30 November 2016
Autumn Twilight, signed with initials, also further signed twice, inscribed in Russian and French with the artist's address in Moscow and Paris, titled in Russian and dated "Oktiabr 1900" on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, laid on cardboard, 37.5 by 53 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, USA.
Russian Art Evening, Sotheby’s London, 9 June 2008, lot 37.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Private collection, UK.
Dating from 1900, when Mikhail Larionov was only 19 years old, Autumn Twilight is one of his earliest surviving oil paintings to remain in private hands. It was painted only two years after Larionov had enrolled at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture, where he first studied under Isaak Levitan. It also predates what is generally accepted as his Impressionist period. However, it already shows the influence of leading French Impressionists, such as Auguste Renoir. In particular, it brings to mind paintings by Claude Monet, examples of which the artist had seen in the celebrated collection of Sergei Shchukin. It was the work of these artists that would influence Larionov for several years to follow.
Autumn Twilight is typical for the artist’s oeuvre from this period when he painted the world around him and, like the Impressionists, was particularly drawn to scenes from everyday life. In the present work, Larionov depicts a fashionable woman walking her dog in one of Moscow’s parks, a motif which also reappears in a picture titled The Park, painted a couple of years later. Another characteristic of Larionov’s early pictures is his subtle use of colours. Here, the red of the woman’s dress contrasts with and complements the muted greens of the surroundings. This use of colours would be a feature of Larionov’s work throughout his life, and in this sense his early paintings already foreshadow the crucial role he would play in the development of the Russian avant-garde. As the art historian Nikolai Punin noted, “In these early pieces of his, one can already observe the great artistic and revolutionary will that would subsequently make Larionov the leader of a new art movement.”
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.