Portrait of Eya
incised with the artist's signature in Latin l.m.
oil on wood
19 by 14.5cm, 7½ by 5¾in.
Executed in the early 1920s
The edges of the oval support are uneven and it is slightly warped. The left edge is split and the uppermost layer of the wooden board is lifting in the lower left. There are frame abrasions with minor associated paint losses along the edges. Vertical cracks following the grain of the wood are visible throughout, there is also very fine craquelure in places, such as the green background to the right of the sitter's face. Some further very minor nicks and flecks of paint loss are visible in places. There is a light layer of surface dirt. Inspection under UV light reveals a tiny spot of retouching to the background on the right side as well as a an uneven varnish layer around the signature and edges. Held in a gilt wooden frame with decorative mouldings. 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."
Fechin started work on this portrait of his daughter Eya while still in Russia but only completed and signed it after his arrival in America in 1923, which explains the Russian export stamp on the reverse and the Latin signature. Between 1920 and 1922 Fechin was commissioned to create a series of miniatures to decorate wooden boxes, also creating a number for himself. In an inventory of artworks the artist was permitted to export with him from Russia (now preserved in a private archive in San Cristobal) five miniatures are recorded: one is titled Daughter, the other Portrait of Iika. The present lot is almost certainly one of the two.
We are grateful to Galina Tuluzakova for providing additional cataloguing information.