Natalya Nesterova - The John L. Stewart Collection of Russian Contemporary Art London Friday, October 12, 2007 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Klauke Collection, Germany

  • Exhibited

    New York, Hal Bromm Gallery, Natalya Nesterova, Recent Works from Moscow, 1988; Ridgefield (Connecticut), Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Adaptation & Negation of Socialist Realism, June 9 – October 7, 1990; Montréal, Quebec, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal, Natalya Nesterova, April 17 - June 17, 1992

  • Literature

    M. Tupitsyn, Natalya Nesterova: Recent Works from Moscow, New York, 1988, n.p. (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Inviting the viewer to share a sense of surprise before a world of destroyed logical connections, Nesterova makes use of the vocabulary of surrealism – very important for virtually all Soviet artists of that generation, both the official and unofficial ones equally: concealed faces, mirrors that do not reflect truthfully, strange scenes built on the effect of alienation, distorted perspectives. The overall sensation of the absurd for everyone who had matured during the years of stagnation, of the confusing shades of meaning in this painting, does not turn into existentialist despair: there is a cozy city filled with greenery beyond the window, festive animation reigns in the restaurant hall. It is only the woman in the foreground that reminds us of the homogenous plaster-like whiteness of virtually all of Nesterova’s works – the other heroes are festively dressed up, although the stiffness of the motion resembles that of plaster statutes that have fled from the park. This sweeping picturesque manner that was accepted in the late USSR, the thickly applied paint that the artist uses not really to draw, but rather it is as though she sculpts figures from it, makes her paintings almost three-dimensional. One of the brightest and persistent stars of the epoch of stagnation, Nesterova was and remains one of the figures who define Russian artistic life. She is the winner of numerous prizes and awards, including the State Prize and the independent prize “Triumph,” a member of the Academy of the Arts, an Honored Artist of Russia. Approximately during those years when The Red Interior was painted, she won the All-Union Competition for “The Best Painting of the Year” three times, and at that time she also began to cooperate actively with the Ludwig Gallery. Virtually the only one, she was able to combine the incompatible: to maintain her independence and to win the genuine adoration of the ever-changing artistic authorities. Her style that was maximally free given the limitations that existed in the USSR but was still realistic, did not demand excursions into forbidden territory and virtually did not change after all these prohibitions disappeared. Despite her classical artistic education and rank of professor, Nesterova belongs mostly to the school of enlightened professional primitivism rather than following the realistic tradition. - Faina Balakhovskaya


Red Interior (Restaurant)

Oil on canvas in two parts.
43 1/4 x 90 1/2 in. (109.9 x 229.9 cm) overall.
Signed, titled and dated “1986 Nesterova N. Red Interior (Restaurant) [in Cyrillic]” on the reverse of each panel.

£25,000 - 35,000 ‡♠

Sold for £33,600

The John L. Stewart Collection of Russian Contemporary Art

13 October 2007, 6pm