VALENTIN ALEXANDROVICH SEROV
Still Life with Hare
signed in Cyrillic l.r. and dated 1880 m.l.
oil on canvas
35.5 by 50.5cm, 14 by 20in.
Original canvas which is very slightly buckling below the hare's chest. There are two indentations towards the bottom edge. Fine craquelure is visible in places throughout. There are scattered surface abrasions in places. Inspection under UV light reveals areas of restoration to the background above the hare's ribcage, and to a diagonal scratch running up and left from it; to the upper left corner; along the bottom edge and some other very minor scattered retouching. Held in a gilt wooden frame with a canvas slip. Unexamined out of frame.
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In 1879, at the age of fifteen, Valentin Serov was taken on as a student by Ilya Repin. As well as shadowing the master while he worked, Serov undertook an intensive programme of study set by Repin, and, as part of this, produced many still-lifes with the aim of developing and refining his artistic skills. As Serov’s biographer, Igor Grabar, writes of this period, ‘now there was nothing that could distract him from painting, and he gives himself up to it from morning to evening, almost without rest. He spends the entire day in the studio and works on the still-lifes set by Repin.’ (Grabar, Serov, Moscow 1913, p.39). The present lot is one of two still-lifes by the artist featuring a hare but the only oil. Following the artist’s death in 1911, both still-lifes were in the collection of Serov’s widow Olga.