FILATOV ART FUND BUYS FECHIN’S IMPRESSIONISM-INSPIRED 'TAOS GIRL WITH SUNFLOWERS'
21 May 13
The acquisition of 'Taos Girl with Sunflowers' by the Filatov Art Fund further extends one of the most complete collections of Nicolai Fechin works in existence by adding this 1930s painting which is representative of the artist's important Taos period.
While best known for his works reflecting themes from the American West, Fechin's art was shaped by his formative years in Russia. Born in Kazan, to a woodcarver's family, Fechin started drawing designs for his father's workshop at the age of nine. At 13, he enrolled in the Kazan School of Art and then continued his studies at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg. A trip to Siberia in 1904 fuelled Fechin's fascination with native people and cultures, an interest that was kindled in New Mexico in his later years.
'Taos Girl with Sunflowers' is a portrait of a Native American girl, who appears to be sitting on a street with sunflowers in the background. As with other Fechin portraits, the subject's personality is expressed in the careful drawing of the eyes and hands: the girl's cautious glance reveals her alertness and her tight grip on the black blanket appears as an attempt to shield herself from the world around her. The rest of the canvas is painted in Fechin's characteristic broad, dynamic strokes and is filled with bright light reminiscent of the Impressionists.
Andrey Filatov, founder of the Fund, said: "Nicolai Fechin was one of the best portraitists of his time and this painting is a great example of his work from the Taos period. As with many Russian artists, Fechin was forced to emigrate during the Revolution, and yet despite - or because of - the hardships he endured, his artistic mastery continued to develop. Over the course of his lifetime he became widely appreciated both in Russia and in the United States."
The acquisition comes at a time of growing international interest in this prominent Russian-American artist. In 2012, the Fund's founder sponsored an exhibition of Fechin's works in the Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow, bringing together art from seven Russian and six American museums. At that exhibition, Fechin's "Portrait of Engraver William Watt", a part of the Fund's collection, was shown to the public for the first time. In 2013, the Fund also supported the exhibition of Nicolai Fechin's works at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle. The exhibition of 55 artworks from the holdings of museums in the United States and private collections in both Russia and the United States has completed on May 19.
Nicolai Ivanovich Fechin (1881-1955) was a Russian-American painter. He is best known for his portraits, full of colour and dynamism. He is both the most prominent member of the Kazan Art School as well as perceived as an American painter by many in the US. Educated in Kazan and Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg, Nikolai Fechin was a disciple of Ilya Repin. In 1923, Fechin emigrated to the US, first settling in New York and then moving to Taos, New Mexico. The artist's life and creative work were divided between Russia and US, with the artist developing a following in both countries.
'Taos Girl with Sunflowers' (circa 1930s), oil on canvas, 87 x 97 cm.