Fox Hunt by Dmitri Stelletsky (1875-1947) is a highlight of Bonhams Russian Sale on Wednesday 7 June 2017 at New Bond Street, London. Painted in 1912, the work is a fine example of the influence of Art Nouveau and symbolism on Stelletsky's work, and is estimated at £100,000-120,000.
The sale also features another Stelletsky work on a hunting theme – Stag Hunt, estimated at £50,000-70,000. The two works were executed in tempera with warm, muted tones, and the predominance of green, brown and scarlet colours links these paintings to Old Russian murals.
Dmitri Stellestky began as a student of architecture and sculpture, but found most success with painting. He developed a keen interest in ancient Russian art, and was deeply inspired by early Russian Orthodox Christian imagery and Byzantine church symbolism. He used tempera in his works in the manner of icon-painters and his subjects were almost solely taken from Russian mediaeval life and history and occasionally, allegories of the seasons, or the times of day. He continuously repeated his compositions, and modified and modernised the mediaeval rubric to create his own individual style.
The formal link between Stelletsky's art and that of the Middle Ages earned him a place in Roger Fry's Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition at the Grafton Galleries in London. The landmark exhibition represented the first major display of Picasso and Matisse in Britain, and brought together modern French, English and Russian artists. Stelletsky contributed six works, which attracted the attention of several British reviewers, including a reviewer in The Times who referred to the Stag Hunt, as 'spirited and amusing'.
The Stag Hunt, The Fox Hunt and a third work, also offered in the sale, The Dusk and The Dawn (£40,000-50,000) were exhibited at the Grafton Galleries and probably later purchased by a Scottish collector.
Other highlights include:
A fine silver gilt casket, and shaded cloisonné enamel pictorial casket is estimated at £150,000-200,000.
A rare Imperial porcelain presentation tête-à-tête service, Imperial Porcelain Factory, period of Alexander II, about 1866 is estimated at £50,000-70,000.
A silver-gilt and enamel icon of Christ Pantocrator Feodor Rückert, overstruck with 'K Fabergé' and Imperial Warrant, Moscow, 1899-1908. Estimated at £18,000-20,000.
A silver-gilt and cloisonné enamel koshv, Pavel Ovchinnikov, Moscow, 1899-1908. Estimated at £40,000-50,000.
Daria Chernenko, Bonhams Head of Russian Art said, "We are delighted to offer these pictures by Dmitri Stelletsky, who contributed significantly to the understanding of modern Russian Art at a time when very little was known about it in the West. There is hardly any documentation on Stelletsky's own interpretation of his paintings, and the mystery surrounding him only serves to make his work even more fascinating".
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NOTES FOR EDITORS
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