Lot 8
  • 8

Vasily Dmitrievich Ermilov

30,000 - 50,000 GBP
986,500 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Vasily Dmitrievich Ermilov
  • Self-Portrait
  • bearing Galerie Bargera and Guggenheim labels on the backing board
  • oil and metal on wood relief


Sotheby's London, Twentieth Century Russian Paintings, Drawings and Watercolours 1900-1930, 29 March 1973, lot 60
Galerie Bargera, Cologne
Acquired from the above by the father of the present owners


Cologne, Galerie Bargera, Russische Avantgarde 1910-1930, 1978, no.13
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Planar Dimension: Europe, 1912-1932, 9 March - 6 May 1979, no.88


Z.Fogel, Vasily Ermilov, Moscow: Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1975, p.84 illustrated b/w
Exhibition catalogue Russische Avantgarde 1910-1930, Cologne: Galerie Bargera, 1978, p.123, no.13 listed
Exhibition catalogue The Planar Dimension: Europe, 1912-1932, New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1979, p.124, no.88 illustrated b/w
W.Zimmer, 'When the Plane Reigned', review of 'The Planar Dimension: Europe 1912-1932', The Soho Weekly News, 12 April 1979, illustrated
M.Mudrak, The New Generation and Artistic Modernism in the Ukraine, Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1986, p.44, figure 2-1 illustrated b/w
Exhibition catalogue Vasily Ermilov, Moscow, 2011, p.46 illustrated b/w as 'location unknown'

Catalogue Note

The 1979 Guggenheim exhibition, Planar Dimensions, brought together works by almost forty international artists, to explore the influences of Picasso’s constructions on the unconventional uses of colour and materials in certain types of sculpture made before 1932. ‘The question of materials is best explored in the work of the Russian artists’ wrote William Zimmer in his review. ‘Although the work of the Cubists in France gave the Russian pioneers reassurance, something homegrown, the religious icon, was an immense source of inspiration and license to experiment’ (When the Plane Reigned, 1979).

The present relief is not without analogies to Arkhipenko’s constructions, though as Rowell points out in the Guggenheim catalogue, it is unlikely Ermilov would have seen the latter’s work except in reproduction. ‘The iconic reference is clear, and true to the tenets of Constructivism, the technical structural potential of the materials is respected’.

Based in Kharkov throughout his career, Vasily Ermilov is one of the foremost proponents of the Ukrainian avant-garde and is known to have collaborated with David Burliuk, Alexander Bogomazov and Maria Siniakova. The present self portrait is an exceptional rare example of an early exhibited and published work by this artist.