“Still Life with Lilacs” by Petrov-Vodkin exhibited in Moscow
16.05.2019
“Still Life with Lilacs” painted by famous Russian artist Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin will be exhibited in the Moscow space of Christie’s  auction house between 16–17 May.

The master’s work can be viewed in Moscow for just two days. It’s one of the top lots of the upcoming auction in June and, of course, the painting is worth a visit. 

Despite the fact that the picture is tentatively priced at £ 1–1.5 million, Christie's experts believe that it may be able to qualify for a new record for the artist’s paintings — at the moment it’s “Apples and Eggs” sold at MacDougall’s for £ 2.3 million in 2012.

The picture was painted by the artist in 1928, but despite the fact that it participated in several exhibitions and is plenty mentioned in correspondence, the canvas disappeared in the 1930s. It turned out that the work was most likely exchanged for the 1927 painting “Portrait of Giovanni Scheiwiller” by Italian artist Achille Funi. The initiator of the exchange was Boris Ternovets, an art historian and critic. His partner in exchange was the art historian and publisher Giovanni Scheiwiller, who introduced Ternovets to Giorgio Morandi, and as a sign of gratitude he received a still life by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin in exchange for a picture by his Italian contemporary.

It is interesting that the painting was kept in the family of Scheiwiller for many years, but nobody really thought about investigating it’s true value. The news of its valuation of more than a million pounds was undoubtedly a pleasant surprise.

Moreover, Christie’s also noted the reverse side of the picture, where various stickers have survived the test of time, including ones which reveal participation in the Venice Biennale and the exhibition at the Carnegie Institute in the United States in 1928. Experts also found a second, inverted date in the corner of the picture which suggests that the artist had already used the canvas once before. The infrared pictures revealed that under the picture there is in fact another — the unfinished “Madonna and Child”. The drawing for the “Madonna” is kept in a private collection.

The painting will later travel to the Russian Art Week in London, and will appear at the Christie’s auction of Russian art, which will be held on June 3. More than 300 lots will be presented, including Sergei Chekhonin’s collection of graphic works, Anna Ostroumova-Lebedeva's woodcuts, Pavel Chelishchev's “Portrait of Ava Astor”, and products from Faberge.