These two pieces (lots 308 and 309) by Leon Gaspard are beautiful examples of some of the painter’s Russian work prior to his discovery of the American Southwest. In A Russian Peasant Woman, Gaspard shows the subtlety of color, composition and pose that makes his paintings so cherished by museums and collectors. “Despite the melancholy of his characters, his depiction remains joyful with its movements and poses,” according to a French newspaper, as quoted in Leon Gaspard: The Call of Distant Places. “You must reflect on it to discover the spontaneity of the imagery, perfect depictions containing emotions, which in the end oppress us, all the way to a state of anguish.”
In Winter in Siberia, this subject reflects an early period of inspiration that was first initiated during a trip to the steppes of Siberia with his father, a fur trader. Gaspard was only a boy at the time, but the experience inspired later travel to the icy coldness of northern Russia in 1899. “Gaspard felt the need to get away from the regimented life and tedium of the classroom and the city,” writes Forrest Fenn in Leon Gaspard: The Call of Distant Places. “At 17 he struck out alone for Siberia on a summer painting trip. He was sturdy, bright and confident—and, because he had already traveled extensively with his father, he had no fear of distant places. Leon paid a man 25 kopeks (about 12 cents) to allow him to ride in a horse-drawn wagon along with the man’s wife and daughter, as well as another couple. His painting materials were packed in among their supplies of axle grease, bolts of cloth and food.”
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Please note that the first unframed photo is most accurate for color. Framed photographs are to show the frame and are not color corrected to the painting.
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