Russian Pictures

Russian Pictures

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 101. NIKOLAI FECHIN | Hollyhocks .

Property of a Distinguished Collector


Auction Closed

June 4, 12:47 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 GBP

Lot Details





signed in Latin l.r.; further bearing a Fenn Galleries label on the backing board

oil on canvas

65 by 52cm, 25½ by 20½in.

Nikolai Fechin is primarily known as an outstanding portraitist and master of genre scenes, but his talents as a painter are no less evident in the nude, landscape and still life genres. Although he painted still lifes throughout his career, the artist’s attitude towards the genre changed over the course of his life.

In several of the portraits and nudes Fechin painted in Russia, the brilliant still lifes, with their dazzling virtuosity, acted as important compositional accents (Portrait of Varya Adoratskaya, 1914, and Portrait of Nadezhda Sapozhnikova against a Backdrop of Wallpaper, 1916) or as an elegant detail (Nude in the Bathroom, mid-1910s). However, barely a handful of pure still lifes have survived. In his American period the genre developed in stages: the New York still lifes of ‘tea-drinking’ with samovars, teapots and fruits in vases on the dining table morphed into the ‘Indian’ still lifes with ceramics, corncobs and ritual toys painted in Taos. Flowers appear from time to time in the works painted in both New York and in New Mexico but it was in California that floral compositions assumed such a prominent place in Fechin’s genre hierarchy. In Los Angeles the natural-born portraitist began to find inspiration in lillies, callas, nasturtiums, pansies, orchids and hollyhocks, likely more than he did in the excessively well-off people. He could see ‘characters’ in the flowers and enjoyed the variety in their colours and shapes. The artist played with the colours of his palette, combined different textures, juxtaposed objects and relished reproducing both solid materiality and immaterial tones and reflections of light.

We would like to thank Galina Tuluzakova for providing this catalogue note.