Lot 7
  • 7

Tair Salakhov

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  • Tair Salakhov
  • Spain. Granada
  • signed; signed and titled on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 70 by 90cm.; 27 1/2 by 35 3/8 in.
  • Executed circa late 1970s.


Gekosso Gallery, Tokyo
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner 


Tokyo, Gekosso Gallery, Tair Salakhov, 1980

Catalogue Note

Born in Baku in 1928, Tair Teymur-Ogly Salakhov went on to become one of Azerbaijan’s most celebrated artists.  Despite growing up during a politically troubled era his work manages to rise above the agendas of various politicians, with each work maintaining a thread common to the artist’s personality.  He was just nine years old when in 1937 his father was executed as part of Stalin’s purges and he, along with his family, was unaware of what had happened until eighteen years later.  In time Salakhov became a prominent member of the Moscow art scene, particularly so during the 1970s when he settled permanently in the city and was appointed First Secretary of the Soviet Union of Arts.  In 2009 he had his first solo retrospective exhibition at the Ekaterina Cultural Foundation. He now divides his time between Baku and Moscow.

Throughout his life and career Salakhov has maintained strong ties with the artistic movements and artists of both Western Europe and the United States. He also remains a member of numerous artistic academies and cultural organisations across Europe today.  His relationships with artists such as Francis Bacon, Robert Rauschenberg and Günther Uecker helped introduce their work to Russia. A keen traveller, Salakhov spent a great deal of time studying and working in France, the USA, Germany, Italy and, as in the case of the present work, Spain.

The present work was most likely created at the same time as a similar view of the rooftops of Granada found in the Russian Museum in St Petersburg, itself executed in 1978.  This is the same year as Salakhov’s first one-man show in Moscow, which was extremely well received by both the public and critics alike.  This success was followed by an international tour of one-man shows in Tokyo, Madrid and Barcelona in 1979 and Prague in 1980. The present work was created for the artist’s show in Tokyo.

Particularly striking about the offered work is the extremely restricted, almost monochrome, colour palette.  The entire composition is constructed from dark red and a white grey scale.  The Andalusian sky is more or less the same colour as the buildings of the ancient city.  This, combined with the severe, geometric arrangement of the buildings, creates an almost sombre, yet very harmonious, atmosphere.  As is common in Salakhov’s cityscapes and landscapes figures are entirely absent from this composition, yet the work is not lifeless.  One gets the impression that there are characters waiting behind doors or in the wings, much like on a theatre set. More than a simple illustration of the Spanish city of Granada this work reflects the particular state of mind of the artist at the point of creation. It is full of possibilities as the city expands beyond the borders of the canvas on all sides, unable to be contained.