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322

Erik Bulatov

Street at Night

VAT reduced rateArtist's Resale Right

Estimate:

150,000 - 200,000 GBP

Property from a Private European Collection

Erik Bulatov

Erik Bulatov

Street at Night

Street at Night

Estimate:

150,000 - 200,000 GBP

Property from a Private European Collection

Erik Bulatov

b.1933

Street at Night


signed and titled in Cyrillic and dated 1966 on the reverse

oil on canvas

Canvas: 90 by 109.5cm, 35½ by 43in.

Framed: 93.5 by 113cm, 36¾ by 44½in.

Original canvas. There is a shallow dent to the canvas in the upper right corner. Minor paint loss is visible in the corners and along the edges. There is a light layer of surface dirt and dust and the varnish has degraded. Inspection under UV light reveals no obvious signs of retouching. Held in a wooden strip 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."

Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York

Phillips London, Important Contemporary Russian Art – Property from a Foundation, 28 February 2008, lot 17

Erik Bulatov, Moscow, London: Parkett Publishers, in collaboration with ICA London, 1989, p.18 illustrated b/w
M.Arndt (ed.), Erik Bulatov. Catalogue Raisonné in Two Volumes. Volume I: Paintings 1952-2011, Cologne: Wienand, 2011, p.81, no.63 illustrated; p.268, no.63 listed

 

Moscow, Blue Bird Cafe, Erik Bulatov Exhibition, 1968

Street at Night belongs to a series of works by Bulatov from the 1960s, which marked his departure from a predominantly figurative, expressionistic style influenced by the work of one of his early mentors, Robert Falk. Falk was a key figure within the Russian avant-garde realm who taught at Vkhutemas-Vkhutein in Moscow during the 1920s-early 1930s and whose artistic method influenced an entire generation of Soviet artists.


In 1956 Bulatov first encountered Falk’s close colleague from Vkhutemas-Vkhutein, wood engraver and theoretician Vladimir Favorsky. Favorsky’s teaching of book design as ‘a spatial visualisation of a literary work’ and his broader series of lectures on the theory of composition were among the most innovative and influential events which took place at the renowned institution over the course of its existence. It was the conversations with Favorsky during the late 1950s-early 1960s which helped Bulatov develop his own ideas about pictorial space and composition.


Similar to his abstract canvases of this period, for instance, Horizontal 1 from the same year, in Street at Night Bulatov employs white dotted and continuous horizontal lines, positioning them against a black background. This allows the artist to explore the spatial potential of the pictorial plane, which becomes ‘…transformed into a black space, plunging the viewer’s gaze into its infinite depths’ (M.Arndt (ed.), Erik Bulatov. Catalogue Raisonné in Two Volumes. Volume I: Paintings 1952-2011, Cologne: Wienand, 2011, p.76).


Here, however, Bulatov supplements his abstract composition with figurative elements. The most notable of these is a large-scale Magrittesque character, reminiscent, in its anonymity, of advertisements Bulatov encountered on a daily basis and highlighted as a strong influence on his work. The dotted lines, extending beyond the physical boundaries of the canvas, are simultaneously allusive of road markings and film reels. The superimposition of these various components adds further complexity and multidimentionality to the pictorial space. Street at Night is representative of Bulatov's early experimental body of work which paved the way towards the theoretical principles and aesthetic concerns defining his mature artistic practice.