Lot 17
  • 17

Mikhail Fedorovich Larionov

700,000 - 900,000 USD
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  • Mikhail Fedorovich Larionov
  • Still Life in a Tavern in a Minor Key, circa 1909
  • signed Larionow and numbered N25 and labeled for exhibition (on the reverse); labeled for exhibition (on the stretcher)

  • oil on canvas
  • 27 1/2 by 24 in., 70 by 61 cm


Mme. A. Larionov, Paris
Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York


Moscow, Golden Fleece, January-February 1910, no. 61
Odessa, Salon 2, International Art Exhibition, December 1910, no. 258 or 259
Moscow, M. F. Larionov, December 21, 1911, no. 78
Paris, Galerie Paul Guillaume, Exposition Natalie de Gontcharowa et Michel Larionow, June 1914, no. 25
Berlin, Künstausstellung, Der Sturm, Larionov und Gontcharova, 1914, no. 25
New York, Acquavella Galleries, Michel Larionov, April-May 1969, no. 28
Nièvre, Maison de la Culture de Nevers et la Nièvre, Rétrospective Larionov, June-July 1972, no. 31
Albi, Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Michel Larionov et son temps, June-September 1973, no. 14


E. Eganbury, List of Works of Mikhail Fedorovich Larionov 1898-1913, Moscow, 1913, p. xix
F. Daulte, Acquavella Galleries, Michel Larionov, New York, 1969, no. 28, illustrated
Maison de la Culture de Nevers et la Nièvre, Rétrospective Larionov, 1972, no. 31, illustrated
Musée Toulouse-Lautrec, Michel Larionov et son temps, Albi, 1973, no. 14
D.E. Gordon, Modern Art Exhibitions, 1900-1916, vol. II, Münich, 1974, p. 371, 442, 528 and 850


This canvas is unlined, and seems most likely to be on its original stretcher or at least a stretcher from this period. There are a few cracks and slight surface disturbances visible in the green in the upper left and right, and a few cracks in the white in the lower left. There are tiny retouches around the edges in the lower right corner and a couple in the center of the right side. The condition is very fresh. Some relaxation of the canvas should be attempted in order to properly consolidate the paint layer and relax the cracking. 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

Still Life in a Tavern in a Minor Key, executed around 1909, represents one of Mikhail Larionov's earliest contributions to the Russian avant-garde. Working in revolutionary Neo-primitivist style, he sought to counterbalance the influences of Western European modernism by seeking inspiration in traditionally Russian motifs, for example folk art and icon painting. In the present lot Larionov emphasizes the "Eastern" origins of his imagery by featuring a spread with traditional samovar and cup. These objects are thickly outlined in black, evoking the style of traditional Russian woodblock prints, or lubki, which are similarly referenced in Natalia Goncharova's Street in Moscow (lot 4). Neo-primitivist painters like Larionov and Goncharova also drew inspiration from the simplified, graceful forms found in Orthodox icon imagery, and Larionov in particular carefully studied the work of icon painters such as Andrei Rublev to explore the spiritual and formal possibilities of abstracted figures. He discusses the influence of icons on his work in his own essay "Les Icones," writing that "it is through the nuances of color and the finesse of graphic forms that the religious and mystical state we experience when contemplating icons manifests itself...The beauty and finesse of the drawing of these stylized forms and the fascinating abstract harmony of their coloration aspire to render the world of the beyond...It is a spiritual realism...you really believe that they concern another life" (circa 1920, pp. 132-133).