Painted in 1924, two years after Gorbatov emigrated, Golden autumn is an evocative depiction of rural Russia, with its overwhelming natural beauty and tranquillity. At the height of his success abroad and participating regularly in international art exhibitions, including those at the Hague in 1924 and in Pittsburgh in 1925, Gorbatov achieved both popularity and acclaim for his almost architectural landscapes that were masterfully constructed with key elements, most recognisably the spindly, curved trunks of native birches, topped with fiery heads of gold.
An impressive, large-scale work, Golden autumn exemplifies Gorbatov’s Russian landscapes, which according to Igor Grabar (1871-1960) were the artist’s preferred subjects: ‘[…]more than anything he liked the backyards of the provincial northern cities towards the end of winter, when the snow turned grey and sludgy, when the first puddles start to appear and the birches come back to life.’
Gorbatov settled permanently in Berlin in 1926 and it is likely that Golden autumn was acquired by the original owner, Hans Müller circa 1930. Since then, it has remained in a private collection and appears at auction for the first time. For further information on Konstantin Gorbatov, see lots 11 and 61.