Lot 115
  • 115

Boris Izrailevich Anisfeld

80,000 - 120,000 GBP
100,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Boris Izrailevich Anisfeld
  • Exodus from Egypt
  • signed in Latin and dated 1931 l.l.; further bearing exhibition labels on the reverse
  • oil on canvas laid on panel


Estate of the artist
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Boris Anisfeld Retrospective Exhibition, 1958, no.20
Storrs, The William Benton Museum of Art, Boris Anisfeld 1879-1973. The Early Works/Theater Sketches, 1979, no.24
Chicago, Gilman Galleries, Boris Anisfeld 1879-1973. Retrospective Exhibition, 1981-1982
Moscow, Museum of Contemporary Art, Boris Anisfeld, 2001
St Petersburg, The State Russian Museum; Moscow, Tsaritsyno Exhibition Centre, A Time to Gather, February - July 2008, no.137


Exhibition catalogue Boris Anisfeld Retrospective Exhibition, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1958, no.20 listed
Exhibition catalogue Boris Anisfeld, ABA Gallery, Palace Editions, 2001, p.48 illustrated
Exhibition catalogue A Time to Gather: Russian Art from Foreign Private Collections, St Petersburg: Palace Editions, 2007, p.197, no.137 illustrated
E.Lingenauber and O.Sugrobova-Roth, Boris Anisfeld Catalogue Raisonné, Düsseldorf: Edition Libertars, 2011, p.114, no.P098 illustrated

Catalogue Note

Although Anisfeld had a Jewish mother, his approach to religion was truly universal. In his art he synthesised narratives taken from different faiths, combining elements from Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Pantheism. The decorative possibilities of the Hebrew Scriptures, however, especially appealed to his colourful and mystical aesthetic. In 1924 Christian Brinton, the organiser of the artist’s first American retrospective, commented: ‘Anisfeld’s boyhood drawings were mainly after Biblical themes and scenes, and there persists to this day in his art much of the mystic fervour of a book which, though appropriated by the Western world, remains Oriental in its sonorous, colourful imagery' (Introduction to The Boris Anisfeld Exhibition, Reindhardt Gallery, New York, 1924).

In Exodus from Egypt Anisfeld turns to the founding myth of Israel, depicting the departure of the Israelites from Ancient Egypt following their delivery from servitude. The narration of the story is unorthodox, as the focus of the painting is on the pursuers, the Egyptian army, the Pharaoh in his chariot and the exotic animals, rather than on the Israelites, the protagonists of the story. The present lot is closely comparable to The Exodus (66 by 108cm), executed shortly before Anisfeld’s emigration to New York in 1917 and exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum the following year.