'Lusya' signed with monogram and titled in Cyrillic, dated 'MCMIV' (1904) charcoal, pencil and watercolour on paper 43.3 x 47.2cm (17 1/16 x 18 9/16in).
Provenance: Family of the artist; Private collection, California.
Mikhail Zhuk studied art at the Nikolai Murashko School of Art in Kiev (1896-1899), and attended the classes of Valentin Serov at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture. In 1904, he graduated from Krakow Art Academy, where he studied under Stanislaw Wyspianski and Józef Mehoffer, under whose influence he developed his modernist style. Subsequently, he lived and worked in Chernigov and Odessa.
Zhuk's early works, of which the present lot is an example, reflect the influence of European modernism. The works are very stylised and decorative, with the artist often employing sinuous contours, combining them with floral and geometric motives. At the same time, these works are loaded with symbolism and emotional content. Portraiture was Zhuk's métier. His portrait drawings, executed in an expressive and defined manner, are spiritual, emotive and poetic. Highly aestheticised, the portraits also project the internal feelings of the sitter.