8 Jun 2016
By the Fence, signed with a monogram.
Oil on canvas, 89.5 by 74.5 cm.
Provenance:Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner in Moscow in 1975.
Important private collection, Italy.
On offer for auction is a collection of works by Nonconformist artists, amassed over many years by an Italian businessman ‒ a connoisseur of Russian art and culture. The assembled paintings were purchased directly from the artists themselves, with whom this collector enjoyed a long-standing friendship. The principal works from this selection are ten paintings by Boris Sveshnikov ‒ canvasses from the 1960s and 1970s, one-of-a-kind in their perfection.
Due to the nature of his business, the collector spent much time in the Soviet Union. His first visited the country in 1963 when, owing to his fascination with Russian culture, he travelled to Moscow to study philology at the Moscow State University. At the end of that decade, the gentleman returned to the city as a representative of a major international company, whose office was located in the renowned Hotel Ukraina. It was then when he became acquainted with Soviet Nonconformist art; the Italian Russophile was impressed by the artists’ freedom of thought and passion for experimentation.
The collector personally knew virtually all the “stars” of the unofficial Russian art, whose names had long become legendary ‒ Dmitry Krasnopevtsev, Oscar Rabin, Vladimir Nemukhin, Vasily Sitnikov, Eliy Belutin, Dmitry Plavinsky, Vyacheslav Kalinin, Evgeny Rukhin and many others. In 1970, the artist Otari Kandaurov introduced the collector to Boris Sveshnikov and his wife, a meeting he would remember for the rest of the life: “I was welcomed by a very pleasant, lean man with a gentle, sad smile, and a plump woman with an open face, someone who reminded me of female protagonists in Ostrovsky’s plays. When I took my leave, I felt that I had made new friends. I thank my lucky stars for giving me a great privilege to be friends with this wonderful man for twenty-eight years."
The artworks here presented are therefore not only outstanding in terms of artistry but boast impeccable provenance, insofar as they were acquired by the collector directly from the artists themselves.
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.