Russian Pictures

Russian Pictures

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 80. YURI PAVLOVICH ANNENKOV | Breton Man with Pipe .


Auction Closed

June 4, 12:47 PM GMT


180,000 - 250,000 GBP

Lot Details




Breton Man with Pipe

signed in Latin l.r.

oil on canvas

81 by 65cm, 32 by 25½in.

Executed circa 1926

Painted shortly after Annenkov’s emigration from the Soviet Union, Breton Man with Pipe was inspired by a trip to the coast at Roscoff and is an early example of the artist’s French period. At this time his focus had turned from theatre design to book illustration and the effect on his oil painting is striking. His consummate skill as a portraitist is still very much in evidence, but the bright colours of his Russian portraits just a few years earlier have been replaced by a very restricted palette and it is the incredible graphic quality that stands out.

Here the artist is clearly playing with the medium, challenging himself by working within the narrowest of parameters. Although working in oil, he restricts his palette to a few natural, earthy tones and the focus is on line rather than brushstroke. Annenkov creates variety by introducing different textures, scratching, smudging and stippling the paint into the canvas. A sense of volume is created by layering multi-faceted planes, the checked pattern of the sitter’s jacket is loosely suggested through lines and squares that appear to have been stencilled on to the paint surface. The painting's original owner André Paz and his brother Maurice, both lawyers and prominent French communists, were close friends of the artist and the subjects of portraits by him.

We are grateful to the expert Vladimir Hofmann, the artist's former student and author of his catalogue raisonné, for providing additional cataloguing information.