Art Investment

Artist of the week: Vera Ermolaeva

History, pricing and marketing figures of the artist of Russian avant-garde, follower of M. Chagall and K. Malevich of Vera Mikhailovna Ermolaeva

Years of life: 1893-1937

Direction: vanguard

type of art: painting

Life and work

"Vitebsk Madonna", by definition of Marc Chagall, one of the brightest representatives of Russian avant-garde, an outstanding schedule, who stood at the origins of a new art of children's books, Vera Mikhailovna Ermolaeva was born on 2 November 1893 in the village of Keys, Petrovsky district, Saratov province (today — territory of the Penza region) in the family of the landowner, the Chairman of the Zemstvo of the County government Mikhail Ermolaev. On his mother (nee Baroness von Ungern-Унковской, whose bloodline can be traced back to the XIII century), it belonged rather to the aristocracy, but the family of Vera Mikhailovna since the early 1900-х years actively participated in the revolutionary events.

Thus, from early childhood, the future artist, on the one hand, were educated and lived surrounded by the usual girls of the nobility (which includes riding horses, a passion for Humanities, art, history, trips to Europe and training at the European school), on the other hand — father who adhere to Marxist views, introduced Faith and her brother Constantine with the ideas of the revolution at an early age.

the Hobbies of the childhood and youth largely determined the further life of Vera Mikhailovna. She studied at a secular school in Paris and Lausanne, and later the family moved to Innsbruck, but life in Europe was caused not only by the desire of parents to give best daughter a European education, but also the fact that at an early age Vera Ermolaeva was injured spine, unsuccessfully falling from a horse, and hope for the restoration could be given only by foreign doctors.

In 1904, the family Ermolaevich returned to the Keys a year later, in revolutionary 1905-м, father of Vera Mikhailovna sold his estate and moved the family to St-Петербург, where he published the liberal magazine "Life".

Graduating in 1910-м year high school book. Obolensky and wanting to get an art education, 19-летняя Vera Ermolaeva enrolled in one of the most popular among the left youth art studios — School of painting, sculpture and drawing Mikhail Davidovich Bernstein. Teaching in the Studio was conducted in a free, far from academic manner, students were introduced to the latest artistic currents of Europe, including cubism. Upon completion in 1913 of the course in the School of Bernstein, in 1914-м she decided to continue her studies in Paris, where he spent the next year studying the work of Cezanne, Picasso, Braque. Recalling this visit a year later, she wrote: "One loss, remember, made last year from the forest of statues in the Louvre. Generally, the Louvre is like an attic, where not dumped the trash, and chef-d''oeuvres, left to themselves, fortunately or unfortunately for them."

Upon return to Saint-Петербург in 1915-м year, Vera Ermolaeva, along with his friends-единомышленниками, among whom was Nikolai Lapshin, the wife of her teacher M. Bernstein Ekaterina Turova and others, organized the futuristic artistic circle "Bloodless murder", whose main objective was the production of the magazine. So Ermolaeva first engaged in design activity,the interest of which several years later led to the fact that she took up the study of pictorial signs in the streets of St.-Петербурга-Петрограда, began to collect them and wrote about them in the article.

During the revolution in 1917-1918 Vera Ermolaeva, paying tribute to his childhood passion of history, managed to graduate from the Archaeological Institute and has even worked for some time at the city Museum, in parallel, participate in the activities of artistic unions "Freedom of art" and "Art and revolution".

In 1918-м year Ermolaeva created artel artists "Today". The gang was engaged in the production of short-run illustrated children's books and popular prints. Today the farm is highly valued by experts as "the first experience of constructing a children's book, understood as a whole artistic organism." Among the artists of the farm was Nathan Altman, Yuri Annenkov and other well-known authors.

Work with book illustration and popular prints quite affected individual style: her work in these years is barely guessed the RAID, to some extent, characteristic of the works of the early 1910-х years, the patterns become more minimalistic and flat, the space — more abstract.

But of course, the greatest influence on her artistic style had a following, 1919, when she the decision of the Department of fine arts Narcompros was appointed a lecturer at the National art school of Vitebsk, then converted in Vitebsk artistic-практический Institute.

rector of the Vitebsk school at that time was Marc Chagall, and among its lecturers Robert Falk and Mstislav Dobuzhinsky. In 1921, Ermolaeva changed Chagall the post of the rector of the Institute and was invited to the state as a teacher of Kazimir Malevich.

Under the influence of Malevich, Ermolaeva has become one of the followers of Suprematism, moving away from figurative art. Moreover, she was even among his students, actively participated in the creation of a society UNOVIS (Asserters of new art). As a member of UNOVIS, Ermolaeva not only created drawings and paintings of the Suprematist sense, but also participated in the writing of some theoretical texts.

