View full screen - View 1 of Lot 62. OLEG TSELKOV | MEAL.


Property from a Private Collection, California






signed in Cyrillic l.r.; further signed and titled in Latin and dated 1987 on the stretcher

oil on canvas

Canvas: 74¾ by 92½in., 190 by 235cm

Framed: 77 by 95in., 195.5 by 241cm

Original canvas. There are a few light scuffs to the surface and a light layer of surface dirt. Inspection under UV light reveals no obvious signs of restoration. In excellent overall condition. Held in a black tray frame.

The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.

Instantly recognisable, the art of Oleg Tselkov occupies its own distinct space. Although it is possible to trace influences in the vivid, often primary, colors of Russian folk art or in the monumentality and metallic sheen of Malevich’s peasant figures, Tselkov has a style and aesthetic that is all his own. Even in as disparate and loosely-affiliated a group as the Soviet non-conformists, he was always the slight outsider. Figurative and not overtly political, his paintings deal with the eternal condition of man rather than the specifics of the post-war Soviet experience.

The subjects of Tselkov’s paintings also inhabit a distinct, otherworldly space. His generalised, anonymous figures and mask-like faces are a portrait of no one in particular and everyone at the same time. They have a very limited range of accoutrements: in his early works flowers, butterflies, wine glasses and in his later post-emigration works knives, forks and spades creating an unsettling atmosphere of potential violence.

In 2004 the artist presented a later version of this very composition to the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg.