Russian Paintings and Works of Art
18 April 2007
Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich (1874-1947)
Hills, Stage Design for Peer Gynt, drama by H. Ibsen
USD 25,000 - USD 35,000
signed in Cyrillic with artist's monogram (lower left)
pencil, gouache and watercolor on paper
9 x 5¾ in. (22.9 x 14.6 cm.)
Drawn in 1912
Roerich Museum, circa 1926-1935.
Collection of Louis Horch, New York.
Gift of Nettie Horch to the present owner.
Probably in Rerikh. Tekst Yu.K.Baltrushaitisa i dr. Petrograd, 1916, p. 221, listed as Kholmy.
Roerich. Himalaya. Articles by F.Grant and others. New York: Brentano's Publishers, 1926, p. 192, probably listed as Hills, Variant. Settings for Peer Gynt.
Roerich Museum Catalogue. 8th ed. New York: Roerich Museum, 1930,
No. 448, listed as Sketch to Peer Gynt.
In addition to being one of Diaghilev's leading stage designers during the early years of the Ballets Russes, Roerich carried out commissions for Konstantin Stanislavskii at the Moscow Art Theatre. In 1912, he designed the sets and costumes for the Art Theater production of Peer Gynt, a play by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Fourteen stage designs were commissioned for the play; however Roerich executed many more additional drawings. The theatrical sets were designed in a fantastic, highly stylized manner befitting the heroic pathos of Ibsen's play. The current drawing combined two scenes executed by the artist separately in a number of known stage designs: Solveig's house and hills with stone marker. It is most likely the scene from the final act of the play. Leonid Andreev, well-known Russian writer, commented: "The hut, nestled in the towering pines of the icy winter kingdom, appears to be an oasis of human warmth. Like Peer Gynt and his ever faithful Solveig, Man and his wife try to shut out the frightening, sinful outer world in order to set up their own, well sheltered nest."
We would like to thank Gvido Trepsha of the Nicholas Roerich Museum for his assistance in cataloguing the present lot.