Michel Larionov 1881-1964
T00175 Dessin blanc
(White Drawing) 1907?
Inscribed in cyrillic 'M.L. 1907' b.l.
Gouache on paper, 9 x 13 3/8 (23 x 34)
Presented by Eugene Mollo 1958
Prov: Eugene Mollo, London (purchased from the artist through the Galerie de l'Institut 1956)
Exh: Michel Larionov: Oeuvres Anciennes et Récentes, Galerie de l'Institut, Paris, May-June 1956 (45) as 'Dessin blanc'
Lit: Mary Chamot, 'En Angleterre' in Tatiana Loguine (ed.), Gontcharova et Larionov: Cinquante Ans à Saint Germain-des-Prés (Paris 1971), pp.88-9
The artist described the subject as a still life with a goblet, pear, napkin and table (letter of 14 August 1958).
Mary Chamot has expressed some doubt about the date 1907 on this drawing, which she thinks could equally well have been done considerably later, but if this date is correct it was probably painted under the influence of Turner, whose watercolours and late 'unfinished' paintings Larionov had greatly admired at the Tate Gallery during a visit to London in the autumn of 1906. As he told Miss Chamot in a letter of 29 September 1954: 'My brother Ivan (also a painter, who died after the first world war) and I began to speak of abstraction as early as 1906, for after seeing the watercolours of Turner I did not stop thinking of non-objective pictorial art'.
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, pp.405-6, reproduced p.405