November 16, 2017
Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955), Indian Boy, c.1950, oil on canvas, 12 x 9 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of John H. and Joseph H. Groberg, 1987.
In this highlight from the permanent collection of the MOA, the face of an Indian boy with an upward gaze emerges from a swirl of vigorous, colorful, abstract brushstrokes. Do the blurred arms and hands amid the energetic tangle of lines suggest that the boy may be in motion, perhaps taking part in a traditional dance?
Fechin was a Russian artist who found his spiritual home in Taos, New Mexico in the 1920s. Raised in Kazan and trained in the Imperial Academy of Art in St. Petersburg, he achieved some international recognition before the Russian Revolution. Immigrating to America, he painted portraits in New York before moving West. In Taos he found a stunning landscape and Native people in colorful costumes who reminded him of the Russian peasants he had painted as a student.