Konstantin Yuon’s winter landscape
Russian Art Week 2019  is only a weekend away, and we are eager to introduce to you another interesting lot from the upcoming auctions. Today we’re looking at Lot 64 at MacDougall’s — Konstantin Yuon’s characteristic winter “Landscape with Skiers” (1915).

Konstantin Yuon (1875–1958) was a famous Russian painter and theatre designer associated with the Mir Iskusstva. Eventually, he co-founded the Union of Russian Artists and the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia. 

Winter landscapes became Konstantin Yuon’s favourite genre in the 1910s. The young artist had just married and settled in the village of Ligachevo near Moscow. There, every day he would observe the children and the enchanting play of sun and snow, which inspired Yuon to paint an entire series of works. The “Landscape with skiers” is one of these Ligachevo works, which was painted from the artist’s impressions.

Although the temperature dropped far below zero degrees in winter, the master was undeterred and preferred to work en plein air. Although the freezing temperatures froze his fingers and solidified the paint, Yuon would start painting in the open air, and then continue working at home while waiting for the perfect natural conditions to return outside. Meanwhile, at home he would work on the texture of the canvas, perfecting it and preparing for the next open-air session — this is exactly how “Landscape with skiers” was created.

As always, the composition is masterfully executed and the small details give the picture an almost lifelike quality. The movement of the children, arrangement of the trees and the short marks of the skis in the snow create a wonderful rhythm which makes this composition quite special. Yuon masterfully captures the soft, pinkish white snow, the reflections of the sunlight, the atmosphere of crisp air and the carefree frolicking of the village children.