26 November 2014
Girl with a Wreath, signed with a monogram.
Earthenware with lustred coloured glazes, height 34.5 cm.
Executed c. 1897–1900.
Provenance: Collection of the prominent art historian Alexei Zotov, Moscow.
Thence by descent.
Acquired directly from the family of the above by the present owner.
Private collection, Europe.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the experts K. Shmakova and O. Strugova.
Girl with a Wreath is one of the best-known sculptural images by Mikhail Vrubel. Unlike most of Vrubel’s majolica, executed for the greater part in Moscow during the 1920s using the artist’s themes from his most famous works, the piece presented for auction is an early Abramtsevo piece, created by the artist in 1897–1900.
Variants of this model which also have glazes developed at Abramtsevo, have been frequently exhibited under different, unusual names, including Egyptian Girl with Flowers, reflecting the aura of mystery and romance that is attached to the work. A fantastical play of lilac and pistachio colours, the barely perceptible golden touches with infusions of cobalt give the sculpture a special turn-of-the-century, Symbolist flavour. A certain likeness between the Girl with a Wreath and Vrubel’s wife and muse, the opera singer Nadezhda Zabela, invites comparison between this sculpture and the famous painting, Portrait of the Artist’s Wife in a Summer Dress in Empire Style, painted in 1898.
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.