Insight

Delighted to Announce Sale of Alexander Bogomazov “Self Portrait”

We are delighted to announce the sale of Alexander Bogomazov’s dynamic 1916 “Self Portrait” to the Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands

Self Portrait, 1916. Alexander Bogomazov

By 1916, Bogomazov had reached the apogee of his creative genius, and this “Self Portrait”, drawn whilst the artist was teaching in Gerusiya (present day Goris) in Armenia, is a vivid example of the powerful and vibrant style for which he has become famous. Permanently impecunious, Bogomazov had travelled to the Caucasus in the autumn of 1915 and was, for a time, separated from his spouse and muse, Wanda.

This shy, diffident man only revealed his full creative powers after his marriage to Wanda Monastyrska in August 1913 and his early self-portraits reflect this. It took marriage to Wanda to set free the creative in Bogomazov and, after a period apart, she joined him in Goris.

It is unclear what is emerging from the artist’s mouth in the work. Is it the act of kissing his wife? This intimate gesture, taking place in a riot of dynamics and movement, could denote joy at meeting, or sorrow at parting, the inference is not made, but the semi-circular form that is attached to the artist seems similar to the headdress which Wanda wore regularly.

The artist may be embracing his wife, the palette he holds in his right hand is certainly thrust forward. Meanwhile, at the base of the painting, lower right, are the words, ‘Self-portrait’, clearly inscribed, one of the few times when Bogomazov permitted himself such an signature. This would appear to be a conscious statement, to leave the viewer in no doubt, that this confident, futurist piece is indeed the work of this particular artist.

“Self Portrait” joins six other works by Bogomazov in the magnificent Kröller-Müllermuseum, a centrepiece for the November 2021 joint exhibition of Bogomazov and his friend, Alexander Archipenko at the same location.