Private Collection, Belgrade Colonel and Mrs. Stanley M. Smolensky, Alexandria, Virginia, circa 1955 Thence by descent Private Collection, USA
Horses in the Snow and Rest Stop (lot 280) are two exquisite examples of works by Stepan Kolesnikov. Both lots showcase the artist's adept talent at depicting light and shadow, along with his trademark use of crisp lines and brilliant colour. Both paintings come from the collection of the late U.S. Army colonel Stanley Smolensky and his wife Clare. Colonel Smolensky (1918-1971) was the senior Ordinance Officer for The American Military Assistance Staff when he acquired these works in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1955, during the height of the Cold War. When Tito came to power in Yugoslavia, millions of dollars in ordinance was given by the U.S. to that country for military assistance; and Colonel Smolensky, then a Major, commanded the U.S. military presence there.
Following his distinguished career as a top-ranking military official, Colonel Smolensky, a Harvard and M.I.T.-trained engineer, was appointed the Deputy Director for Logistics for Manned Space Flight at NASA, including the Apollo Space Program (Apollo Eleven). Later he became a director of Bell Aerospace in New Orleans.
The card appears sound. There is a minor scratch and associated paint loss running vertically down the left side approximately 6cm long; there is another small area of paint loss in the top right corner. There is an area of media staining in the lower left corner and some scuff marks in places to the surface in the lower half. There are flecks of surface dirt in place. Held in a simple wooden frame behind glass. Unexamined out of frame. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."