Tuesday 12 September 2023

Lot 27

Alexandra Exter, Ukrainian/French 1882-1949 - Musiciens, 1935-38; oil on canvas, signed lower...

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Lot 27

Alexandra Exter, 
Ukrainian/French 1882-1949 - 
Musiciens, 1935-38; 
oil on canvas, signed lower...

Price Realised: Unsold Lot

Estimate: £50,000 - £80,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (30% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 27


Alexandra Exter, 
Ukrainian/French 1882-1949 - 

Musiciens, 1935-38; 

oil on canvas, signed lower right 'A Exter', 60 x 81.5 cm 

Etienne Jonquet and Marc Ottavi, Hotel des Ventes de Boulougne, 20th March 1994 (sold as 'Le Concert'); 
private collection, France, purchased from the above and thence by descent 

Jean Chauvelin and Nadia Filatoff, 'Alexandra Exter, Max Milo Editions', no.343 illus. p.357 

Exter was one of the most important artists of the early 20th century associated with the Ukrainian avant-garde, her studio in Kyiv acting as a focus point for Modernist artist and ideas, alongside her contemporaries Oleksandr Bohomazov and Alexander Archipenko. Exter would explore Ukrainian folk art and culture and it would become a vital guide in her innovative approach to design and form. She later lived in Paris and exhibited alongside fellow Ukrainian artists such as Kazymyr Malevych and Sonia Delaunay and was hugely influential on both the Suprematist and Art Deco movements in painting and design.

This painting has been in a private collection of nearly 30 years and will be sold at the time of the ground-breaking exhibition ‘In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900–1930s’ touring between the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Nacional in Madrid, Museum Ludwig, Cologne and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels from 2022 to 2023, which features Exter’s work.

This is a signature work by the artist from the mid 1930s combining a grace and classicism with the interlocking planes of flattened colour of her earlier career. Exter was heavily involved in theatre design and illustration during the 1930s and her work often incorporates classical themes, with this painting suggesting the Classical Greek muses, with their flowing draperies. The carefully composed figures are painted in silhouette, creating a sense of modernity and enigma to the work. 1935-38 were an important period for the artist, with her work included in international exhibitions 'Cubism and Abstract Art' at MoMa, New York in 1935 and others in Paris in 1936 and at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa in 1938, in addition to a solo exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts, Prague in 1936. Another variant of the theme of this painting 'A group of female musicians' was sold at Sotheby's on the 28th November 2017. 

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over €1,000 as follows:
0 to €50,000 - 4%, €50,000.01 to €200,000 - 3%
€200,000.01 to €350,000 - 1%,
€350,000.01 to €500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding €500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at €12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website www.artscouncil.org.uk or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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