Lot 19
  • 19

Boris Izrailevich Anisfeld

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Boris Izrailevich Anisfeld
  • Portrait of Feodor Chaliapin
  • signed in Cyrillic and dated 1916 l.r.; further numbered 60 and bearing the remnants of exhibition labels on the stretcher
  • oil on canvas
  • 94 by 81cm, 37 by 32in.


Acquired by the grandfather of the present owners


Petrograd, Mir isskustva, 1917
Brooklyn, The Brooklyn Museum et al., The Boris Anisfeld Exhibition, 1918-1920, no.60


Exhibition catalogue Mir isskustva, Petrograd, 1917, ed.2, no.15a
Exhibition catalogue The Boris Anisfeld Exhibition, New York, 1918, no.60 listed, pl.3 illustrated b/w
F.Chaliapin, Literaturnoe nasledstvo. Pis'ma, vol.I, Moscow, 1976, p.489 mentioned in the text
E.Lingenauber and O.Sugrobova-Roth, Boris Anisfeld Catalogue Raisonné, Düsseldorf: Edition Libertars, 2011, p.154, no.P375 illustrated b/w

Catalogue Note

Feodor Chaliapin was impressive in every sense of the word. At well over six feet tall he was an imposing presence on stage and had what the American opera singer Mary Ellis described as a voice like a church bell that literally shook her with its vibrations. Although not known for his modesty, Chaliapin claimed not to like having his portrait painted. This did not stop him however from sitting for almost every Russian artist of his age. In a letter to his daughter from Petrograd dated 14 April 1916, Chaliapin complains bitterly of how every spare moment is taken up posing for portraits, not only for Anisfeld, but simultaneously for Kharitonov, Bogdanov-Belsky and Bobrovsky.

'Chaliapin's contemporaries all stressed the brilliance, the intense life he gave to his roles, and each pose or gesture cried out to be put on canvas. He was painted in costume and every conceivable attire; he was to remain their most fascinating subject, and not only because of his celebrity.' (M.Gorky, Chaliapin, 1968, p.9).