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Nicolai Fechin Masterwork Hammers at $950,000, Setting Important New World Record for this Artist PDF Print E-mail

Pasadena, CA – On Tuesday evening, February 19th, 2008, a record hammer price was realized for a work by renowned painter Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955) at John Moran Auctioneers’ Sale of California and American Paintings. The record-breaking masterwork, entitled “The Wood Engraver,” came to Moran’s from a private estate where it had been held for over 60 years. The painting had generated worldwide interest prior to the sale, and as expected drew very competitive bidding from both American and Russian collectors.

While Fechin is today commonly regarded as an American painter, known for his images of the indigenous cultures of the American Southwest, he was actually Russian-born and trained. He had already established himself as one of Europe’s most notable artists when he immigrated to New York from Russia in 1923. His fascination with capturing the personalities of his subjects and his ability to create powerful likenesses earned him a stellar reputation as a portraitist. Upon his arrival in the United States, his works captivated the art world and the demand for his portraits was immediate.

In 1924 “The Wood Engraver” won The Thomas R. Proctor Award for Portraiture in the exhibition at the National Academy of Design in New York. The painting depicts William G. Watt, an engraver and graphic artist, and an Associate of the National Academy of Design, at work in his Stroudsburg, PA studio. A large scale work, measuring 50” x 40”, the portrait has the hallmarks of Fechin’s best works — a complex and detailed composition and an unparalleled refinement in the face and hands of the sitter amidst bold, colorful brushwork employing broad strokes and free use of the palette knife.

John Moran’s February 19th Auction of California and American paintings, the highest-grossing sale in the company’s 39-year history, featured some 230 works by renowned artists.


Accepting Consignments: March 2020 Auction

John Moran Auctioneers is now accepting consignments for our March 2020 California & American Fine Art Auction. Limited space available, so if you are considering a consignment of California art, please do not hesitate to contact us. Click here to visit our Contact page, or simply call us at 626-793-1833 to discuss your consignment.

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