Private collection, Poland
Private collection, USA
Sale: Butterfields, San-Francisco, USA, May 16, 2001
Private collection, USA
The Society for Traveling Exhibitions (Tovarishchestvo peredvizhnykh khudozhestvennykh vystavok), Petrograd, 1918
A celebrated Russian landscape artist of the Polish descent, Zhukovsky was one of the leading Russian Impressionist painters. He turned to interiors in the second decade of the twentieth century, embarking on a cycle of paintings depicting Russia’s grand estates.
The 1916-17 series of interiors of Kuskovo, the famous summer estate of the Sheremetev family, is considered to be his best work in this genre. Built in the mid-18th century several miles to the east of Moscow, the Palace of Kuskovo is one of the oldest and most beautiful summer residences in Russia. According to the design of its owner, Count Pyotr Sheremetev, Kuskovo was intended to be comparable in size and beauty to the Tsar’s own residences. In a letter addressed to Dmitri Sheremetev, Zhukovsky betrays his fascination with interiors: ‘Would you be kind enough to allow me to paint in your houses in Ostafievo and Kuskovo? I am a great admirer of the old times … Here they speak so clearly and are so wonderfully, carefully preserved. I would like to do some interiors of this priceless memorial to a wonderful era. Unfortunately, they have been disappearing so rapidly in recent times and there are few genuinely cultured and refined people who can appreciate these sacred places and are not converting them to factories and using as firewood the parks where Eugene Onegin once walked.’ The present painting belongs to the same series of the Sheremetyevo Palace interiors as the work now in the Warsaw National Gallery.
Stanislav Zhukovsky was one of the most revered landscape artists in Russia. Born in the city of Grodno in 1873, he enrolled at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture in 1892, where he studied under Isaac Levitan, Valentin Serov, and Vasily Polenov. Prior to his graduation in 1899, the Tretyakov Gallery acquired one of his paintings, entitled ‘Moonlit Night’. He exhibited with the Wanderers from 1896 to 1917—participating in the famous ‘World of Art’ exhibition in 1902—and became a member in 1904. He opened a private art studio where he tutored celebrated avant-garde artist Liubov Popova and the revolutionary poet and painter Vladimir Mayakovsky. In the early twentieth century, he developed an interest in the Impressionist movement, which was reflected in his works.
After the 1917 Revolution, he joined the Art Section of the People’s Commissariat of the Enlightenment and was appointed to the Art Committee of the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. One of his paintings was exhibited at the First Russian Art Exhibition in Berlin in 1922. He moved back to his native Poland in 1923, where he died in a concentration camp shortly after the Warsaw uprising in 1944. Most of Zhukovsky’s later paintings were destroyed.
Works by the artist can be found in major museum collections such as the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, the Russian Museum in St Petersburg, the Warsaw National Gallery and the Galleria Nazionale in Rome.