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    Sale 7461

    Russian Works of Art Including The Rothschild Fabergé Egg

    28 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 117

    A rare porcelain figure

    BY THE IMPERIAL PORCELAIN FACTORY, ST. PETERSBURG, PERIOD OF NICHOLAS II, INDISTINCTLY DATED 190?, INCISED IN CYRILLIC WITH K. SOMOV 1906, WITH INDISTINCT INCISED MODELLER'S SIGNATURE

    Price Realised  

    A rare porcelain figure
    by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, period of Nicholas II, indistinctly dated 190?, incised in Cyrillic with K. Somov 1906, with indistinct incised modeller's signature
    Modelled as the Lady with a Mask, incised and dated on outer hem of dress, further incised and marked under base
    8¼ in. (20.6 cm.) high


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    Konstantin Andreevich Somov (1869-1939) had an interest in porcelain from his early years. He was familiar with the European porcelain in the Hermitage collection as well as private collections in St. Petersburg, Germany and France, which he visited during his travels with his father between 1897 and 1899. A passionate collector of porcelain figures, including the Meissen 'Kiss' (1735-1745), by Kandler and figures by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, period of Nicholas I, such as 'Lady and Domino' and 'Colombine and Pantalone' after the model by Kandler. He also had in his collection the Ludwigsburg Porcelain Factory figure of 'Lady with a mask' (1780-82) by Pustelli.

    An extremely sensitive artist, Somov's inspiration from romantic porcelain figures can be seen from his earliest canvases and works on paper, often referred to as 'retrospective dreams'. Whilst little is documented of his own production of porcelain figures with the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Somov appears to have begun his experiments in porcelain production around 1905. This new, intimate and tactile medium gave the artist the opportunity to convey a wide spectrum of emotions from love and passion to loneliness and helplessness combined with irony. The detail and texture of both the sculpting and painting of the present figure compares favourably with Somov's paintings and drawings and contrasts, in the fine detail and textured paint surface, with the later superbly decorative models produced to aid the new State from 1917 onwards.
    (L. Andreeva, Soviet Porcelain 1920-1930, Moscow, 1975, pp. 29-34.)

    For a similar figure by the Imperial Porcelain Factory see O.Baranova, Kouskovo, Leningrad, 1983, not paginated, illustration 126.

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