• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7537

    The Somov Collection

    28 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 265

    Two photographs depicting Vera and Mikhail Fokin

    Price Realised  


    Two photographs depicting Vera and Mikhail Fokin
    the first signed and inscribed 'To Konstantin Somov, in happy memory. Vera Fokin'; the second signed, inscribed and dated 'To dear Konstantin Andreevich Somov from a connoisseur of his subtle and wonderful art. M. Fokin 1924'
    8 1/16 x 10 in. (20.5 x 25.4 cm.); 10 x 8 1/16 in. (25.4 x 20.5 cm.)
    Together with a design for a Christmas Greetings card; a Christmas Greetings card; and a black and white photograph of Somov's painting 'Riazhenye' (4)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Somov was well-acquainted with the Fokins.
    One of Somov's drawings, 'Ballerina V. P. Fokina', executed in New York in 1924 is in the State Russian Museum and was shown to the public in 1970 as part of an exhibition devoted to the artist.

    Somov wrote about his meeting with the Fokins in the USA in 1924:
    After 6pm I dressed in a tuxedo and went out to dine at the Fokin's house. A charming house, very luxurious and decorated with great taste. A wonderful dinner. We were 7, including Stanislavsky. Fokina herself is still very beautiful. Her dress and hairstyle was remarkable - she was all in black.
    Letter dated 9 March 1924, p. 232

    Yesterday I met Fokin at the exhibition. We discussed the ballet for ages and I gave him some words of advice. I advised that he stage a production of 'La fille mal gardée' at his new school of dance. He seemed enthusiastic.
    Letter dated 16 March 1924, p. 233

    We came back home around 9pm, had a quick bite, changed our clothes and left for an evening at the Fokin's. There were a lot of people there, including Knipper and Moskvin. The dinner was wonderful and the wine plentiful. They sang songs and there was a remarkable accordian player, Rams. We danced a little bit but not the Fokins, only the guests.
    Letter dated 9 May 1924, p. 242

    Please note that the accompanying sketch and Christmas card was commissioned by Lydia Pavlovna, Lady Deterding, 'Ah, I've just finished 'tintinka' (the very small painting), that I have to complete as soon as possible. That's why, like a black slave, without straightening my back, I worked on it for a whole week. I am awfully tired. It turned out not bad at all. Everyone who had a look at it, when practically finished, praised it. In a way, it's like a Kustodiev.
    Letter dated 26 November 1924, p. 346

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.