83
JUMP TO LOT
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Russian Pictures

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Pavel Tchelitchew
1898 - 1957
HEAD OF A BOY
signed in Latin l.r.
oil on canvas
80 by 64cm, 31½ by 25in.
Executed in 1926
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Provenance

Acquired from the artist circa 1935
Samuel L. Kootz, New York
Sidney Janis, New York
Martin Janis Gallery, Los Angeles
Edward Schreiber, 1965
Acquired from Mr Schreiber’s daughter by the present owner in 2013

Catalogue Note

Head of a Boy belongs to Tchelitchew’s ‘monochromes’ of the late 1920s and early 1930s in which the artist reduced his palette to hues of the same colour. The rejection of colour in this period was in part a reaction to expressionism and its exuberance and decorativeness, but without the distraction of colour the artist was also better able to focus on the essence of the subject: ‘The true delight is breaking through the thick darkness and crawling out the other side to the light’ as he explained in 1927.

Tchelitchew’s work of this period does not just reject colour, it is also a rejection of the ‘tyranny of the rectilinear’ predominant in the visual arts for the last two decades. The characteristic ovoid shapes seen in the elongated faces and almond eyes of his sitters, as well as the many pictures of eggs and stretched-out bowls of fruit demonstrate the importance of the curved line. Tchelitchew explained his decision to ‘plunge into the curved line’ to James Thrall Soby when the latter was organising his 1942 solo exhibition in New York: ‘because of the spherical form of our planet, any line draw[n] upon its surface…must naturally form part of a circle’.

Russian Pictures

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London