Property from a Private European Collection
signed in Cyrillic Nest l.l.; further signed, titled and dated 1982 on the reverse and bearing a USSR export label on the stretcher
oil on canvas
Canvas: 114 by 114cm, 44¾ by 44¾in.
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Acquired by the father of the present owner in Russia in the 1980s
In the first half of the 1970s Natalia Nesterova started experimenting with compositions which reinterpreted the official socialist-realist canon: heroic scenes of labour and idyllic scenes of leisure were transformed into surreal phantasmagoria and masquerades by the artist’s ironic brush. Images of Crimean, Caucasian and Baltic health resorts would become key subjects of these fantastical compositions, where episodes of banal resort life are permeated with a grotesque charm. Since the late 1970s, themes of the old city or park have prevailed in Nesterova's work, with passers-by visually assimilated with classical statues and the architecture and thus set apart from a homogeneous colourful crowd.
The monumental building in the present work depicts one of the oldest sanatoria in Matsesta – the largest balneological spa in Russia, located in the wider resort district of Sochi. Completed in 1924 Matsesta sanatorium would become popular among high-ranking state figures, including Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev and Nikita Khrushchev, who would not only recommend it to their party associates, but also play an important role in its expansion into a resort of all-union significance.