A superb example of Nicolai Fechin's work, The Drum Player is indicative of his Taos, New Mexico period, which combines a predilection for modern art while simultaneously capturing the realism of an intimate glimpse into the region's Native American life. Trained at the Imperial Academy in St. Petersberg, Fechin developed a quick and dramatic approach to painting. He immigrated to the United States in 1923, and settled in Taos, a burgeoning art colony, in 1926.
Fechin flourished in the bright light and intense color of the region. He quickly developed a great respect and affection for the native peoples of the area, and often included them in his compositions. Interested in portraiture throughout his career, he maintained a keen sense of capturing the individuality of those who posed for him. Using pure color applied directly onto the canvas with broad strokes of a palette knife, Fechin would then often discard his artists' tools and use his thumb to re-work the finer qualities of the sitter's expression and moods. He worked quickly, sometimes violently attacking the canvas with his palette knife, often causing his sitters to become apprehensive.
A letter from Eya Fechin Branham, daughter of the artist, dated July 7, 1991, accompanies the lot.