The Filatov Family Art Fund has purchased "Laundresses" (1957), a painting by renowned Russian brothers Sergey and Alexey Tkachev, from the Royal Collection. The artwork belongs to the period when the Tkachevs mostly worked "en plein air" and produced numerous sketches of simple and mesmerising village life.

Reworking the composition several times, the artists have created three versions of the painting. The canvas purchased by the fund was given to the British Prime Minister John Major in the early 90's during a visit to the Ukraine. John Major later gave the painting to the Royal Collection, where it was before the sale.

The artwork is dominated by the group of women washing clothes in a river on a warm Summer's day. The women are standing on a wooden jetty bending over their washbowls. Children are swimming and splashing in the water in the background. Strong, nimble figures move cohesively and with precision. Beams of sunlight reflect from the water, naked shoulders and calves. The laborious task becomes a joyful social event and two women smile broadly at the viewer.

Female chores like washing up and drying clothes are among the subjects often used by artists in the 1950s-60s to express admiration for Russian countrywomen. The careful composition is based on real life situations in village life which the brothers depicted throughout their career. In fact, painted freely with large brushstrokes, this artwork, full of fresh air and glittering colour, continues the traditions of Russian impressionism.

Andrey Filatov, the founder of the Fund, said: "The Tkachev brothers are among the most influential artists of the Moscow School and their unique artistic union is widely recognised by critics and the public alike. We are delighted to add this important artwork to our collection."

Sergey (born 1922) and Alexey (born 1925) are famous Russian artists, both are full members of the Academy of Arts of the USSR, the People's Artists of the USSR, laureates of the Repin State Prize and the State Prize of the USSR. The brothers were born in a village in the Bryansk region. During the war, Sergey served in the army, while Alexey was working at a defence factory in the Urals. After the war, both Alexey and Sergey graduated from the famed Surikov Institute, where they studied under the outstanding artist S.V. Gerasimov. Since 1950, the brothers have worked together as one artist on the same canvases, creating some remarkable masterpieces. They have also worked independently, each of them developing their own individual styles. The Tkachev brothers' works are owned by the State Tretykov Gallery, the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Tkachev Brothers Museum in Bryansk and other museums and private galleries. Their paintings have been exhibited at the Smithsonian International Gallery in Washington, D.C, and the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.

“Laundresses” (1957), the Tkachev brothers

'Laundresses' (1957), oil on canvas, 120 x 165.5