Lot 38
  • 38

Angeline Beloff (1879-1969)

50,000 - 70,000 USD
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  • Angeline Beloff
  • Nature morte à la bombonne
  • oil on canvas
  • 24 7/8 by 20 2/3 in.
  • 63 by 52.5 cm
  • Painted in 1914.


Collection of Angeline Bellof and Diego Rivera
Acquired from the artist
Private Collection, Paris
Acquired from the above
Private Collection, Paris


Paris, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Societé des Artistes Indepéndants, Trente ans d'Art Indépendant Rétrospective, 1894-1914, February 20-March 21, 1926, no. 175


This painting was probably rolled at some point. As a result, the unlined canvas shows fairly strong horizontal cracking throughout the composition. The paint layer is stable. Under ultraviolet light, one can see retouches across the top edge and around the other extreme edges to a lesser extent. There is a restored loss in the upper left background, a spot or two of retouching in the lower center, and some further retouches to the right and beneath the yellow box in the lower left. The varnish is quite glossy and could be addressed, but the retouches are acceptable, and the work could be hung as is. It is not recommended that the cracking be corrected at this time. (This condition report has been provided courtesy of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc.)
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.

Catalogue Note

Despite being an accomplished painter and engraver in her own right, Angeline Beloff (1879-1869) is best known as the first wife of famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Before she met Rivera however, Beloff pursued her artistic career in Europe studying at the Academy of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg and living in Paris thanks to a modest pension she received from her Russian father who had worked as a magistrate in the Senate. In Paris Angeline studied at the Academy of Henri Matisse and with the Catalan painter, Anglada Camarasa who had gained renowned prestige. As a young artist she was therefore equally nurtured by Symbolism and Fauvism through direct contact with the avant garde.

Angeline met Rivera through a mutual friend, the Spanish painter Marie Gutierrez Blanchard. Rivera and Beloff fell in love in the city of Bruges. After Diego’s brief return to Mexico in 1910, they met again in 1911 and were married until 1921. During that time, Diego’s only son Miguel Angel was born and died in early childhood in 1917. 

Along with Rivera, Beloff came into contact with the Cubist avant garde traveling with Diego to Cataluña in 1911 when he painted his first pointillist works. She was with him when he pursued the influence of El Greco in the city of Toledo; during those years they were both close friends of the Mexican artist Angel Zárraga. When Rivera embraced Cubism in late 1912, Angeline Beloff was also at his side and shared a studio in Montparnasse, at #6 rue Desaix in Paris. In her memoirs she recalls that “they lived happily, working and walking around.” (1) It is not surprising that her life with Rivera, and also her friendship with Pablo Picasso, André Lhote, Jean Metzinger, and Jacques Lipchitz would lead Beloff to temporarily explore Cubism; although this facet of her work has gone mostly unnoticed by art scholars.  

As can be seen, the Cubist style undertaken by Angelina shows no influence from Diego; it is her own interpretation of what she saw and observed in the avant garde; in contrast with Rivera, her approach to this trend does not seem to have had a theoretical knowledge. However, it is possible to see how she allows herself to be freely influenced by the Cubist Orphism of Robert and Sonia Delaunay, whose colors appear since 1912 in some landscapes painted by Beloff in Mallorca.

1 Angelina Beloff. Memories. Introduction by Bertha Taracena  and epilogue by Raquel Tibol. Mexico, Coordination of cultural diffusion, UNAM, 1986.