148
148

PROPERTY FROM THE COSTAKIS FAMILY COLLECTION

Robert Rafailovich Falk
GREEK WOMAN (PORTRAIT OF INNA COSTAKIS)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
148

PROPERTY FROM THE COSTAKIS FAMILY COLLECTION

Robert Rafailovich Falk
GREEK WOMAN (PORTRAIT OF INNA COSTAKIS)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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Robert Rafailovich Falk
1886-1958
GREEK WOMAN (PORTRAIT OF INNA COSTAKIS)
signed in Cyrillic l.l.; further signed on the reverse and inscribed and dated 55 on the stretcher
oil on canvas
73 by 59.5cm, 28 3/4 by 23 1/2 in.
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Provenance

The artist
Angelina Shchekin-Krotova, the artist's widow
Acquired from the above by George Costakis
Inna Costakis, the sitter and daughter of the above

Exposition

Moscow, Vystavka proizvedenii Roberta Rafailovicha Fal'ka, 1958
Moscow, Vystavka proizvedenii R.R. Fal'ka, 1966
Moscow, State Tretyakov Gallery, Georgii Kostaki k 100-letiyu kollektsionera, 12 November 2014 - 8 February 2015, no.217

Bibliographie

Exhibition catalogue Vystavka proizvedenii Roberta Rafailovicha Fal'ka, Moscow, 1958, illustrated
Exhibition catalogue Vystavka proizvedenii R.R. Fal'ka. Katalog, Moscow, 1966
D.Sarabianov and Yu.Didenko, Zhivopis' Roberta Fal'ka. Polnyi katalog proizvedenii, Moscow: Elysium Gallery, 2006, p.786, no.1184 illustrated
Exhibition catalogue Georgii Kostaki k 100-letiyu kollektsionera, Moscow: State Tretyakov Gallery, 2014, p.223 illustrated, p.411 listed

Description

Inna, the 20-year-old daughter of the renowned collector of Russian art, George Costakis, first met Falk in 1953 at her family apartment in Moscow, where the artist was a guest of her father’s. George Costakis and Falk had met due to Costakis’s interest in the avant-garde and the two had quickly become friends.

Having taken up smoking, Inna would sneak out onto the fire escape of the apartment building so that her father wouldn’t catch her. Falk, however, was more perceptive, and realised what she was doing. Turning to her father, he said ‘I think that little Inna has become a grown-up girl. Why should she have to dash out and hide from you if she smokes?’ And so, as Inna herself later acknowledged, from that day forward she became a ‘grown-up girl’.

Costakis gave Falk permission to paint his daughter, and so, between the spring and autumn of 1955, Inna would go to his studio for sittings, always carrying bread rolls or coffee as a gift. It took Falk a while to decide how to compose the painting and he spent a long while sketching. One day, however, when Inna was sat by a window and the light was falling from above, he suddenly envisaged her as Aphrodite and the vision for his work was born.

Originally Falk had wanted to paint Inna full-length (the resulting painting, Young Woman in a Ball Gown, now hangs in the Brodsky Art Gallery in Berdyansk, Ukraine) but she began to feel ill from standing still for such long periods, and so the artist decided to paint her sitting down instead. Inna remembered Falk as being very engaging during her sittings, ‘very chatty, always asking questions’. Nevertheless, he refused to show her the work while it was in progress, and always kept it covered up until he had completed it.

Greek Woman (Portrait of Inna Costakis) appeared in an exhibition organised by the prolific Russian pianist, Sviatoslav Richter, at his apartment in 1957, as well as in two retrospective exhibitions of Falk’s works in 1958 and 1966 (both also in Moscow). Inna Costakis only received the painting in 1977, shortly before her emigration to Greece. The painting has remained in the possession of Inna’s family ever since, coming up for auction for the first time in this sale.

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