VASILY IVANOVICH SHUKHAEV | THE REIGNING MONARCHS OF THE WORLD
Property from a Private Collection, United States
VASILY IVANOVICH SHUKHAEV
THE REIGNING MONARCHS OF THE WORLD
signed in Latin, inscribed Paris and dated 1934 l.r.
tempera on canvas
Canvas: 68.5 by 101.5cm, 27 by 40in.
Framed: 75 by 108.5cm, 29½ by 42½in.
Please note: Condition 11 of the Conditions of Business for Buyers (Online Only) is not applicable to this lot.
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Original canvas, which is buckling very slightly in the corners. There are scattered cracks to the paint layer with associated minor paint loss, most notably to the Shah of Persia on the far right and to the King of Siam just to his left, as well as a crease to the glove of the King of Italy. Further minor areas of paint loss can be seen in places, mostly along the edges. There are localised areas of paint shrinkage, most notably to the background in the upper left quadrant. There is a layer of surface dirt and some mould visible on the paint surface. Framed and glazed. Unexamined out of frame.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
Acquired by the father of the present owner in the United States in the 1980s
Vanity Fair, July 1934, pp.28-29 illustrated
E.Yakovleva and E.Kamenskaya (ed.) Vasily Shukhaev: iskusstvo, sud'ba, nasledie. Kollektivnaya monografiya, Moscow: BuksMArt, 2020, p.198 illustrated
In 1929 as the Wall Street Stock Market crashed, Condé Nast employed a new Russian-born art director, Mehmed Fehmy Agha, to oversee the design of both Vogue and Vanity Fair. Born to Turkish Cypriot parents in Nikolayev on the Black Sea, Agha had studied at the Kiev Academy of Fine Arts before emigrating to Paris in 1917. He moved in artistic circles in both Paris and later Berlin (where he was art director of Vogue Berlin before it folded) and was well-versed in the European avant-garde. At Condé Nast he would go on to revolutionise magazine design, introducing then-radical innovations such as sans-serif text, full-bleed images, double-page spreads and the commissioning of full-colour illustrations from artists, many of whom he had met in Europe, such as Paolo Garretto, Constantin Alajalov and Vasily Shukhaev. In the early 1930s Shukhaev produced a number of caricatures for Vanity Fair of cultural and political figures such as Maxim Gorky, George Bernhard Shaw and Stalin.
This group caricature of a motley crew of twenty-one monarchs who had survived the events of the first two decades of the 20th century was published full-bleed on a double-page spread as part of a typically waspish feature ‘Presenting a few personal idiosyncrasies of the regal galaxy’. The 'regal galaxy' included Kings George V of England and Gustav V of Sweden and Emperors Haile Selassie of Abyssinia and Hiroshito of Japan. Of those depicted many would later abdicate, some would be deposed and all were ripe candidates for Shukhaev’s lightly mocking brush.