Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955)
Amoset (Amesette)
signed 'N. Fechin' (lower right)–signed again and inscribed with title (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
32 x 24 in. (81.3 x 61 cm.)
Painted circa 1932.
The artist.
Eya Fechin Branham, Santa Monica, California, daughter of the above, by descent.
Private collection, Los Angeles, California, acquired from the above, 1956.
By descent to the present owners.
Nedra Matteucci Gallery Archives, Forrest Fenn Archives, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
M.N. Balcomb, Nicolai Fechin, San Cristobal, New Mexico, 1975, p. 115, illustrated (as Landscape with Cabin).
G.P. Tuluzakova, Nicolai Fechin: The Art and the Life, San Cristobal, New Mexico, 2012, p. 389, illustrated (as Landscape with Cabin).

Pasadena, California, Pasadena Art Institute, March 1932, n.p., no. 32.
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Lot Essay

Titled variously over the years, including as 'Amoset,' 'Amesette,' and 'Amusette,' the present work was inspired by the now-vanished mining town of Amizette, New Mexico. Located 14 miles northeast of Taos, Amizette was active between 1893 through 1902 and had approximately 350 residents at its height. The artist's daughter, Eya Fechin Branham, has also referred to the present work as 'Autumn in Twinning.' This later title likely references Twining, New Mexico–a mining town nearby Amizette active from 1902-1910. Both Twining and Amizette were located in the mountainous region currently home to the Taos Ski Valley ski resort.

An accomplished example of Nicolai Fechin's work, Amoset (Amesette) is indicative of the artist's high style during his Taos, New Mexico period, combining a predilection for modern art while simultaneously capturing a realistic, and importantly intimate, glimpse into the region's landscape. Trained at the Imperial Academy in Leningrad, Fechin developed a quick and dramatic approach to painting. He immigrated to the United States in 1923 with his wife and young daughter and immediately immersed himself in the artistic community of New York. Fechin had already established a name for himself before arriving, evidenced by invitations to exhibit at the Carnegie Institute in Pennsylvania. Still, once in America new patronage provided the artist with broader exposure and allowed him the freedom to paint a variety of new subjects in his singularly distinct style.

The rigorous training Fechin received in Russia would set a precedent for the artist's lively draftsmanship and sense of color. This education explains the solidity of form and clarity of vision that is evident in works such as Amoset (Amesette). Fechin wrote: "The artist must not forget that he is dealing with the entire canvas, and not with only one section of it. Regardless of what he sets out to paint, the problem in his work remains one and the same: with originality, to fill in his canvas and make of it an organic whole...Technique should be considered only as a means to an end, but never the end in itself. To me, 'technique' should be unlimited, a constant growth in ability and understanding; never mere virtuosity, but an endless accumulation of qualities and wisdom." (as quoted in M.N. Balcomb, "Fechin on Art," Nicolai Fechin, San Cristobal, New Mexico, 1975, p. 159)

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