Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova (Russian, 1881-1962)
Two Russian Maidens Reading/A Preparatory Drawing for a Poster Design for J. Povolozky & Cie., Paris, c. early 1920s
Pencil on Arches MBM watermarked paper, 22 1/8 x 17 7/8 in. (56.1 x 45.4 cm), unmatted, unframed.
Condition: Toning, soiling particularly to the edges of the sheet, remnants of old hinges on the reverse.
Provenance: Collection of Jon P. Dorsey.
Literature: Anthony Parton, Goncharova: The Art and Design of Natalia Goncharova (Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 2010), p. 296, plate 365.
Exhibitions: Natalia Goncharova and the Russian Folk Art Tradition, Hatton Gallery, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, October 19-November 26, 1996.
N.B. In 1919 Natalia Goncharova was living in Paris, entering what would be a rich period in her career. She worked successfully across many different media, designing for the stage as well as easel painting, and moved fluidly between abstract and figurative styles, often blending traditional Russian imagery and contemporary avant-garde styles. She continued to create stage and costume designs for Diaghilev and was hailed for her modern yet personal interpretation of eastern and Byzantine art. During this period Goncharova became more deeply involved with graphic design, illustrating musical scores, books, posters, and magazines. Her illustrations for Pushkin's The Tale of Tsar Saltan were particularly noted for their fusion of contemporary styles with nostalgic imagery. In the early 1920s Goncharova was commissioned by Jacques Povolozky to design a poster to promote his Franco-Russian publishing house and bookshop in Paris. In her preparatory drawings, Goncharova represented two traditionally garbed Russian maidens reading Povolozky books beneath an arch of foliage. The drawing at hand is a preparatory study for that poster.
No additional conditions issues to report.
From detailed inspection of the drawing, we can see that Concharova made substantial compositional changes to the figure on the left. She altered the position of the lady's face, visible in the pentimenti of the placemement of the earrings, the lawline, and the nose. Concharova also altered the configuration of the same figure's hand, visible in the pentimenti around the figure's figures.
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