12 October 2015
Country Yard in Winter, signed and dated 1939, also further signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 57 by 91 cm.
Provenance: Acquired directly from Natalia Terpsikhorova, the artist’s daughter, by the present owner in Moscow, 1990s.
Important private collection, USA.
Exhibited: Nikolai Terpsikhorov, Master Artist of Mother Russia, Springville Museum of Art, Springville, USA, 13 September–16 October 2008.
Literature: Exhibition catalogue, Nikolai Terpsikhorov, Master Artist of Mother Russia, Springville, Springville Museum of Art, 2008, p. 65, pl. XLII, illustrated; p. 99, listed.
The appearance on the market of such a representative collection of works by Nikolai Terpsikhorov, including the most important paintings of his oeuvre, offers a unique opportunity for collectors to acquire outstanding pieces by of one of the foremost painters of the first half–mid-20th century Russian art.
Nikolai Terpsikhorov (1890–1960) was among the founders of Socialist Realism and one of the leading Soviet masters of the 1920s–1950s. He was a staunch believer in the artistic aesthetics and ideology of the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR), which existed from 1922 until 1932 and prepared the way for the Union of Artists of the USSR. After serving in the Red Army during the Civil War, Terpsikhorov won renown in the 1920s with his genre paintings, full of revolutionary ardour, romance and the sincere optimism of someone who was actively engaged in construction of the new Socialist reality.
The collection offered for auction includes genre paintings, landscapes and portraits by Terpsikhorov from the 1930s–1950s — the period of his highest achievements as a painter. The works from Terpsikhorov’s Central Asian oeuvre represent a new phase in his blossoming as a colourist, triggered by his experiences in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Terpsikhorov visited Central Asia twice: in 1929 he travelled to Uzbekistan, and in 1935, to Turkmenistan. The creative surge which Terpsikhorov experienced there, is palpable in the works of his Turkmen cycle, where alongside his dutiful commitment to showing a new way of life in the Central Asian Soviet republics he exhibits a clear predilection for rendering his personal vivid, bright impressions of the local people and their livelihood.
A special place in Terpsikhorov’s Turkmen cycle is occupied by moving pictures of children, such as Turkmen Girl with Watermelon with its charming immediacy. The sonorous colouring of the young dreamer has grandeur and poetry. Far from posing for the artist, the girl seems unaware of his presence. The painter has captured and conveyed a moment when, absorbed in herself, the girl stands revealed in all her natural grace.
Terpsikhorov returned periodically in the 1930s–1950s to the theme-picture genre that had brought him success in the 1920s. MacDougall’s is proud to present Letter from the Front, painted in 1947, which is undoubtedly one of the painter’s finest works.
The countryside of Central Russia, captured by Terpsikhorov in paintings of landscapes along the Oka and Kama rivers, mostly from the 1940s and 1950s, is an important theme in this collection. The artist was especially fond of the town of Tarusa and its environs on the Oka river. Visiting for the first time in 1936, he virtually settled there in the 1950s, staying from the early spring to late autumn in the village of Ladyzhino, near Tarusa. His favourite local places are immortalised in landscapes such as Fishing Village, By the Oka River, Road in the Field and Autumn Morning. These canvasses of the Oka with their broad vistas stretching beyond the river, the green murmur of the forests, the secret corners of the countryside and the vast, tranquil expanse of fields, all have an unmistakable artistic power.
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.