Lot 52
  • 52

Konstantin Alexeevich Korovin

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
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  • Konstantin Alexeevich Korovin
  • After the Ball
  • signed in Cyrillic and dated 1917 l.r.
  • oil on canvas
  • 99 by 63cm, 39 by 24 3/4 in.


Acquired by the great-uncle of the present owner before 1935


Structural Condition The canvas is unlined and is securely attached to a relatively new, fixed wooden stretcher. This is ensuring a stable structural support. There is an overall pattern of slightly raised horizontal lines which suggests the painting was possibly rolled in the past. This is stable. Paint Surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer The paint surface has scattered areas of raised lines of craquelure. These are stable. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows scattered retouchings, the most significant of which are: 1) several retouchings above the figure's hat, a few retouchings to the right of the figure's face and some further retouchings within the sky and the buildings in the upper right quadrant of the composition, 2) a diagonal line of retouching with further associated retouchings within the wall towards the upper left corner of the composition, 4) several retouchings towards the lower left and right corners of the composition, 5) scattered retouchings within the figure's dress, a few retouchings on her arms and a few tiny spots on her face, and 6) intermittent retouchings on and close to the extreme edges of the composition Other small spots and lines of retouching are also visible. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in good and stable condition.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

After the Ball belongs to Korovin’s nocturnes which are characterised by their musicality and air of nostalgia. Even these interior scenes are to an extent painted en plein air with the figures placed by an open window, allowing the outside in. In the 1910s Korovin did much work for the stage and most of his portraits of this period are of prominent figures from the performing arts.

The sitter of this portrait is depicted in evening dress and holding flowers, possibly from a bouquet she has received after the evening’s performance. The mood is one of quiet reflection, the open window brings in the Moscow night and one can almost hear the sound of music still carried on the air. Painted in cool tones of lilac and grey, the scene is lit by the silvery moonlight streaking through the window. The colour accents of the red and yellow flowers on her breast and in her hand, and the warm comforting glow coming from the windows of buildings in the distance, add a note of festivity to the scene. The events of 1917 seem to belong to another, distant world.