However, the participation in the life of UNOVIS did not last long: in 1922, Ermolaev returned to Petrograd, where he studied art theory in Ginhuke. From 1923 to 1926 she was in charge there laboratory color — one of the first art institutions, studied modern and contemporary art.

in Parallel with the theoretical activities in the period from 1923 to 1930-е, Vera Ermolaeva much engaged in book illustration, primarily children's books. And in the early 1930-х she even started designing a new kind of children's book — books-игрушки, drawings which were to go beyond the two-dimensional plane.

But whatever her interested in the development of children's illustrations, the fate of the artistdetermined its theoretical searches.

In the second half of 1920-х years, these theoretical studies, as well as the continued rethinking of the practice of Suprematism and other avant-garde movements resulted in the creation of a kind of "circle of interest" — group picturesquely-пластического realism, which, in addition Ermolaeva, included A. Leporskaya, V. Sterligov, N. Suetin, M. Ender and other artists. The group, by definition of L. Yudina, was "the desire of the individual to establish what-то alive, the concrete balance between itself and reality, relying solely on its plastic means." Going same group in the apartment Ermolaeva on Vasilievsky island. 25, 1934, during one of these meetings members of the group were arrested by the NKVD as a "socially-чуждые elements." During the arrest in the apartment Ermolaeva was confiscated several graphic sheets, illustrations to Goethe's poem "Reineke-лис". On the basis of the interpretation of these illustrations as "malicious anti-Soviet slanderous satire on the Soviet authorities" Vera Mikhailovna Ermolaeva for "anti-Soviet activities expressed in the propaganda of anti-Soviet ideas and try to organize itself around the anti-Soviet minded intelligentsia" was sentenced to three years in the camps.

March 29, 1935, Vera Ermolaeva was taken to the village dolynka 3-го branch of Karlag, where 20 September 1937 he was again sentenced on the same charges sentenced to death and executed on 26 September 1937.

the First personal exhibition Faith Ermolayeva was held in 2008, the State Russian Museum (Saint-Петербург). In further work, the artist has participated in 19 group exhibitions devoted to the Russian avant-garde, in particular abroad — in the galleries of the Casa del Mantegna (Mantua), Momentum (Berlin), Museum Stedeliyk (Amsterdam), MoMA and the Guggenheim (new-Йорк), the Joan miró Foundation (Barcelona).

Works of Vera Ermolaeva are in the collections of the State Russian Museum, State Tretyakov gallery, Pushkin Museum im. Pushkin abroad — in new-Йоркском the Museum of modern art (MoMA) and the Museum Ludwig in Cologne (Germany).

Financial indicators

the Three most expensive works of Vera Ermolaeva made graphic works sold by auction house Sotheby's in London in 2018-2019 in $63 250 was assessed by the collector gouache "Farmer", for $63 495 was purchased illustration to the book by Leonid Savelyev's "Stronger than all" (1932). Finally, the most expensive work of the artist, "Suprematist design of the facade of the building" (1920), was sold in 2018 for $351 028.

According to the database ARTinvestment.RU, at the time of publication the artist has 26 auction sales, of which the graph @18 mdas works, painting — 4 works, collage — 3 works, and one book with lithographs. The average price of sold works — $36.2 thousand Total capitalization to the public market — $688,5 thousand Has a positive balance of sold and unsold works 19 7 (73 % of all trading completed sales).

table 1. Sale during the auction

the Period sales, years. Total sales, units Successful units. Unsuccessful units. the success rate, %
2008-2011 4 2 2 50
2017-2020 22 17 5 77

table 2. Sales by country the auction

Country of sale Total sales, units Successful units. Failed units. the success rate, %
UK 19 18 1 95
Monaco 3 0 3 0
Russia 1 1 0 100
Italy 1 0 1 0
Belgium 1 0 1 0
Ukraine 1 0 1 0

Auction history of Vera Ermolaeva, to date, had repeated sales, therefore we can use the counting another indicator — exceeded the estimate upon successful sales. He's the artist is very high: on average 230 % of the mean estimate. In 10 of 18 cases sales were made at a price exceeding the upper limit, in 4 cases — on average estimate, and only three times the final sale price was below the average auction house.

it is Important to note that interest in the artist from collectors in the public market grew rapidly after 2017 (22 sale, 17 successful), while peak entrainment period of the Russian avant-garde 2007-2009 (4 sales, 2 successful) walked Faith Yermolaev side. The three most expensive sales happened in the last two years, talking about the formation of market prices, based on objective (participation in international group exhibitions in top-музеях), not subjective (fashion on Russian avant-garde) factors. Limited supply due to the early death of the artist, the absence of direct heirs and recognizable artistic style of Vera Ermolaeva, make available on the job market a desirable object of acquisition of private and Museum collections.

On the current 329-м AI Auction one of the temper of the artist — "Composition" (1930-е).


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