Lot 44
  • 44

Natalia Igorevna Nesterova, b.1944

20,000 - 30,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Natalia Nesterova
  • Subway Station
  • each canvas signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated 1987 on reverse
  • oil on canvas (in two parts)
  • each canvas 120 by 130cm., 47¼ by 51¼in.


Hapsburg, Feldman, Inc., New York, Soviet Contemporary Art: The Property of the Kniga Collection, Paris, 5 May 1990, Lot 73

Catalogue Note

In 1969 after graduating from the Moscow State Art Institute Natalia Nesterova became a member of the Artists' Union of the USSR. Opposing heroic Socialist Realism with an individualistic insistence on portraying scenes from daily life, Nesterova's paintings undermined the system from within when its position was already disintegrating. While Nesterova continued to work within the conservative language of figurative painting she excelled at using representational imagery for her own purposes. Nesterova's bold and expressionistic, heavily impastoed style stood and still stands in stark contrast to polished Academic Realism.

Nesterova's work is characterised by its dramatic qualities. Her interiors, public gardens and street scenes often resemble painted stage scenery. In the large diptych Metro Station from 1988 the architecture may be modelled after Revolution Square, an actual stop on the Moscow underground system, but, in the painting, Nesterova has turned it into a fairytale setting. The setting is populated with numerous figures but, as in most of Nesterova's work, they are universalised types without significant ties to one another. If their faces are not turned away or altogether obscured, Nesterova's men and women present generic expressions.

Her painting seems to take place in a fictive world but, at the same time, speaks volumes about Soviet life. Beyond her characteristic recurring themes, Nesterova's work is recognisable through its singular style in which the subjects attain a rigorous formalism, linking them to the great tradition of Western painting from Giotto to de Chirico.