30 November 2016
Village Street, signed.
Oil on canvas, 65 by 82.5 cm.
Executed in the 1910s.
Provenance: Acquired by the present owner in Moscow in 1998.
Private collection, Switzerland.
Village Street, offered here for auction, is an excellent and extremely rare example of David Burliuk’s early work. There are very few Burliuks from the 1910s in Russian private collections, and the only museums that have works from this period are the State Tretyakov Gallery and the State Russian Museum.
At that time, the future “father of Russian Futurism” graduated from the Odessa College of Art and was taking part in various exhibitions organized by the Association of South Russian Artists. He also exhibited at both of Vladimir Izdebsky’s “Salons” in 1909–1911, where he first came across the work of contemporary French artists, which impressed him greatly. On 6 December 1909, Burliuk wrote to his friend Nikolai Kulbin in St Petersburg: “The exhibition is very interesting – so many lovely works by Frenchmen – gorgeous Van Dongen, Braque, Rousseau, Vlaminck, Manguin, and many others. [...] We are now in the country, will be working here till January – I’ve got a real urge to work (after seeing all these Frenchmen), Burliuk’s work “in the country” – his native village of Chernyanka in the Dnieper estuary (Taurida Governate, near the Crimea), or on the Zolotaya Balka estate of the Svyatopolk-Mirsky family, near Kherson, where the artist’s father was the estate manager – proved highly productive.
Until the mid-1910s, Burliuk spent almost every summer there in the company of friends and colleagues, making frequent visits from Moscow. He wrote in his autobiographical essay Fragments from the Memories of a Futurist: “The summer of 1910 proved to be much more radical. I painted neo-impressionist studies of the Dnieper. Mikhail Larionov and then Lentulov came to see us and worked with us for a while. Larionov painted Mating, Haystack, Rosehip, Window with a Bouquet and Rain – lovely things. Lentulov did studies of peasant women...”
Velimir Khlebnikov, Wassily Kandinsky and Isaak Brodsky also visited the Burliuks, and the discussions between them were instrumental in generating new artistic ideas. Brodsky particularly appreciated the landscapes of his hospitable friend. Burliuk would later write that this “wonderful young man was a springboard for my professional growth. He bought several of my impressionistic sketches (1910–1915), which took pride of place in his large collection in St Petersburg, then in Petrograd and Leningrad.” (N. Yevdayev, David Burliuk v Amerike. Materialy k biografii, Moscow, Nauka, 2002, p. 340).
Village Street, painted in broad ornamental brush strokes, ranks among the best of these impressionistic works and has discernible references to radical artistic quest of Burliuk’s friends, the “leftist” artists Lentulov and Larionov.
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.