Lot 107
  • 107

Valery Bashenin, b.1943

8,000 - 12,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Valery Bashenin
  • Untitled
  • signed in Cyrillic l.l., dated 1986 and inscrbed kumanek; further signed in Cyrillic on reverse and dated 1984 / 1986
  • oil on canvas
  • 65.5 by 55cm., 25¾ by 21½in.

Catalogue Note

Valery Bashenin was educated at the Department for Monumental Art of the Stroganov Art Institute, Moscow and since graduating in 1973 worked on large mosaics, frescoes and stained glasses for public spaces throughout Russia. At same time the artist developed an interest in objects of different scale and his new paintings were strongly influenced by antique book miniatures, Russian woodcuts (lubki), icons and folkloric art.


Bashenin's main interest is Russia's visual, written and oral heritage and his paintings are often inhabited by grotesque fairy-tale creatures possessing animal, human and plant qualities. Although the artist's brief passion for cubism can be recognised, Bashenin's dense images appear to be constructed not from geometrical figures but rather resemble a patchwork quilt. The neutral light background in contrast to green-brown characters clearly is adopted from the icon tradition. From lubki Bashenin has borrowed the use of written text in his pictures.


In the offered lot Bashenin turns to the theme of kumanek (diminutive from kum, godfather) and kuma (godmother), types who are often characterised as futile, greedy and sly in Russian folklore. The quote in the centre of the painting is most likely from a well-known Russian fairy-tale about a Fox who out-wits a Wolf, and who greet each other with the words ''Hello Kuma!'' and ''Hello Kumanek!''