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Yuri Annenkov (1889-1974)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Yuri Annenkov (1889-1974)

L'Arc de Triomphe

Yuri Annenkov (1889-1974)
L'Arc de Triomphe
signed 'G. Annenkoff.' (lower left); further signed and inscribed 'G. Annenkoff. - Paysage Arch[triomp]hal' (on the stretcher)
oil on canvas
51 ¾ x 38 in. (131.4 x 96.5 cm.)
with Galerie Jeune Peinture, Paris (label on the stretcher).
Collection of Bernard Davis (1891-1973), Philadelphia, until at least 1931 (label on the stretcher).
Property from a Deceased Estate; Christie's, London, 14 June 1995, lot 166.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
G. Annenkov, Crime a' San-Francisco. Re´cit. Orne´ de huit lithographies originales de Georges Annenkoff, Paris, 1927, reproduced as a lithograph.
Exhibition catalogue, A Time to Gather… Russian Art From Foreign Private Collections, Italy, 2007, p. 203, no. 141, illustrated p. 202.
Probably, Philadelphia, Grillon Galleries, Inc., 1931, no. 13 (partial label on the stretcher).
St Petersburg, State Russian Museum; and Moscow, Tsaritsyno Museum, A Time to Gather... Russian Art From Foreign Private Collections, February-July 2008, no. 141.
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
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Lot Essay

Annenkov left the USSR at the peak of his career and widespread recognition. In early September 1924, he settled in Paris where he rapidly gained respect for his artistic skills. His name was already well known in Europe following the success of his portrait of Trotsky, exhibited at the Venice Biennale that same year. Annenkov’s friends, which included both those he met in Paris before the First World War and various artists who immigrated to France in the wake of the Russian Revolution, were very supportive and invited him to participate in group exhibitions. In this way, he began to establish relationships with French art dealers and, significantly, signed a contract with Bernheim-Jeune, one of Paris’s most prestigious galleries.
Between 1926 and 1928, Annenkov participated in twenty-eight exhibitions: seven in 1926, nine in 1927, and twelve in 1928. In 1928-1929 he enjoyed his first solo shows in Paris and the U.S.A.. A particularly significant exhibition in which several of his works were showcased was the Écoles de Paris. Exposition of Modernists at the Bernard Davis Gallery in Philadelphia in 1929, an exhibition organised in collaboration with the Institut Français. L‘Arc de Triomphe was probably exhibited at the Grillon Galleries in 1931 (no. 13) as part of Annenkov’s solo show, when it was already in the collection of Bernard Davis (1891-1973), who, along with Maurice Speiser (1880-1948), was a dedicated collector of the artist’s works. In Courthion’s monograph (Georges Annenkoff, Paris: Ed. de Chroniques du Jours, 1930), both names are mentioned as the owners of the works reproduced in the edition.
During his time in Paris Annenkov changed his priorities: his energy and time were no longer devoted to theatre, but to paintings and graphic works including book illustrations. His style changed dramatically and he began to favour still-life compositions and cityscapes, the latter celebrating architectural monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and the Pantheon, as well as the city outskirts.
L’Arc de Triomphe is a typical example of Annenkov’s new manner of painting: a schematic drawing, almost like a blueprint briefly outlines the monument, the windows of houses, several trees and a street light. Unlike his graphic illustrations, where cities are represented as busy metropolises teeming with crowds of people and cars, solitude and calmness prevail in his paintings of the same period. This is in part due to the colour palette of his paintings, which was generally restricted to one or two colours. This graphical quality of painting is evident even when the artist worked exclusively with colour patches: his painting remained intentionally flat and schematic. His Parisian works differed to his pre-immigration ones to such an extent that visitors of the 1928 exhibition of French art in Moscow, where Annenkov’s works were on view, allegedly could not believe their eyes.
Another typical feature of the artist’s works from this period is that many of them were preceded by preliminary studies in ink or pencil. In particular, this pairing was commonly found in his still-life paintings and cityscapes. Although these graphic works were used by the artist as preliminary studies, they were, at the same time, finished pieces and were shown at exhibitions and reproduced in books and magazines. L’Arc de Triomphe has its own graphic study, which is reproduced on the frontispiece of E. d’Astier, Passage d’une Americaine, Paris, Au Sans Pareil, 1927. The composition contains the same elements: a lone street lamp in the foreground and trees on the sides. However, it is somewhat enlivened by small cars visible from above on the Champs-Élysées, which serve to emphasise the scale and magnitude of the monument.
We would like to thank Dr Irina Obuchowa-Zelinska, author of numerous publications on Annenkov, for providing this note.

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