Alexandre Jacovleff 1887-1938
N04988 Un Turcoman (A Turkoman) 1931
Inscribed 'A. Jacovleff | Un Turcoman | Heirat [sic] le 23 mai | 1931' b.r.
Pastel on paper, 29 7/8 x 22 1/8 (76 x 56)
Presented anonymously 1939
Prov: Purchased by the donor from Mme A. Jacovleff, the artist's mother, 1939
Exh: Alexandre Iacovleff Peintre attaché à l'Expédition Citroën Centre-Asie ... Exposition de Peintures et Dessins, Galerie J. Charpentier, Paris, May-June 1933 (186)
Lit: Maynard Owen Williams, 'The Citroën Trans-Asiatic Expedition reaches Kashmir' in National Geographic Magazine, LX, 1931, p.431
One of the drawings executed in the course of Jacovleff's journey as artistic adviser to the Citroën Trans-Asiatic Expedition, known as the 'Croisière Jaune', which set out from Beirut in April 1931 and made its way through Syria, Persia and Afghanistan, over the Khyber Pass, across the Gobi Desert and Mongolia, and finally reached Peking in February 1932. A full account of the expedition is given in G. Le Fèvre, La Croisière Jaune
The present drawing was made at Herat, Afghanistan, on 23 May 1931. A photograph reproduced by Williams, loc. cit., shows Jacovleff making a pastel of a Turkoman (possibly this very work) in the open air watched by three Turkomans, including one on horseback who appears to be the model. Underneath is the caption:
'Just as M. Jacovleff was about to start out for the bazaars of Herat in search of good models, these men rode up to offer their services. Though they are not representative of this part of Afghanistan, they made picturesque subjects.'
Another drawing of a Turkoman made at the same time is reproduced in Alexandre Iacovleff: Dessins et Peintures d'Asie (Paris 1931), pl.13. Jacovleff's exhibition at the Galerie Charpentier in 1933 included three drawings entitled 'Un Turcoman (Herat)' (184-186), presumably one of each model. That the Tate's drawing was 186 is confirmed by the fact that it was listed at the time of acquisition as 'Drawing 186 - Turcoman (Herat Afghanistan)'.
The Turkomans are a group of Turco-Tartar tribes of Central Asia, living mainly in the south of old Russian Turkistan.
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.371, reproduced p.371