A magnificent oil on canvas by Russian American WPA artist Nahum Tschacbasov (1899-1984), dating from 1943.
Depicting a Maternity scene - or possibly a modernist take on the virgin and child imagery - the painting has the lyricism of a Chagall's, but with an edgier touch. There is also a hint of Frida Kahlo.
Born in Baku, today in the Republic of Azerbaijan, Nahum Tschacbasov arrived in Chicago with his family in 1907. Since his fathers fledging business failed soon after their arrival, and he was forced to leave school at the age of 13 to help support the family. After enlisting in the Navy during World War I and returning home, he went to night school.
Around 1932 he became fascinated with art and went to Paris to pursue formal training; he studied with Fernand Lger, among others, before moving in the mid-1930s to New York, where he painted full time. He worked on the Works Progress Administrations Federal Arts Projects in 1935, later joining with friends, including the young Mark Rothko, to form an artists group, the Ten, combining the aim of social consciousness with an Expressionist style.
Tschacbasovs early career was immensely successful. He had five one-man exhibitions at the prestigious ACA Galleries in New York from the mid-1930s to the mid-1940s - and it was at one of these one man shows that the work presented here was acquired.
Tschacbasovs strongest paintings are from this period, when he worked in a social realist style reminiscent of the work of Max Weber.
So the painting presented here dates from his most sought after period, when the artist's work was at its most powerfully creative and perfectly in tune with its time.
Tschacbasov participated in group exhibitions at many national museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1944, the Metropolitan Museum bought one of his paintings, Deportation (1936), which is still there.
Our painting measures 61 x 45.5 cm and is signed and dated 1943 at the lower left.
The overall size in its original frame is 79 x 64 cm
Original ACA Gallery label to the verso.
The ACA Galleries (American Contemporary Artists) was founded in 1932 - in the depths of the Great Depression - by Herman Baron. Stuart Davis, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Adolf Dehn were among the original founding members. It is still one of the foremost American Galleries.
Please fill in the information below