Lot 112
  • 112

Nikolai Fechin

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Nikolai Fechin
  • Seated Nude
  • signed in Latin l.l.
  • oil on canvas


The family of the artist
Collection of Harrison Eiteljorg, Indianapolis
Thence by descent to his son, Roger Eiteljorg
Medicine Man Gallery, Santa Fe


New York, Hammer Galleries, Fechin, 21 March - 8 April 1961, no.181


Exhibition catalogue Fechin, New York: Hammer Galleries, 1961, no.181 illustrated in b/w
H.McCracken, Nicolai Fechin, New York: Hammer Galleries, 1961, no.181 illustrated in b/w 


Catalogue Note

Nudes represent an important strand in the work of Nikolai Fechin, who is known to many primarily as a portrait painter. Though he appropriated many of the techniques of the Impressionist, Art Nouveau and Expressionist movements, his work was essentially defined by the academic tradition, which explains his focus on form, and the human body in particular. Even in moments when he leans towards abstraction or experimenting with the textural effects of his impasto, the essential frame of the human form is rarely distorted.

Fechin combined his creative work with teaching throughout his career and would work alongside his students during life study sessions. The majority of Fechin’s superb charcoal and oil nude studies were created in the classroom. He painted nudes studies throughout his career. Several masterpieces were painted in Russia, but he continued with the genre in the United States, especially while teaching in New York and California.

Fechin's approaches vary and in each work he addresses different elements, but at the fore of each of his nude paintings is the sensual and tangible beauty of a recognisable human body. To him, the form of a normal person was complete and perfect in itself, but he would experiment with composition, perspective and complex postures and angles. One might say that he created ‘portraits of the body’ and in most cases the sitter’s head was all but disregarded, roughly sketched in, cut off by the frame or merged into the chaos of the textured paint surface.

Seated Nude is a characteristic work from Fechin’s California period and similar compositional and stylistic features can be found in other studies of nudes from that time. A black and white photograph of the offered lot is held in the archives of the artist’s family; it was included in the large retrospective exhibition of Fechin’s work at the Hammer Galleries in 1961 and reproduced in Harold McCracken’s 1961 catalogue, which recorded the collection of the artist's descendants at the time.

We would like to thank Galina Tuluzakova for providing this catalogue note