oeuvre in opposition to the official ideological art of the Soviet Union.
Having run the gamut from portraiture and experiments in a polychrome pastose technique, by the 1970s Weisberg had found his famous individual style often referred to as “white on white”, of which the present lot, Composition, is an excellent example.
In this work, the thick brushstrokes with which the artist previously modelled forms, has given way to a delicate, translucent application. The chaotic patchwork has been replaced by a uniform white space permeated with light, in which the contours of objects suddenly materialize as if from thin air. Weisberg uses simple geometric objects, however, working on the edge between symbolism and surrealism, he extends the “metaphysical still life” almost to the extreme of dematerialisation, dissolving substance in colour. As a result, the geometrical objects, arranged into pairs or groups, which the artist was so fond of depicting, can be seen as a sort of revelation, shifting the viewer’s external perception to the plane of meditation.
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.