• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2162

    Russian Art

    24 April 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 361

    Oskar Rabin (b. 1928)

    St. Nicholas the Big Cross

    Price Realised  


    Oskar Rabin (b. 1928)
    St. Nicholas the Big Cross
    signed in Cyrillic and dated 'Rabin 64' (upper right); further inscribed in Russian, dated and numbered 'Nikola the Big Cross/1964 n 240' (on the reverse)
    oil with gold leaf on canvas
    43 x 31½ in. (109.2 x 80 cm.)

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    Oscar Rabin, the informal leader of the Lianozovo Group, was the first nonconformist artist to have his art work shown abroad. While a number of his dissident contemporaries worked with abstraction, Rabin's method of dissent was primarily narrative. In his paintings one does not encounter man, but rather one sees the remnants of his presence through the artist's concentration on the objects and spaces of everyday life. The present work shows the blend of old and new that defined the lives of many Russians during the Soviet era, while simultaneously making a political statement by placing the cross, representing the religious tradition of 'old Russia', close to the picture plane so that it dominates over the distant Soviet apartment blocks of the 'new Russia.'
    This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné prepared by Michele and Marc Ivasilevitch, A&C-Projects.


    Acquired from the artist by the present owner, 1964.