Take a Train… IV
Property from a Private European Collection
1938 - 2018
Take a Train… IV
each part signed in Cyrillic and dated 92 on the reverse
oil on canvas laid on plywood and oil on plywood with fiberboard cut-outs, collage and wheel
Board: left, central and right parts each 200.5 by 122cm, 79 by 48in.; others each 200.5 by 152.5cm, 79 by 60in.
Overall: 200.5 by 671cm, 79 by 264¼in.
There are nicks and minor losses to the edges. There are minor paint losses to the grey horizon of the right part. Minor paint losses are also visible on the fiberboard cut-out of the central part. The surface is covered in a light layer of dirt. Inspection under UV light reveals no obvious signs of retouching. Unframed.
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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."
Paris, Le Monde de l'Art, Vladimir Yankilevsky, 9 September - 31 October 1992
The present work belongs to a series Yankilevsky executed in the early 1990s while living in New York. The title alludes to the famous jazz standard ‘Take the ‘A’ Train’ immortalised by Duke Ellington and dedicated to the ‘A’ line of the New York subway system operating between East Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Similar to Yankilevsky’s large-scale works from the Soviet period, most of the works from the ‘Take the Train’ series are either triptychs or polyptychs. Writing about the series, art historian Alexander Borovsky highlighted its distinct jazz-inspired rhythm, referring both to the city where the series was produced as well as to Yankilevsky’s long-standing fascination with jazz music. In the non-representational elements within these works Borovsky saw ‘…projections of [a] subway station with shining light and adverts on the retina, when the train goes away into the darkness of the tunnel’ (Vladimir Yankilevsky, Moment of Eternity, St Petersburg: Palace Editions, 2007, p.26). The nude figures, longing towards each other but unable to ‘merge and constitute a singal whole’ reflect, in Borovsky’s view, the individualism and loneliness defining life in big cities (ibid.).
The series, including the present lot, was shown at Yankilevsky’s solo exhibition at the Le Monde de l’Art gallery in Paris in 1992, marking the artist’s move from New York to Paris, where he remained for the rest of his life.