Nikolai Alexandrovich Tarkhov
- Nikolai Alexandrovich Tarkhov
- Les Bretonnes
- signed in Latin l.r.
- oil on canvas
The collection of Marcel Lenoir, a friend of the artist
R.Vrinat, Nicolas Tarkhoff 1871-1930, Les Cahiers d'Art - Documents, no.221, Geneva: Editions Pierre Cailler, 1965, p.3, illustrated in colour and dated 1902
Brittany's rich heritage and traditional ways of life inspired many of Paris' best-known artists, from Corot to Monet, Gauguin and Matisse. The advance of Impressionism in particular resulted in a surge of interest among artists eager to paint en plein air within reach of the French capital. This important early work by the 'Moscow Parisian' as Tarkhoff came to be known, is a superb pastoral scene in this tradition. The subject and palette call to mind Gauguin's Breton Shepherdess (fig 1, 1886), while the alternation of lines and strokes recall the rhythmic brushwork of Paul Signac who pioneered his pointillist techniques in the Breton port of St Briac. As the critic Vasily Rakitin noted, 'Tarkhoff hovers on the verge of Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and Fauvism, retaining his own lyrical intonation and individuality in the variable game of different movements'.
In the early 1900s, Tarkhoff was represented in Paris by Ambroise Vollard, the art dealer famously instrumental in the careers of Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cézanne. Tarkhoff's 1906 solo exhibition in Galerie Vollard brought him to prominence on the international stage. In the 1907 Salon d'automne exhibition, the exuberance of his work led one reviewer to regard him as 'part of the younger Bohemian crowd who outrage even the Byzantines and our North American Indians with their brilliant colour' (quoted in E.Green, Nicolas Tarkhoff, Berry-Hill Galleries, 1989, p.7). The narrow dimensions of the present work are characteristic of Tarkhoff's early canvases (for example Les chrysanthèmes, (1902), Boulevard animé à Paris (1903).