Acquired directly from the artist by Ihnno Ezratty, Paris Thence by descent
G.Kovalenko, Alexandra Exter, vol.2, Moscow: Moscow Museum of Modern Art, 2010, p.169 illustrated
Even during her periods of association with Italian Futurism and French Purism, with their focus on the inorganic and celebration of the man-made, Exter never ceased to paint from life. During her time at the Académie Moderne she was the only teacher to insist upon it. Her pupil Esther Shimerova recalled ‘We never missed one exhibition of flowers, we never walked past the windows of flower shops. And in the same way we had to draw a great deal – separate flowers, groups, bouquets. To create plastic scenes on the theme of ‘flowers’’ (quoted in Kovalenko, 2010, p.115). The still life genre was so important to Exter from a teaching point of view precisely because it is stripped of narrative or any of the associations of portraiture or landscape painting.
Exter’s earliest examples, painted during her years in Paris, made use of collage and stencils but her lively palette always set them apart them from those of her Western peers. Unlike the restrained browns of Cubism and the limited primary colours of the Purists, her still lifes always had more in common with the traditional decorative arts of her native Ukraine. As the artist’s fellow Ukrainian, the poet Benedikt Livshits said of her attitude to colour: ‘One of the Cubists’ principals was to modulate the scale of colours and this inhibited Exter’s violent, colouristic temperament. More than once Léger chided Asya [Exter] for the excessive brightness of her canvasses’ (quoted in Woman Artists of Russia’s New Age: 1900-1935, ‘The Avant Garde: Alexandra Exter’, p.118.)
Original canvas. The canvas is rippling, most notably along the left and right edges. Paint shrinkage is visible throughout the composition. There are a few scattered paint chips, notably one in the centre, one to the left of the central fruit bowl, another to the right of the wine glass. There is a layer of surface dirt and the varnish layer is uneven. Inspection under UV light reveals the uneven varnish layer and a spot of retouching to a petal by the lower left edge. Held in a wooden frame with a blue velvet slip. Unexamined out of frame. "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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."