ILYA REPIN (Russian, 1844-1930)
    Portrait of a Russian Peasant, 1892
    Oil on canvas laid on board
    19-1/4 x 11-7/8 inches (48.9 x 30.0 cm)
    Signed lower left in Cyrillic and dated: 1892

    Christie's, July 2000

    Ilya Efimovich Repin is historically considered one of Russia's most influential artists, many believing him to be one of the foremost national artists whose oeuvre best represents the Russian realist works so popular today. He rose from humble beginnings to being much sought after in his day, his work being collected by the great Pavel Tretyakov, who assembled the remarkable collection that is today the public Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Indeed, Repin's own portrait of Pavel Tretyakov occupies a prominent place within the gallery's walls.

    Ilya Repin's Portrait of a Russian Peasant reflects his humble birth in 1844 in the Ukraine, the son of a soldier-settler who saw to it that his son received instruction in art at the age of 14. He received tutelage under the famous icon painter I. M. Bunakov, but Repin's goal was to make his way to St. Petersburg and enter the Imperial Academy. After stints at the School of Drawing and the Society for the Encouragement of the Arts, he was accepted at the Academy and prospered, ultimately winning the gold medal which brought with it a six-year scholarship to travel Europe and hone his skills.

    While Repin completed many masterpieces such as his award-winning Resurrection of Jarius' Daughter and Barge Haulers on the Volga, Repin never left his roots and continued depicting the realist aspect of Russian life in his pictures. In Portrait of a Russian Peasant Repin delivers an iconic look at the everyday man, his typical dress and surroundings, and his steely determination and dignity. It was Repin's continued representations of Russian life such as this portrait that caused him to join the famed Wanderers (Peredvizhniki) group, a rebellious group of artists founded in part by the great Mikhail Klodt who travelled Russia exhibiting their work to the masses, even as Repin occupied the lofty position of instructor at the St. Petersburg Academy.

    Ilya Efimovich Repin's legacy lies substantially in his portraiture work, whether that of the great Tretyakov or the Russian Peasant. He sought to capture the person and convey their message to the wider world. In his composition he delivers the essence of the person, from the contemplative Tretyakov to the stern and determined peasant and everyone in between, including the celebrated work depicting Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan, which occupies a prominent place at the Tretyakov Gallery today. It is the picture offered here that best exemplifies the high point period and power of Repin's work. Although he continued to work well into the 20th century (he died in 1930), Repin did not complete any masterpieces during the period. He rejected the Bolshevik Revolution and moved to Finland, where he died on his estate "Penates."

    Estimate: $45,000 - $60,000.

    Condition Report*:

    Condition report available upon request.

    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2008
    14th Friday
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