MacDougall's Fine Art Auctions Important Russian Art Auction - Wednesday 5th June 2019
KOROVIN, KONSTANTIN (1861–1939) Boulogne , signed, inscribed ""Boulogne"" and dated 1935. Oil on canvas,
50.5 by 61 cm. Provenance: Private collection, Italy, until the late 1990s. Private collection, Croatia.
Boulogne belongs to a series of vibrant, superbly executed paintings that Konstantin Korovin painted over a number of years on his trips to the country and the seaside. His contemporaries recalled that he would randomly interrupt a stroll, or bring his driver to a halt, exclaiming: “Stop! I want to paint!” Then, Korovin would make an impromptu sketch, transforming a seemingly unremarkable scene into a lovely landscape, with all the elements coherently organised into an integral composition.
In Korovin’s French and Crimean landscapes, it becomes especially apparent that the process of painting was more important to the artist than the subject, and the fragmentary, sometimes incidental composition is only a pretext for creating a veritable poem of light and colour. Boulogne is one of such spontaneous works, which showcase Korovin’s consummate skills and the main principle that guided his artistic pursuits: “More pleasure, more brightness”.
Korovin was unfailingly sensitive to the decorative aspect of the scenes he depicted. This comes through in the graceful rhythm unifying the short brushstrokes that make up the space of the street and the sky. However, it is the light that creates the picture’s sense of wholeness: the shining light of the sun casting coloured reflections off the objects, as well as dark-blue and lilac-grey shadows.