DescriptionBORIS IZRALLOVICH ANISFELD (Russian, 1879-1973)
Caesar and Cleopatra,
Oil on canvas
38-3/8 x 57-1/2 inches (97.5 x 146.1 cm)
Signed lower right in Cyrillic
Van Ham Kunstauktionen, 9 April 2005, lot 1664.
Tretyakov Gallery Certificate number K1716/16.
An artist of much acclaim during his lifetime, not only for striking pictures such as Caesar and Cleopatra, Boris Anisfeld was also an accomplished theater designer in Moscow and Paris. A 1900 graduate of the Odessa Art School, he was a member and exhibitor of the Union of Russian Artists and the World of Art groups. He also studied under the celebrated Ilya Repin at the Imperial Academy. Prior to leaving Russia he was made a sociétaire of the Salon d'Automne in 1906. From 1917 onward he worked in the United States and completed set designs for the New York Metropolitan Opera and the Chicago Opera.
This painting shows Anisfeld at his best. His Impressionist work brought him much attention in New York where he exhibited allegorical works like this one, with Antony raging at the foot the steps over the body of Cleopatra, his subjects writhing at his wrath.
Anisfeld would move on to teach at the Art Institute of Chicago, where his students included LeRoy Neiman. He would later travel the American Southwest and complete colorful landscapes, but this work is from his time in Russia, when he completed the classical paintings for which he is still much in demand.
Craquelure to the sky portion of the picture.
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