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    Sale 2072

    California, Western and American Paintings, Drawings, and Sculpture

    29 October 2008, Beverly Hills

  • Lot 80

    Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955)

    Young Girl

    Price Realised  

    Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955)
    Young Girl
    signed 'N. Fechin' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    18¼ x 14¼ in. (46.4 x 36.2 cm.)
    Painted circa 1930.


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    In Young Girl, with an aggressive and yet elegant balance of color, line and form, Nicolai Fechin achieves a harmonious composition that brilliantly captures the personality of his sitter, while at the same time demonstrates the virtuosity of the artist. Of compositional style, Fechin wrote: "The artist must not forget that he is dealing with the entire canvas, and not with only one section of it. Regardless of what else he sets out to paint, the problem in his work remains one and the same: with originality, to fill in his canvas and make of it an organic whole. There must not be any particularly favored spot in the painting. It must be remembered that one false note in a symphony orchestra disrupts the harmony of the whole." (as quoted in M.N. Balcomb, Nicolai Fechin, San Cristobal, New Mexico, 1999 ed., p. 159)

    From his earliest days as a young student in Russia, Fechin was captivated by portrait painting. The widely varied faces of the people he encountered in his native Russia would provide the foundation for a storied career that spread across the globe. Fechin was never content with merely capturing a likeness on canvas, but rather strove to portray a dignity and inner spirit of each sitter, whether a Russian peasant, a New York member of society, a Balinese dancer, or the artist's most revered subject, the American Indian. Like the great Ashcan artist and teacher, Robert Henri, Fechin chose his sitters based on the vitality and character they emanated. He was particularly intrigued with children and produced a body of work later in his career that focused primarily on this subject. They have come to be considered some of Fechin's finestr achievements. The success of these works, such as Young Girl, which was most likely painted in Los Angeles and depicts the daughter of one of the artist's close friends, relies on Fechin's ability to interact with his sitter and translate onto canvas a profoundly mesmerizing image that transcends a mere rendition of a child's face and dress.

    Provenance

    Alexandra Fechin, wife of the artist.
    Private collection, Colorado Springs, Colorado, acquired from the above, 1956.
    (With) Adele & Edwards, Loveland, Colorado, acquired from the above, 1989.
    Acquired by the present owner from the above, 1989.