• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1989

    Russian Art

    18 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 46

    Arnold Borisovich Lakhovsky (1880-1937)

    Self-portrait

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Arnold Borisovich Lakhovsky (1880-1937)
    Self-portrait
    oil on canvas
    29 x 24 in. (73.7 x 61 cm.)


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    The present lot depicts the artist in half-length with torso slightly turned to the side. There is an air of casualness in his unbuttoned collar and loose-fitting jacket and in his calm and confident gaze at the viewer. With his hand firmly on the waist, almost cut-off by the edge of the canvas, and with his prominence within the composition, Lakhovsky appears to mirror the traditional artists' self-portrait. However, in his subtle and moderate style, Lakhovsky alters the traditional manner of this genre. Instead of the typical self-promotion or glorification of the trade, usually symbolized by brushes, paints or canvases in the background, Lakhovsky simply inserts himself into the landscape he so often depicted. Even though the artist appears to dominate the foreground, the background is equally and carefully rendered. The various tones and shades of green and brown link the blues of the sky and the jacket, thereby uniting the artist with his renowned subject-matter.

    Born in Russia, Lakhovsky studied at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts and at the Russian Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. In 1933 until his death in 1937, he lived in New York and exhibited at various galleries, including the Rockefeller Center. Newspapers such as Le Figaro, La Revue des Beaux-Arts and The Times reviewed his works, which were held in collections of museums in Paris, St. Petersburg, Moscow, Rome, Novgorod, and others. Critics heralded his landscape paintings as honest and reserved. They described the works as unassuming, 'with a subtle sense of and charming taste in colour, particularly in its atmospheric values' (The Times, 27th April, 1933). His balanced and exact treatment of nature, of rivers, of snow, of sunrays grazing treetops, prompted the art historian André Levinson to comment, 'A romance devoid of emphasis emanates from these landscapes which have been so keenly observed and understood.'

    Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist's widow, Eugenie.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR