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    Portrait of E.T. Barkova, 1921
    Oil on canvas
    26 x 21 inches (66.0 x 53.3 cm)

    Pushkin Collection, acquired from the collection of the artist's daughter, Lili Osmerkina.

    A.A.Osmerkin. Album of the exhibition in Moscow. 1989 (in Russian)
    A. Nikich. Osmerkin. Moscow 1981 (in Russian)

    At a first sight, the portrait in question looks like a mirror image of the famous masterpiece Portrait of E.T. Barkova (1925, oil on canvas, 112 x 85 cm., art inv.# 8151) in the collection of the State Russian Museum. After careful examination, however, it is clear that this portrait is a completely independent work. Painted earlier, yet belonging to the same general period, this work is smaller in size and considerably more intimate. There is no "demonstrative" right hand with a wedding ring, and her glance is full of intrigue. The two portraits obviously share the great personality of E.T. Barkova, but they never repeat each other, even in their skillful use of Osmerkin's famous mix of blue cobalt, red ochre and burnt sienna.

    In the second half of 1920s Osmerkin began a more classic, but clearly unique, style of portraiture. His affection for great Dutch, Italian, Spanish and French masters, as well as adoration for Surikov, Ivanov, and Repin, was translated into a number of very powerful portraits in late 1920s. This portrait of Barkova is free of any "impressionistic distortions." Barkova looks aside in a gentle, understated manner.

    Elizaveta Timofeevna Barkova was the first wife of the painter, and this affectionate portrait exhibits a wonderful understanding of her personality, her mood and tone. Her gorgeous creamy-white lace shawl and fancy feather fan, together with her red lips and red armchair fabric, serve as bright spots against the otherwise darker interplay of dozens of shades of blue, black, gray; the tender rosy-white skin of her face and left hand, her marble white chest and sky blue eyes radiate a very unusual romantic atmosphere with penetrating psychological intensity.

    Some sources suggest that in the mid-1920s she was very friendly with R. Falk, who was also competing for her time and attention. Most of Osmerkin's portraits, when produced, were not signed. This one, being very intimate, was never displayed publicly.

    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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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. Heritage does not guarantee the condition of frames and shall not be liable for any damage/scratches to frames, glass/acrylic coverings, original boxes, display accessories, or art that has slipped in frames. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    4th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,001

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

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