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.
"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."
Olga Serova, the artist's widow
I.Grabar, Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov: zhizn' i tvorchestvo, Moscow: Knebel, 1914, p.281 listed under works from 1880
I.Grabar, Valentin Aleksandrovich Serov, zhizn' i tvorchestvo, Moscow: Iskusstvo, 1965, p.380 listed under works from 1880 as Zayats na stule
D.Sarabianov, Valentin Serov: Paintings, Graphic Works, Stage Designs, Leningrad: Aurora Art Publishers, 1982, p.279, no.29 listed as Dead Hare on a Chair
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.