Lot 13
  • 13


50,000 - 70,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Oleg Vassiliev
  • Black Light
  • oil on canvas
  • Canvas: 49 1/2 by 37 3/4 in.; 125.5 by 96cm
signed in Cyrillic and dated '80-89'; further signed and titled in Cyrillic and dated '1980-1989' on the reverseoil on canvas In ‘Black Light’ we find a generic portrait of a Soviet youth overlaid with the shape that is short-hand for the Russian avant-garde of the 1910s. It has the feel of an archetypal mid-century passport photograph blown up large, the sitter’s features covered and identity denied at the same time as his pre-Soviet heritage is recalled. His direct gaze and lightly raised eyebrow conjure that aura of elegiac inwardness that characterizes Vassiliev’s greatest paintings. A pre-emigration work, ‘Black Light’ is painted on a thick canvas and bears a Soviet export stamp on the reverse. The multiple white lines that comprise the framing technique is a feature of other portraits by Vassiliev, for example ‘Twilight'.


Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above in December 1989


Ridgefield, Connecticut, Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 'Contemporary Soviet Art: Adaptation and Negation of Socialist Realism', 1990


Exhibition catalogue Contemporary Soviet Art: Adaptation and Negation of Socialist Realism, Ridgefield: Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, 1990, illustrated