Lot 63
  • 63

Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky

200,000 - 300,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Nikolai Petrovich Bogdanov-Belsky
  • Two Girls on a Swing, 1940
  • signed N. Bogdanoff-Belsky (lower right)
  • oil on canvas mounted on board
  • 33 3/4 by 27 1/2 in.
  • 85.5 by 70 cm


Private Collection, Latvia (acquired directly from the artist in 1940)


This painting is in very good and fresh state. The paint layer is most likely slightly dirty, having never been cleaned, and is dry since it has no varnish. There is a small loss beneath the feet in the lower left and another in the fence in the upper left corner, yet no further losses are apparent. The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com , an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky, already famous for his paintings of peasant children, left Russia for Latvia in the fall of 1921. There he found a renewed sense of inspiration and continued his peasant children series, often depicting his subjects in traditional Latvian costume. He was frequently commissioned to paint portraits of friends and their family members, and he executed the present double portrait in 1940 at the request of Mr. Alexander Cauka of Gulbene, Latvia. The image depicts Mr. Cauka's daughter Erita and a family friend, both in Latvian dress. Such costuming varies subtly from region to region of the country, but typically features a pleated skirt of brilliant colors along with a white blouse and decoratively patterned  sash. Here the young girls wear crowns of cardboard covered in cloth and embroidered with beads and tinsel, and they also wear traditional jewelry, including silver brooches with red stones and tiny silver leaves, used as fasteners for the blouse or shawl.

Bogdanov-Belsky was a master of plein air technique, exemplified to superb effect in this composition. He intricately demonstrates his ability to capture minute qualities of light, creating a sense of atmosphere that emphasizes the vivacity and youthfulness of his subjects.