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Lot #27 

Otakar Kubín (1883–1969)

Siguret Lake

oil on canvas
73 × 92 cm
Estimate: 1,500,000 CZK - 2,000,000 CZK
Starting price: 1,200,000 CZK
Hammer price:
1,900,000 CZK

This beautiful painting of absolutely unique character represents the landscape of the French Alps and the work of one of our most important artists in European context. Few Czech painters have received such appreciation abroad as Kubín, who lived more than half his life in the south of France and competed with the greatest contemporary painters with his fine, noble brushwork and neoclassical style. Provence became an inexhaustible source of inspiration for him. The landscape on the foothill of the low Alps provided him with an abundance of possibilities for its depiction, as well as local fruits, vegetables, and flowers, from which he created compositions for his still lives. However, the presented canvas differs slightly from Kubín’s usual work in terms of style and subject-matter. In this case, he was looking for inspiration a little higher in the mountains, and thus he adapted the style of painting, which is almost close to the perfection of German and Austrian landscape-realists of the 19th century. The depicted Siguret Lake is surrounded with green slopes, yet the beholder can already sense the cold glacial lakes somewhere higher in the mountains. The snow-capped peaks of the Alps in the background frame the whole scene. Despite the uniqueness of the subject-matter and its rendition, there is still a great subtlety and sensitivity that are typical of Kubín’s work. He captured the surface of the earth and water with an almost tangible softness and depicted the character of the landscape in round shapes. Thanks to his fine brushwork, Kubín became an integral part of the so-called Paris School, which was liberated from academism and historicism, yet very independent and specific in each of its artists and their perception of the French environment. A close variant of this painting was reproduced as a heliogravure under number 21 in the publication Les Artistes Nouveaux by Charles Kunstler (ed. G. Crés et Cie, 1929), which featured artists such as Marc Chagall, Maurice Denise, and James Ensor. Assessed during consultations by prof. J. Zemina and PhDr J. Machalický. From the attached expertise by PhDr. K. Srp: “[…] Kubín was able to offer the beholder an always well-thought-out visual experience, which was supposed to evoke an impression of calm and concentration in them; in his landscapes, he avoided disturbing moments diverting attention to non-visual areas. Although Kubín’s work from the period of his visit to the Alps is not very well known, it dates from the years when he gained extraordinary recognition among Parisian gallerists, as evidenced by the frequency of his solo exhibitions at the turn of the 1920s and 1930s. The painting Siguret Lake significantly expands the knowledge of Kubín’s work, which achieves distinctive sensual qualities using limited vehicles of expressions. [...]”