Siberian Sleigh Riders, by Leon Gaspard, leads Bonhams Russian sale in London on Wednesday 6 June. It is estimated at £250,000-450,000.
In the course of a long career, the insatiably curious and restless Gaspard (1882-1964) travelled widely. As a boy, he accompanied his fur-trader father on journeys through the Russian country; in later life, he made expeditions to Siberia, Mongolia, Asia, the Himalayas and Tibet, China and Morocco, eventually settling permanently in Taos, New Mexico. Siberian Sleigh Riders was painted there in 1921. The subject was inspired by memories of his boyhood travels in Russia, and the dramatic, but harmonious, scene contrasts the fragility of the ceremonial procession of riders, horses and sleighs with the monumental and desolate landscape.
Bonhams Head of Russian Art, Daria Khristova, said: “Siberian Sleigh Riders is a true masterpiece. Drawing on his artistic training in Paris in the early years of the 20th century, and his many years of travels, Gaspard developed a unique and highly personal style of painting. His works have a timeless appeal that expands our understanding of human experience.”