Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné (1888-1944)
Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné (1888-1944)

La route au village

Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné (1888-1944)
La route au village
with authentication stamp signed by the artist's widow (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
27 7/8 x 35½ in. (70.9 x 90 cm.)
Painted circa 1908-1912
The Rutland Gallery, London (label on the stretcher).
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1973.
Exhibition catalogue, Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné 1888-1942, The Rutland Gallery, 1970, listed p. [7] as La route en village [sic], no. 26.
London, The Rutland Gallery, Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné 1888-1942, 1970, no. 26. (label on the stretcher).

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Anna Belousova
Anna Belousova

Lot Essay

Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné received his earliest artistic training at the notably bohemian Odessan Academy of Art (1903-1908). The academy was well-known for its liberal opinions, ensuring that the young artist was well acquainted with contemporary innovations in European painting. He then studied briefly at the St Petersburg Academy in 1909 before becoming disillusioned with their comparatively rigid approach and setting off for Paris in search of new inspiration. On his arrival in the French capital in 1910 the artist relinquished his Ukrainian birth-name of Shulim Wolf Baranoff in favour of the more European-sounding Daniel Rossiné. Branded succinctly and insightfully as a genius of multiformity by J. C. Marcadé, the artist, like so many of his countrymen was fascinated by the fervent Parisian atmosphere.

Contemplation of his oeuvre makes it clear immediately that the young artist revelled in the cacophony of influences he was thus exposed to; his output is notably diverse, his focus shifting from Cubism to Surrealism, embracing pointillist techniques and brave Impressionist brushstrokes. Baranoff-Rossiné's artistic curiosity provided him with a notable ability to 'familiarise himself not only with newly emerging styles, but also with the individual approaches of various artists, from Cézanne and Léger through to Delaunay and Picasso. His individuality does not lie in the uniqueness of the styles he adopts, but in the fact that his works can not be defined within the limits of any particular style' (Exhibition catalogue, Vladimir Baranoff-Rossiné, Moscow, 2002, p. 8).

During these early Parisian years, Baranoff-Rossiné painted several landscapes, transforming the traditional genre into decorative compositions, filled with light. La route au village falls into a period loosely defined as 1910-14 during which Baranoff-Rossine's works combined Cubist and Cézannist influences with the ideas he had taken from the masters of European Modernism and Russian Cubo-Futurism and the Avant-garde. The similarity of the white buildings and red roofs to those depicted in A small town in Normandy (1912, Private collection) would suggest that the present work depicts the same geographical location.

Exhibited at the Rutland Gallery in 1970 from where it was acquired by the present owner, La Route au village beautifully demonstrates the influence of music on the artist. The use of primary colors and defined contours create a dynamic rhythm that is reminiscent of artist's unique creation, the Optophonic Piano (1916, National Museum of Modern Art, Paris), designed to bridge visual creativity and musicality. The forms are simple and pure, the strokes are fast and the palette is bright: each element is like a single note on the stave, uniting together in a work whose balance and rhythm are full of life.

Beyond this musical and rhythmic approach of painting, the work reinvents the classic form of the landscape by unleashing a storm of colour and movement. Transforming the hackneyed theme of a static and bucolic landscape, Baranoff-Rossiné highlights a rich treatment of movement. Forms are reduced to their most simple expressions: arcs and lines, rendered in a vibrant palette of greens, reds and blues. The effect is dynamic, the viewer enters the painting, our feet tread the path guiding us down to the village surrounded by sunlit hills.

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