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L'Ecole de Paris / Marie Vassilieff (Russian, 1884-1957) Portrait of a man

The women of Montparnasse
Lot 24
Marie Vassilieff
(Russian, 1884-1957)
Portrait of a man
28 June 2022, 14:00 BST
London, New Bond Street

£8,000 - £10,000

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Marie Vassilieff (Russian, 1884-1957)

Portrait of a man
signed in Latin, inscribed 'Paris' and dated '1947' (lower right)
tempera on silk
32 x 24cm (12 5/8 x 9 7/16in).


Macdougall Arts Ltd, London, Russian Art Auction, 18 May 2005, lot 59
Private collection, UK (acquired from the above sale)

Marie Vassilieff began her studies at the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Petersburg and later moved to Paris where she took courses at the Académie de la Palette and the Académie Henri Matisse. In 1911, she founded the Russian Academy of Painting and Sculpture and a year later established the Académie Vassilieff which became a meeting place for the Parisian avant-garde.

When World War I broke out she transformed her studio into a canteen, which enjoyed growing popularity among intellectuals including Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Amadeo Modigliani, and Chaim Soutine. The venue put on shows, held conferences, literary and musical evenings, and threw legendary parties.

Vassilieff's oeuvre was deeply influenced by the Cubist movement that was shaping in Paris at the time. She was most known for her portraits of dancers and her friends, like Picasso and Matisse, as well as her decorative furniture pieces and doll-portraits. She designed for patron Paul Poiret and directed the costume-making workshops for the theatrical season of Rolf de Maré 's Ballets Suédois at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. In 1925, she created "Puppet Furniture" for the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts and two years later decorated two pillars of the renown La Coupole brewery. In 1937, she participated at the International Exhibition of Arts and Techniques in Modern Life. From 1936 to 1946, Marie Vassilieff lived and worked in Cagnes-sur-Mer.

We are grateful to Nadine Nieszawer for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.

Nieszawer & Princ, Histoires des artistes Juifs de l'École de Paris, 1905-1939, (Denoël, 2000 - Somogy, 2015) Les étoiles éditions, 2020

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