26 November 2014 Russian Art Auctions

26 November 2014

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Still Life with Lilacs

* 83. GERASIMOV, ALEXANDER (1881-1963)

Still Life with Lilacs, signed, also further signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated "60e g." on the reverse.

Oil on canvas, 135.5 by 109.5 cm.
130,000-160,000 GBP

Provenance: Private collection, USA.

Literature: V. Swanson, Soviet Impressionist Painting, Woodbridge, Antique Collectors’ Club, 2008, p. 367, pl. 295, illustrated and listed.

Still Life with Lilacs was painted by Alexander Gerasimov, one of the most renowned artists in the USSR and a talented Realist who gained recognition with his large-scale portraits of the Soviet leaders Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin, as well as the famous marshal, Kliment Voroshilov. However, his landscapes and still lifes were also very highly regarded and are now considered part of Russia’s fine art heritage. Gerasimov’s works are now in the collections of Russia’s principal museums, the State Tretyakov Gallery, the State Russian Museum and the State Historical Museum.

Gerasimov studied at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where his teachers were Mikhail Klodt (Landscape), Leonid Pasternak (Still Life), Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin and Apollinary Vasnetsov (Painting). Of all of these, it was Korovin who had the biggest creative impact upon the budding artist. Further, it was also him who introduced Gerasimov to the work of the Impressionists and his influence can be traced throughout his pupil’s oeuvre.

Still Life with Lilacs is a case in point; its luscious palette and the artist’s rendering of glittering sunlight make the painting a prime example of Soviet Impressionism. The masterfully executed structure of the red cloth, as well as the meticulously elaborated voluminous lilac branches confirm Gerasimov’s exceptional talent. However, his mastery of painting reaches its peak in his conveying the texture of objects and the practically invisible sunlight flecks on the soft fabric and polished wood of the table, reflected onto the carafe and deflected through the water in the glass jug. Similar to Gerasimov’s early masterpiece After the Rain. Wet Terrace, the offered work, which was executed in his mature years, is almost entirely made up of sunlight. This bright, fresh and inexplicably tangible painting is utterly attractive and captivating.

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.