12 October 2015
Bread at the Cemetery, signed with a monogram and dated 1964, also further titled in Cyrillic, numbered "N 213" and dated on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 80.5 by 99.5 cm.
Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist by the father of the present owner.
Important private collection, France.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the artist.
Literature: Oskar Rabin , St Petersburg, Palace Editions, 2007, p. 65, illustrated.
The work will be included in the forthcoming Oscar Rabin catalogue raisonné being prepared by A&C Projects, Michèle and Marc Ivasilevitch.
The Soviet nonconformist art works, which are offered at auction, come from an important collection of contemporary Russian art brought together by a French diplomat of Russian extraction. He worked at the French trade mission in Moscow from 1959–1962 and again in the 1970s. His collection included some of the most significant works of the 1960s and 1970s by masters of the Russian art of the second half of the 20th century: Oscar Rabin, Vladimir Nemukhin, Lydia Masterkova, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, Boris Sveshnikov, Oleg Tselkov, Erik Bulatov, Vladimir Weisberg and Alexander Kharitonov.
As the son of member of the Russian gentry who had emigrated to France, the collector spoke Russian fluently and was a prominent member of the Russian community in Paris. He was a respected authority on Russian 20th century art, including émigré art in Europe. He was also a passionate bibliophile, and gathered a vast collection of books.
During his time in Moscow, he made friends with many outstanding nonconformist artists and collectors, including George Costakis. Contacts between the collector and the foremost avant-garde proponents of the time were further reinforced by a deep emotional and spiritual attachment between the Moscow artists and the collector’s wife, who was herself an artist, as related in her published memoirs.
Being deeply involved in the multifaceted and intense cultural life of 1960s and 1970s Moscow the collector helped artists, who were not recognised by the régime, providing them with canvasses and paints. He often received works as gifts from the grateful recipients, who would sometimes invite him to take his pick of their output, enabling him to build a collection of important works. When making purchases the French diplomat similarly took care to select works that would contribute to the unique nature of his collection.
All of the works presented here for the auction have impeccable provenance and are offered on the market for the first time.
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.