The Filatov Art Fund has acquired Fedot Sychkov’s 'At the market' (1937), a painting of Russian rural life with his characteristic style of depicting multi-figure compositions in bright colours but without the excessive embellishments typical of most socialist realist art.

Sychkov was born in a poor family in the village of Kochelaevo in the Mordovia region of Russia, which was the inspiration for many of his works. His artistic education started at a local icon workshop, but subsequently continued in St. Petersburg where he studied under scholars such as Ilya Repin, one of the most famous Russian painters and sculptors. After the October Revolution, he moved back to his home village, where he faithfully depicted everyday rural life and people, mainly focusing on Mordovian girls.

'At the Market' depicts some girls selling their produce at a rural market and is representative of Sychov’s ability to highlight single characters within a group composition, reminiscent of his early formation as an icon painter. The painting’s austere pallet is splashed with the bright reds and yellows of traditional scarves and dresses, as well as of the apples and tomatoes. In line with other Social Realist artists he depicts everyday life but does not glorify the roles and struggle of the people represented. Instead he focuses on a young girl who is happily engaging with people at the market stall and celebrating the end of the season’s work. In contrast to many other contemporary socialist realist artworks, Sychov depicts the villagers in their traditional Mordovian clothes.

The authenticity of the artwork was confirmed by extensive laboratory analysis. Comparative x-ray examination of the painting and other of the author’s works showed an identical light structure. Infrared analysis has demonstrated the artist’s original sketch image. The date on the signature is consistent with the physical conditions of art materials used.

Andrey Filatov, founder of the Fund, said: “Sychkov is one of the most significant Russian artists of the first half of the last century. He had a rare ability to bring individual characters to life from within larger groups of people through the careful use of detail and colour. Although his works can be viewed as fairly representative of the widespread interest of Socialist Realist painters in rural themes, his evident love for the Mordovian people and culture adds an important dimension.’’

Fedot Vasiliyevich Sychkov (1870-1958) is a Russian artist, who has specialised in landscape and genre painting. In 1892, he was accepted into the Drawing School of the St Petersburg Society for the Benefit of Artists. Between 1885 and 1900 he was a pupil at the Academy of Arts and also had private instruction from Ilya Repin before reaching the official status of “artist” in 1900. From 1905 he took part in annual exhibitions at the Academy of Arts, St Petersburg Artists Society and later at numerous exhibitions around the Soviet Union. His works are in the collections of the State Russian Museum, the S.D Erzia’s Mordovia State Museum of Fine Art, as well as private collectors.


'At the market' (1937), oil on canvas, 78.9 x 101.2 cm