87
87

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, ENGLAND

Pavel Tchelitchew
LE RÊVE
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 273,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
87

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION, ENGLAND

Pavel Tchelitchew
LE RÊVE
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 273,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Russian Pictures

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Pavel Tchelitchew
1898 - 1957
LE RÊVE
signed in Latin and dated 33 l.r.; further signed on the stretcher
oil on canvas
81 by 100cm, 32 by 39 3/4 in.
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Provenance

Collection of Edward James, West Dean

Exhibited

New York, Gallery of Modern Art, Pavel Tchelitchew, 20 March - 19 April 1964, no.122

Literature

Exhibition catalogue Pavel Tchelitchew, New York, 1964, p.60, no.122 listed

Catalogue Note

Le Rêve previously belonged to Edward James, the great patron of the Surrealists who owned a large collection of works by Tchelitchew. The two had been introduced by Edith Sitwell in 1928, when Tchelitchew had his first solo exhibition in England. In the winter of 1933, the year the present work was painted, the artist was working on his highly innovative costume and set designs for the ballet L’Errante for Les Ballets 1933, the short-lived company founded by Boris Kochno and George Balanchine and bankrolled by James, who at the time was in a tumultuous marriage with the dancer Tilly Tosch.

The early 1930s was a decisive period for both Tchelitchew’s life and career. In 1932, at a party given by Djuna Barnes, he met the young American poet Charles Henri Ford who would become his lifelong companion and with whom he would soon move to the United States. In 1933, he had a solo exhibition at Arthur Tooth and Sons in London and he met the gallerist Julien Levy, who would organise Tchelitchew's first solo exhibition in New York City in 1934 and several more during the following few years.

Stylistically, in the 1930s Tchelitchew moves away from the monochromatic works of the previous decade and his palette brightens, as for example in his Portrait of Charles Henri Ford (1933; illustrated in A.Kuznetsov, Pavel Tchelitchew. Metamorphosis, 2012, p.173, ill.141), or, in fact, in the present work. In Le Rêve, Tchelitchew uses a combination of different shades of blue and ochre, typical of many of his best works from the period. The paint surface becomes smooth, in stark contrast to his experiments with using coffee and sand begun in 1927.

The girl with the bobbed hair resembles one of the children in the 1934 work Les Enfants (illustrated in Kuznetsov, 2012, p.180, no.150). In both paintings light surrounds the figure like a halo as if the girl herself is a source of light. In the present work, she is playing cat’s cradle, a development of the string motif from Tchelitchew’s portraits of the 1920s.

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