4 June 2014 Russian Art Auctions

4 June 2014

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Still Life with Cakes and Fruit.

* 96. LENTULOV, ARISTARKH (1882-1943)

Still Life with Cakes and Fruit.

Oil on canvas, 78 by 110.5 cm.
300,000-400,000 GBP

Executed in the late 1930s.

Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the experts A. Lyubimova, L. Shakirova and O. Golubeva.
Authenticity certificate from the expert Yu. Rybakova.

Aristarkh Lentulov’s Still Life with Cakes and Fruit from the 1930s is from a late period in the artist’s work characterized by an obvious change in his manner of painting, known to be prompted by his desire to join the officially supported realist movement. Left far behind are the artist’s radical experiments with colour and texture that had brought him fame in the second decade of the century, years that saw the blossoming of the legendary artistic group the Jack of Diamonds. A particular warmth and refinement marks out the work of his mature period. Lentulov achieves this by a certain restraint in his use of painterly resources and a palette of muted hues that provide less contrast. Nonetheless, he keeps his sweeping, almost elemental manner of painting, which remains unchanged.

Still Life with Cakes and Fruit is evidence of a change that began in the 1930s affecting the artist’s very view of nature, which now becomes worthy of standing on its own, no longer subject to distortions. In striving to be figurative, Lentulov rehabilitates classic values in art such as light and shade, space and depth, and the medium of atmospheric light. The tints that become dominant are violet, various greens, red-brown and orange, and compositional structure is marked by the crowding together of objects laid out in a buffet and displaying a deliberate abundance of plain fare. Given the painting’s inspiring poetry, placidity and restrained colours, the texture of the painted surface implacably demonstrates the striking mastery of Lentulov’s brush when he creates his dynamic impasto. Even after he had made the transition to the everyday, nuts-and-bolts world of still-life painting, Lentulov’s work of the 1930s is still distinguished by a rich and sonorous quality of image which has such affinity with the Jack of Diamonds aesthetic. This is exemplified brilliantly by the still life offered in this catalogue.

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.