Born in 1888, Johan Poul Quaade first worked in London before moving to Kargat, Siberia, in 1910 with the Danish dairy company, Sibiko. The company employed more than 100 people, exporting equipment for the dairy industry and importing dairy products into Denmark. Following his promotion to Branch Manager for the Minusinsk-Yenisei region in 1911, Quaade met his future wife, Xenia Ilinitchnaja Solonina, who he married in 1913. In 1916 the couple moved to St Petersburg, where Quaade became Director of the European and Russian Branch. Having left Russia following the October Revolution, by 1919 the couple had settled in Constantinople where Quaade occupied a senior position in a large Danish-English company overseeing operations in Romania, Bulgaria, Southern Russia and the Caucasus. In 1925 the family moved to Riga, where the entrepreneurial Quaade set up his own dairy business, trading between Denmark and Russia. The family eventually relocated to Quaade's native Denmark in 1938.
Avid collectors, the Quaades amassed a significant collection of Russian Art, including paintings by Mikhail Nesterov (1862-1942), Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900) and Abram Arkhipov (1862-1930), Imperial porcelain and works by Fabergé. According to relatives of the Quaades the collection was largely formed in Russia and Latvia, before the couple settled permanently in Denmark. Along with noted collectors such as D. Kopelovich, L. Maskovskii and J. Grinberg and artists such as Ilya Repin, Quaade exhibited two works – Arkhipov’s Young peasant woman [Sieva] and Mikhail Nesterov’s Holy Lake [Svetais ezers] – in an important show dedicated to Russian Art and curated by a committee chaired by Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky that took place in Riga in December 1932.
In Russian Art, the name Arkhipov is synonymous with compassionate and evocative portrayals of peasant life, immortalising the powerful figure of the peasant woman in particular. Having shown great artistic promise at a young age, Arkhipov studied intermittently at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture from 1877 to 1888 under the Russian masters of 19th Century painting: Vasilii Perov (1834-1882), Aleksei Savrasov (1830-1897) and Vasilii Polenov (1844-1927). Although he was also a student at the St Petersburg Academy of the Arts between 1884 and 1886, Arkhipov soon became dissatisfied with the Academy's system of teaching and returned to Moscow, where he himself would later teach at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture and Architecture.
From 1890, Arkhipov was an active member of the Peredvizhniki [The Itinerants], an exhibiting society of Russian artists committed to art's potential to serve a higher social function, and in 1924 exhibited with the Union of Russian Artists and the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (AKhRR). Fusing the Russian traditions of genre and lyrical landscape painting, Arkhipov rarely depicted dynamic scenes of action, on the contrary, some of his most famous works capture a labourer’s moment of rest and reflection, emphasising the subject’s psychological and spiritual life. From the early 1900s, Arkhipov embarked on a series of portraits of peasant women from his native province of Ryazan and the Nizhny Novgorod region. Wrapped in heavily embroidered folk dress and resplendent in vibrantly-coloured headscarves, his sitters were animated by Arkhipov’s free and expansive brushstrokes and his saturated palette of scorching reds and hot pinks; the antithesis of usual critical realist fare, typically high on poignant social commentary and bleached of colour.
Young peasant woman is an early and impressive example from this series, illustrating Arkhipov’s deft handling and impressionistic strokes. Dated 1915 and with a coveted exhibition history, this portrait appears on the international auction market for the first time in its history.