Russian Pictures

Russian Pictures

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 77. Portrait of Vladimir Dukelsky.

Pavel Tchelitchew

Portrait of Vladimir Dukelsky

Auction Closed

November 30, 02:40 PM GMT


25,000 - 35,000 GBP

Lot Details


Pavel Tchelitchew

1898 - 1957

Portrait of Vladimir Dukelsky

stamped twice with the artist's signature on the reverse; further bearing a Richard Nathanson gallery label on the backing board

gouache on paper

Sheet: 50 by 39.5cm, 19¾ by 15½in.

Framed: 71.5 by 62.5cm, 28¼ by 24¾in.

Executed in 1925

A gift from the artist to his sister Alexandra Tchelitcheff-Zaoussailoff, Paris, 1925

Richard Nathanson, London

Colin Clark (1932-2002), purchased from the above

Purchased at the estate sale of the above by the present owner

Exhibition catalogue Pavel Tchelitchew, A Selection of Gouache, Drawings and Paintings Arranged by Richard Nathanson, 1974, p.2 illustrated b/w, no.2 listed
N.Macdonald, Diaghilev Observed by Critics in England and the United States, 1911-1929, New York: Dance Horizons, 1975 p.xii listed, p.317 illustrated b/w

Vladimir Dukelsky, also known as Vernon Duke, was a Russian-American composer, poet, and writer. Born into a noble family, he studied in Kiev and later moved to Paris where he collaborated with Diaghilev, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev. His ballet commissioned by Diaghilev, Zephyr and Flora was staged in 1925, with choreography by Léonide Massine.

In 1929 Dukelsky settled in the United States, where he had briefly lived before, and became known as Vernon Duke. He was one of the most successful American songwriters of the Depression era, scoring a series of hits including ‘April in Paris’, ‘Autumn in New York’, and ‘I Can't Get Started’ while also enjoying a concurrent career under his real name.

Tchelitchew and Vladimir Dukelsky had initially met in Constantinople after fleeing Russia, and they stayed close throughout their lives. Tchelitchew painted this portrait of Dukelsky in Paris in 1925 and gifted it to his sister Alexandra Tchelitcheff-Zaoussailoff. It is a rare and particularly successful example of the artist's early French period.

Later in America, Tchelitchew and Dukelsky famously collaborated on the outrageous Paper Ball held at the Atheneum (the oldest public art gallery in the United States). The artist was the Master of Ceremonies and designed the décor and costumes while Dukelsky composed the music.

The portrait was included in the Tchelitchew exhibition at the Alpine Club in London in 1974 and was acquired by the British filmmaker and writer Colin Clark. It remained in his family until recently.