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Spaightwood Galleries

120 Main Street, Upton MA 01568-6193; 800-809-3343; email sptwd@verizon.net

Updated 8-21-11
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Mikhail Larionov (Russian, 1881-1964): Drawings and Pochoirs

"Käthe Kollwitz and German Expressionism" featured over fifty works by Käthe Kollwitz plus additional works by Josef Albers,
Ernst Barlach, Rudolf Bauer, Max Beckmann, Peter Behrens, Heinrich Campendonck, Marc Chagall, Lovis Corinth,
Otto Dix, Lyonel Feininger, Conrad Felixmuller, Hans Fronius, Alfons Graber, Otto Greiner, Georg Grosz, Erich Heckel,
Hannah Hoch, Karl Hofer,Wassily Kandinsky, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Paul Klee, Oskar Kokoschka, Ludwig Meidner,
Edvard Munch, Gabrielle Munter, Heinrich Nauen, Emile Nolde, Max Pechstein, Hilla von Rebay, Georges Rouault,
Rudolf Schlichter, Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, Siegfried Schott, Georg Tappert, Wilhelm Wagner, and others.

German Expressionist Drawings

The Russians: Chagall, Sonia Delaunay, Goncharova, Larionov, and Malevich
Larionov was one of the leading members of the pre-Revolutionary Russian avant-garde. Moving from an art that blended Russian folk-motifs with Fauvist colors, he and Natalia Goncharova, his lifelong companion whom he eventually married in 1955, were involved in the Knave of Diamonds Group, The Donkey's Tail exhibition of 1912, and the Target exhibition of 1913 at which he and Goncharova proclaimed Rayonism, one of the earliest Russian abstract movements. In 1914, Larionov and Goncharova went to Paris with Diaghilev's Ballet Russes. They returned to Russia right before World War I broke out. Larionov served in the army, was wounded, and, after being sent home, he and Goncharova left Russia permanently in 1915, staying in Switzerland briefly before returning to Paris in 1919. His most productive years were devoted to designing for the Ballet Russes and for Lord Berners. Larionov and Goncharova were the subjects of joint retrospectives in London and Paris before his death; Goncharova has been the subject of a number of exhibitions, including a group show of Russian women avant-garde artists at the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice during the Spring of 1990.

According to Anthony Parton in his study of Larionov (Princeton University Press, 1998), Larionov began collaborating with Lord Berners in 1917. Berners had written the music for Marches Funèbres: Pour une Tante à Heritage in 1914; he and Larionov planned for a performance that would feature shadow puppets by Larionov and Lord Berners' music (pages 160-61). In 1919, a folio was published, L'art Décoratif Théâtral containing 8 prints and 6 pochoirs (including both of ours; see page 235, n. 1; see also color plates 19 and 21). At the same time, Larionov was planning four ballets, possibly planning to incoprporate his designs from L'art Décoratif Théâtral. He was also working on Le Bouffon, which Diaghilev planned to stage under the Russian title of Chout (pages 178-185). In 1921, Larionov signed a contract agreeing to become artistic director for 3 months and left to join the company in Madrid, where he worked with Prokofiev (the composer for the piece) and Slavinsky. When the ballet was produced in 1921, Larionov accompanied the company to Monte Carlo (for rehearsals) and then to Paris and London for performances. While it is not certain that our pieces were actually designed for a Diaghilev performance, it is likely that the designs played a part in the final costumes for Le Bouffon / Chout.

Select Bibliography: Anthony Parton, Mikhail Larionov and the Russian Avant-Garde (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993); Francois Daulte and Jean Goldman, Larionov / Goncharova (Bruxelles: Musée d'Ixelles, 1976: Texts by the artists and Guillaume Apollinaire); Waldemar George, Larionov (Paris, Bibliotheque des Arts, 1996); Yevgeny Kovtun, Mikhail Larionov 1881 - 1964 (Bournemouth: Parkstone, 1998); Gleb G. Pospelov et al, Natalija Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov (Milan: Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta, 1996); Arturo Schwartz, Larionov / Goncharova: Mostra collettiva (Milano: Galleria Schwarz, 1961).
Woman with cat. Ink and blue-green wash on laid paper. Dedicated to "Au cher et tres aimable M. Lambert / M. Larionov." The woman in the drawing bears a very strong resemblance to the photograph of Goncharova reprinted in Gleb G. Pospelov et al, Natalija Goncharova and Mikhail Larionov (Milan: Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta, 1996), p. 155. Larionov and Goncharova lived together for almost all of their lives from 1911 until just before Larionov's death when they were finally married. The woman in this drawing looks a few years older than the 1910 photograph mentioned above. Larionov's signture matches that on a drawing reproduced in Yevgeny Kovtun, Mikhail Larionov 1881 - 1964 (Bournemouth: Parkstone, 1998), "Apollinaire and Diaghilev in the wings," p. 157 (the page itself is unnunbered), which is dated 1917. Image size: 172x237mm. Price: $6750.
The Peacock Mechanical Costume (Parton, pl. 19). Original color pochoir, 1919. Edition: published in Art Decoratif Théâtral Moderne, 1919 (15 deluxe portfolios, a deluxe edition of 100 contining 8 pochoirs and an edition of 400 contining 6 pochoirs. Our impression is from one of these 3 editions). With the stamped signature lower right. Horizontal fold in center, as usual; colors fresh. Image size: 408x240mm. Price: $2750.

The blues and the reds are actually a bit stronger than they appear in our photo. The paper color is actually a more yellow color cream.
Character for "March funèbre" (Parton, pl. 21). Original color pochoir, 1919. Edition: published in Art Decoatif Thèâtral Moderne, 1919 (15 deluxe portfolios, a deluxe edition of 100 contining 8 pochoirs and an edition of 400 contining 6 pochoirs. Our impression is from one of these 3 editions). With the stamped signature upper left. Horizontal fold in center, some yellowing; colors fresh. Image size: 382x115mm. Price: SOLD.

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