2 December 2015 Russian Art Auctions

2 Dec 2015

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


Shrovetide Fair Booths

* 32. KUSTODIEV, BORIS (1878-1927)

Shrovetide Fair Booths

Oil on canvas, 72.5 by 25 cm.
280,000-350,000 GBP


Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the experts A. Kiseleva and I. Geraschenko.
Authenticity has also been confirmed by the experts L. Gladkova and M. Valyaeva.

Shrovetide Fair Booths, an excellent work by Boris Kustodiev, was painted in the style typical of a whole series of the artist’s renowned works: Shrovetide, Fair Booths and Pentecost, to name a few. It belongs to the best period in Kustodiev’s artistic career, one that brought him fame and critical acclaim both in Russia and overseas.

The work offered at auction is a preparatory sketch for the famous portrait of Feodor Chaliapin of 1921. Kustodiev frequently modified details of his genre paintings, repeating his favourite motifs in other works. The details of the festivities taking place on the left hand-side of the Chaliapin portrait, behind the large-scale figure of the legendary opera singer, are very similar to those in the present work, which can be dated 1920–1921.

Kustodiev’s works were famous and revered by the lovers of Russian fin de siècle art. Effervescent, with bright, iridescent colours, they evoke the fascinating milieu of Russian folk fêtes, with their rowdy fun, carnivalesque hustle and bustle, fair booths, invigorating cold air and alluring smells of hot street food, piled up high on the trays. Kustodiev recreates the boisterous ambience of the folk spectacle from the memories of the serene years of his youth. Looking at this work, it is easy to forget about the turbulent revolutionary events and dramatic societal changes taking place at the time it was painted. Rather, one is carried away thinking of the intricately familiar corners of Russia’s provincial towns, enthusiastic festive crowds and an all-consuming joyous feeling.


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.