Russian Pictures

Russian Pictures

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 111. EDUARD GOROKHOVSKY  |  GROUP PORTRAIT IN AN INTERIOR.

Property from a Private Collection, Germany


Lot Closed

June 2, 02:48 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a Private Collection, Germany




signed in Cyrillic and dated 83 l.r.; further signed, titled, inscribed and dated on the reverse

oil on canvas

Canvas: 133 by 193cm, 52¼ by 76in.

Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.

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Acquired directly from the artist

Group Portrait in an Interior is an intimate portrait of a tightly-knit group of friends and key figures among the Moscow Non-conformists. It depicts from top left to right: Nina Gorokhovskaya, Garik Basmadjian, Ilya Kabakov and Galina Chuikova, and from bottom left to right, Viktor Pivovarov, Viktoria Mochalova and Ivan Chuikov.

As one of the pioneers of Soviet photo-based art, the photographic portrait is central to Gorokhovsky’s painting, both in terms of technique and subject. He made use of silk-screen prints, serial images and painted copies of photographs as a way of exploring layers of reality and identity. He also took historical photographic portraits as his subject as a way of poignantly documenting individuals and dignifying their individual lived experiences. providing a contrast with the mass-reproduced images of idealised non-people and their leaders of state propaganda.

The portrait in this catalogue is explicitly not painted from life but is a painting of a photographic portrait, thereby adding an additional layer between the viewer and the subject. The distance is not just physical but temporal too, it has the appearance of a hand-coloured black and white print, bleached by sunlight over many years, historicising the sitters. This is not portraiture as revelation, as a window on to the souls of the sitters, but portraiture as myth-making – a quality and intention it shares with the imagery of state propaganda.

The interior setting is itself as significant as the sitters for the Moscow apartment was the specific milieu of the Soviet intelligentsia. The Moscow apartment interior was to the Non-conformists what the café was to the Vienna Secession. It was a safe, if claustrophobic, space to share ideas and hold artistic debates and, after the Bulldozer exhibition of 1974 apartment exhibitions were the only way they could show their work. In the conceptual installations of Ilya Kabakov the kommunalka became his theatrical stage set and would be elevated to the status of metaphor for the Soviet Union.