4 June 2014
Female Portrait, signed.
Oil on canvas, 133 by 100 cm (oval).
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert I. Geraschenko.
The work will be included in the monograph on the artist being prepared by A. Kouznetsoff.
The renowned Russian painter Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky is represented here by his magnificent Female Portrait. Continuing in the democratic tradition of his teacher, the Itinerant painter Vladimir Makovsky, Bogdanov-Belsky enriched the genre painting of his homeland with the new textures discovered by the Impressionists, introducing genuine freshness and visual immediacy into his painting.
At the end of the 1910s and beginning of the 1920s the artist freed his palette of the dark, umbrous quality that typified the old academic school. His canvasses are saturated with pure colour, his brushwork becomes freer and broader, and his many nuances of colour enriched by bright natural light enable him to create a distinctive, uplifting mood.
At this time the artist painted a large number of masterful portraits distinguished by their accurate portrayal of life and penetrating psychological insight. As a rule his models are from high society: the Russian and European intelligentsia, highly-placed gentry, prominent public servants and people from the world of art.
This portrait of a young woman comes from a transitional phase when the artist was moving from an academic tradition to his first experiments with impressionism. The commissioned, salon nature of the work does not detract from its magnificent artistic virtues, with which Bogdanov-Belsky sets the very highest standard in terms of painterly skill, fine draughtsmanship, immaculate composition and a stunningly subtle sense of colour. The work contains obvious echoes of the Mir iskusstva painters, of the manner of portraying a model by which Somov or Kustodiev could convey a poetic luxuriousness or air of courtly elegance.
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.