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In front of the mirror. Reading the letter

Painting, 1870, 58×39 cm

Description of the artwork «In front of the mirror. Reading the letter»

The Picture Shishkin"The lady in front of the mirror" surfaced at the Prague auction in 2006. With a starting price of 7.5 million CZK the work was purchased in 8.9 million kronor (about 400 thousand dollars). There is reason to believe that the buyer is Russian.

The canvas depicts the artist's first wife Yevgenia Vasilyeva (Shishkin). The picture is painted in an unusual Shishkin genre. The corner of the room lit by sunlight streaming through curtained by transparent curtains of the window. Above the dressing table – twined with a vine growing in the mirror. Young woman in black dress reading a letter at a window, the envelope is thrown on the floor. Behind her in the corner with a white cloth round table on one side of which a chair, the other chair. On the wall hang three paintings. In the largest easily identify the style of Shishkin. This picture appears in the mirror. It is worth noting the magnificent roll-call of blue in the painting "Before the mirror" – the blue ribbon in the hair of women, abandoned on the chair, the cloak, the sky on a big landscape on the wall and in the mirror of this landscape... the lower a job on the left too could easily be written Shishkin. But the top left is atypical for his work, as well as the, in this case. However, the girl on the top left of the picture – also brush Shishkin is "The lady with the dog". The return of the "Lady reading a letter" clarified the attribution of the "Lady with the dog" was the last proof of authorship Shishkin. This painting also depicts a Shishkin Eugene, or Eugene, as it was called by the artist himself.

The Czech aristocratic family of the Bishops owned the painting "Before the mirror" for a long time, but for many years to hide this fact. The story of her return to the world – almost a Thriller. In the village of Kuokkala, now called Repino, and then belonged to Finland, lived the first daughter of Ivan Shishkin, Lidia, together with her husband, Swedish Baron Ridinger. In Kuokkala lived Czechoslovak diplomat Miller. He bought Ridinger written by his father-in-law picture. After the Communists came to Prague to power widowed Eva Miller quickly got rid of the painting, sold it to the friend-aristocrat Biskup. However, confiscation is not spared and Bishops. Them nearly shot, but at the last minute the decision was changed, and a family with three children moved to a house without any facilities in the forest. It was a temporary refuge, but not going too delve into the housing issue. For our story, more importantly – in 1960, the year of Czechoslovakia swept the second wave of collectivization, seized all the surviving works of art, Antiques, furniture. Shishkin's picture is also taken away. And then a miracle happened. An employee of the National gallery in Prague, which made the inventory Bishops, testified that the picture has no artistic value and can be returned to their owners. Mr. Biskup just smiles and refuses to shed light on this mystery – whether the employee of the gallery is not really understood, or they managed somehow to agree with her.

In 1989, as a result of velvet revolution Communist regime in Czechoslovakia was overthrown and started the process of returning property to owners. Biskupi got possession of his castle, and to have the opportunity to engage in the restoration, it decided to sell a few paintings. National gallery of the Czech Republic confirmed the authenticity of the Shishkin's masterpiece, the owners put it up for auction and the money restored family estate Zaluzhany. And the audience learned one more side of talent of the famous artist, less well-known than numerous landscapes, at which he had no equal.

Author: Alain Grosheva
from 1450 rub
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About the artwork

Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1870

Size: 58×39 cm

Artwork in selections: 27 selections

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