Ilya Repin’s A Parisian Café, the last great work by this preeminent Russian master in private hands, will lead Christie’s forthcoming Russian sale, which will take place on Monday 6 June in London.
A unique canvas in Repin’s work, A Parisian Café is quite atypical of his celebrated Russian subjects and marks a critical turning point in the then young artist’s burgeoning career. Painted during Repin’s stint as an student in Paris 1873-76. The finished work, exhibited in Paris in April-May 1875 under the title Un café du boulevard, provoked a heated exchange with his prime mentors, Vladimir Stasov and Ivan Kramskoi, with Repin defending his right to artistic independence.
The picture was acquired by the present owner’s grandfather, who was personally acquainted with Repin, in 1916 and appears now on the market for the first time in almost a century. It will be offered with an estimate of £3,000,000 – £5,000,000 ($4,845,000 – $8,075,000).
The sale will also include Repin’s Parisian sketch-book, estimate: £150,000-250,000 ($242,250 – $403,750), which contains over 120 exquisite drawings, including more than 70 preparatory sketches for A Parisian Café. Four more lots of Repin’s preparatory works for A Parisian Café will be offered after the sketch-book.
Repin’s masterpiece is complimented by outstanding paintings by Petr Nilus and Boris Grigoriev as well as charming works by Ivan Shishkin, Alexandre Benois and Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky. A group of 12 Russian Post-War works from the collection of Dionysios Kostakis will also appear at auction for the first time. [Christie’s]