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    Sale 7537

    The Somov Collection

    28 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 269

    A group of thirty-seven rare and unpublished photographs of Konstantin Andreevich Somov (1869-1939)

    Price Realised  


    A group of thirty-seven rare and unpublished photographs of Konstantin Andreevich Somov (1869-1939)
    7 photographs from his childhood and youth (1870-1888 and later), 2 photographs of his sister Anna Andreevna Somova (1892), a group of photographs by D. Basserman, 10 photographs taken during his stay in New York in 1924 - some with S. Rachmaninov, 9 photographs of Somov's apartment in Paris, 7 photographs taken at Grandvilliers, 1 photograph of Somov in costume as Aladin, 1 photograph of a painting by Alexandre Benois which depicts Somov in Le Primel Tregastel, Brittany, 1905
    Together with a group of sixty-seven photographs depicting paintings by Somov, including portraits of E. S. Mikhailova, M. B. Braikevich and B. E. Popov. (104)

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    Only a small portion of Somov's personal photographs remain. The majority were left in Russia with the Somov-Mikhailov family. The photographs taken during the USA exhibition in 1924, those depicting Somov's life in France and those showing the interior of his Paris apartment have never been published and are extremely rare. Somov cared a great deal about the photographs of his relatives and on more than one occasion asked for them to send new ones for use in his compositions: I am using your photograph in a small interior scene. I placed your portrait in profile on top of the piano, the one where you have grey curls. It is really tiny and you are not very alike, but nevertheless it is possible to recognise you...
    Letter dated 10 March 1932, p. 393

    Somov was mortified by the loss of his beloved photographs when his apartment was burgled in 1928: During our absence we were robbed...about 500 francs in all...it is not the financial loss which is sickening but the moral side to all of this...all of my books and magazines were taken too - robbers aren't well-educated (but why did they take my photographs?).
    Letter dated 9 August 1928, p. 341

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