Alexandre Iacovleff (1887-1938)
Alexandre Iacovleff (1887-1938)
Alexandre Iacovleff (1887-1938)
Alexandre Iacovleff (1887-1938)
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Portrait of the conductor Antal Doráti (1906-1988)

Portrait of the conductor Antal Doráti (1906-1988)
signed and dated 'AIacovleff/1937.' (lower right)
sanguine on paper
30 ¾ x 22 ½ in. (78.2 x 57.3 cm.)
with Robert C. Vose Gallery, Boston.
with Maxwell Galleries, San Francisco, 1945.
Private collection, California.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 18 April 2007, lot 30.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Symphony Hall, Boston Huntington and Massachusetts Avenues. Fifty-ninth season, 1939-1940. Concert bulletin of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston, 1939, p. 169.
Exhibition catalogue, Iacovleff, San Francisco, 1939, listed p. [3], no. 59, incorrectly titled Prokofieff.
Boston, First Balcony Gallery, Boston Opera House, 1939.
San Francisco, Maxwell Galleries, Iacovleff, 1-31 October 1939, no. 59.
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Margo Oganesian
Margo Oganesian Head of Department, Fabergé and Russian Works of Art

Lot Essay

Iacovleff’s exhibition at the Maxwell Galleries in San Francisco actually included a portrait of Antal Doráti, and not Prokofieff as previously thought, which is confirmed by a reproduction of the present portrait in a clipping from an unidentified American journal in relation to this exhibition. The clipping is located in the collection of the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, Moscow (Fond. 2477. Op.1. Ed. khr. 16. L. 224).
The present drawing by the eminent Franco-Russian artist Alexandre Iacovleff presents an inspired image of Antal Doráti (1906-1988), a thirty-year-old Hungarian-American conductor, composer and rising star of symphony and orchestral conducting, who, by the time of the portrait, had already received recognition for his performances in the opera houses of Budapest, Dresden and Münster. From 1934, Antal Doráti worked as the musical director of the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, the successor to Sergei Diaghilev’s (1872-1929) celebrated ballet company, the Ballet Russes. In 1936, when the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo split into two parts, Antal Doráti continued working with Colonel Wassily de Basil (1888-1951) and René Blum’s (1878-1942) collective, also known as the Original Ballet Russe.
It was during this period, shortly before the artist left America, that Alexandre Iacovleff was invited to create a series of portraits of the performers from the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo; including Alexandra Danilova (1903-1997), Mariana Landre, Tamara Tumanova (1919-1996), Evgenia Delarova, Tatiana Riabouchinska (1917-2000), Pavel Petrov (1882–1973), among others; all led by the choreographer Léonide Massine (1896-1979). At the same time, the artist masterfully executed a portrait of the young talented conductor Antal Doráti in sanguine. As part of the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, Doráti travelled around the world until 1937, when Doráti was invited to debut as a symphonic conductor at the Washington National Orchestra.
Until 1945, the conductor served in the American Ballet Theatre, then, as an orchestral conductor, he successively headed the symphony orchestras of Dallas, Minneapolis, the British Broadcasting Corporation, Stockholm, the US National Symphony Orchestra, the Detroit and London orchestras, as well as frequently collaborating with the Hungarian Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was elected the Honorary President.
Antal Doráti was internationally recognised as a talented conductor, connoisseur and staunch supporter of contemporary music. Doráti specifically favoured the works of Béla Bartók (1881-1945) and Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971). Doráti created a large number of classical music records, including a recording of all symphonies, eight operas and three oratorios by Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), and compositions by Bartók and Zoltán Kodály (1882-1967). In 1954, Doráti was the first conductor to record the music for all three of Piotr Tchaikovsky’s (1840-1893) ballets and four of his orchestral suites.
For one of his recordings of Tchaikovsky’s suites, Doráti received a ‘gold record’ – an award from the Recording Industry Association of America for sales exceeding a million. A few years later, Doráti was awarded a ‘gold record’ again, which was a world record at that time. In 1983, Queen Elizabeth II recognised Doráti’s achievements by making him a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE). In 1979, Doráti published his memoirs Notes of Seven Decades (London, 1979).
We are grateful to Elena Yakovleva, Doctor of Art History, Senior Researcher of the Russian Institute of Art History, St Petersburg for providing this catalogue note.

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