Lot 78
  • 78

Alexandra Exter

18,000 - 25,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Alexandra Exter
  • 'Quatrains d'Omar Khayyam' calligraphic manuscript on paper by Manuel Pelaez, hand-illuminated borders and miniatures by Alexandra Exter, Paris, 1936
  • the seventeen illustrations variously signed in Latin
  • illustrations, hand-illuminated borders and miniatures in ink and gouache heightened with gold and silver over pencil on paper
  • 33 by 25cm, 13 by 9 3/4 in.


Acquired directly from the artist by Ihnno Ezratty
Thence by descent

Catalogue Note

Exter started to illustrate manuscripts in the early 1930s, with the majority of her illustrations dating to between 1939 and 1942, during the difficult war years when Exter was also suffering from illness and poverty. Friends of Exter have noted her love of literature and medieval poetry, as her former student Esther Shimerova recalled ‘Exter spoke with us for hours about literature… We were forever having to read Italian, Spanish and French medieval poetry so as to understand and experience their national epics.’ (G.Kovalenko, Alexandra Exter, Moscow, 1993, p.234)

The present work illustrates a selection of the Quatrains of Persian astronomer, mathematician and poet Omar Khayyam. Exter’s ornamental design and rich palette speak to her fascination with the literature as she frames the handwritten manuscript with Oriental scenes and motifs.