MIKHAIL MIKHAILOVICH TARKHANOV (RUSSIAN 1888-1962)
gouache on cardboard under glass
19.5 x 25.6 cm (7 11/16 x 10 1/16 in.)
signed, titled, and dated on verso
Collection of Viktor Kholodkov
Mikhail Tarkhanov was a Russian avant-garde graphic artist known for his abstract, water-based textured compositions. He graduated from the Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry in 1915, later enrolling at VKhUTEMAS, where he studied under Vasili Kandinsky and Vladimir Favorsky. From 1932 until his death, the exhibition of abstract art was banned, so he secretly pursued his abstract work while working officially for various Soviet institutions. He was able to exhibit his beautiful, unique compositions only a handful of times from 1919 to 1931, alongside artists such as Natan Altman, El Lissitzky, Kazimir Malevich, and Alexander Rodchenko. Much of his oeuvre has remained unseen until the present. Tarkhanov`s works are included in the permanent collections of the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Russian State Museum, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, and at the Getty Center. This is a prime example of one of Tarkhanov`s intricate designs created by a carefully crafted mixed medium. Provenance: the artist`s estate.
This lot comes from the collection of Viktor Kholodkov (1948-2015), who fulfilled his passion for books, avant-garde design and paper memorabilia by devoting his life to collecting and dealing of prominent works of Russian graphic art of the first half of the 20th century. The dedicated collector acquired a multitude of books and artworks throughout decades, meticulously labeling and archiving every single item. Many came directly from the most preeminent artists of the time, as well as from their families and estates. He also possessed a vast number of drawings from the famous collection of another avant-garde enthusiast, Nikolai Khardzhiev. After leaving the USSR in 1989 and settling in California, Viktor continued his work as a Soviet art dealer and critic, actively publishing various articles and contributing to several major Russian avant-garde exhibitions across the U.S., such as the 1991 Russia Under Fire in the 40s on the West Coast and the 1992 Guggenheim exhibition The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde. Kholodkov also contributed to the archives of the biggest American institutions. His sophisticated selection of over 2000 Russian sheet music covers was acquired by The Library of Congress, and an extensive amount of material related to VKhUTEMAS is now at the J. Paul Getty Museum.