Lot 8
  • 8

Nicolai Fechin

200,000 - 300,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Nicolai Fechin
  • Temple Dancer, 1938
  • signed N. Fechin (lower right); labeled for exhibition (on the backing)

  • oil on canvas
  • 18 by 15 in., 46 by 38 cm


Vera S. Miller (acquired directly from the artist)
Gifted directly from the above to the present owner in 1989


Santa Fe, Fenn Galleries Ltd.
Oklahoma City, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum (permanent collection), 1989-2011


G.P. Tuluzakova, Nikolai Fechin, St. Petersburg, 2007, no. 215, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Fechin's highly sought-after images of Balinese peasants may be traced to his 1938 trip to the Far East with friend Milan Rupert. Initially planning to visit China as well, the duo embarked on a cross-Pacific voyage on a Japanese freighter, only to learn en route that Chinese visas were no longer being issued due to recent unrest within the country. They elected to proceed directly to the Indonesian paradise of Bali, where at once Fechin's attention was arrested by the island natives. He set up a studio within a local community in Denpasar, and with Rupert's assistance he recruited numerous individuals to model for the many charcoal sketches and oil paintings he executed during the four months he resided there. The resulting images, including Temple Dancer (the present lot) and Balinese Peasant Girl (lot 10), are stylistically consistent with his portraits of native Indians from the American southwest, even as the faces and textiles change in shape and color. The stunning vibrancy of the pigments found in these paintings emphasizes the renewal of artistic inspiration that Fechin found in Bali, where the tropical environs and Hindu customs must have provided a profound contrast to the Taos Pueblo and Russian steppe.