Winter. Megeve. 1928–1933
Oil on canvas
“I imagine St. Petersburg is already covered in snow, and winter is at its peak. Here it’s still autumn, and a very dry one. One morning, about a week ago, I noticed snow on the rooftops. You cannot imagine how excited I was, but it vanished, like smoke, in a couple of hours. So much for winter. In a month I will probably go to the mountains to make some snow studies”. That was how the artist Arnold Lakhovsky wrote to his friend Isaac Brodsky from Paris, and the sparkling whiteness of the Russian winter was something the artist longed for after his immigration. While working in Chamonix he came up with the curious idea of exhibiting together, and artistically comparing the landscapes he had created from his plein-air work in the Alps with the snow scenes he had made in Pskov, painted from his sketches in Russian nature. “Winter. Megève” is one of his landscapes from the Alps. Lakhovsky masterfully controls his brush, creating a deeply sophisticated colour palette, and conveying the changeable nature of the weather in late winter, when within a moment the cold, windy and overcast sky could suddenly beam with sunlight. Look at the many different shades of colour in the loose snow: blues, purples and greens. Lakhovsky never used a plain white, which can be so destructive to painting. This landscape gains its sense of the physicality of the heavy melting snow from the generous thick strokes that the artist applies.