Lot 168*. GRITSAI, ALEXEI (1914-1998) Golden Autumn. Forest River , signed and dated 1985–1986, also further signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated 1984–1991 on the stretcher.

Sold: £ 35 100
Auction date: 29.11.2017   11:30 UTC +01:00
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ID 12230
Lot 168* | GRITSAI, ALEXEI (1914-1998) Golden Autumn. Forest River , signed and dated 1985–1986, also further signed, titled in Cyrillic and dated 1984–1991 on the stretcher.
Oil on canvas, 79 by 119 cm.
Provenance: Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner.
Important private collection, USA.

Exhibited: Aleksei and Alexander Gritsai. Father and Son. Retrospective, Exhibition Hall of the Russian Academy of Arts, Moscow, March 1994.

Literature: Exhibition catalogue, Aleksei and Alexander Gritsai. Father and Son. Retrospective, Scottsdale, Overland Gallery, 1994, p. 13, illustrated; p. 25, listed as Golden Autumn. A Forest Rivulet.

The “golden autumn” theme – one of the most lyrical in Russian classicalpainting – occupies a particular place in the oeuvre of Alexei Gritsai. Regarding himself as a disciple of Isaac Levitan and Aleksei Savrasov, the artist deliberately rejects the monumental and epic approach of the Soviet landscape school and seeks to preserve and convey, even in the most extensive of his canvases, the impression of an intimate, lyrical landscape by focusing on some tiny, “unremarkable” part of nature.

The landscape Golden Autumn. Forest River, over a metre long, that is presented for auction is a remarkable example of the genre. It is painted fluidly and with a light touch and seems to have been produced on a single impulse, yet, like much of the artist’s best work, it is the result of many years of creative effort. Following on from countless outdoor studies, Gritsai always sought in his large, complete compositions to capture the actual elusive movement of autumn, the sense of the quiet, but intense and unstoppable life of nature. The muted, restrained tints in a variety of elaborate grey-blue, silvery-opalescent and yellow-green shades convey with consummate skill the impression of the autumnal forest on the banks of the riverMsta (Novgorod region), now overgrown with birch saplings – one of the artist’s favourite motifs.

Despite his unfailing love for the golden autumn motif, Gritsai never repeated anything in composition or colour, avoiding any definite, perfected colour scheme, since he thought that, however similar the situations in the natural world may be, nature does not allow of any exact repetition.

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