Sculpture Lady Removing Her Mask, Konstantin Somov. 1906 model produced in the 1920s-1930s. Paintwork artist is Maksim Shmakov; artist unknown. Porcelain. Gilding. Height: 21.6 cm. No marks. Lomonosov State Porcelain Factory. The four figurines of Lady Removing Her Mask were done from a model for which Konstantin Somov was commissioned at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in 1906. One sculpture was painted by the artist; two copies were 1 2 executed by Lyudmila Midina; and the fourth was painted with gold by M. Shmakov.3 In the annual report of the Imperial Porcelain and Glass Factory for 1906, it says: “At the invitation of Sergei Diaghilev, the organizer of Russian art exhibitions in Paris, three groups and figurines (Author’s note: Lady Removing Her Mask, Lovers, and On the Rock) done from K. Somov’s models were provided for the aforementioned exhibition, which subsequently travelled to Berlin. Both this and the other exhibition were successful.”4 The sculpture Lady Removing Her Mask also became successful. Out of Konstantin Somov’s three works created for porcelain, it was the most popular, and in the 1920s and the 1930s at the Lomonosov State Porcelain Factory, it belonged to the group of pieces that were highly in demands. It was made both for the domestic market and for export. In the 1920s, the model underwent some changes due to production requirements. The mold for the sculpture was replaced with a cast. Konstantin Somov’s sculpture Lady Removing Her Mask, presented for an expert examination, is a genuine item from the Lomonosov State Porcelain Factory and has great historical and artistic value as a rare example of paintwork.
Literature: Lansere, A. K. Russkiy Farfor. Iskusstvo Pervogo v Rossii Farforovogo Zavoda. Leningrad, 1968. Cat. No. 133,134 Andreyeva, L. Sovetskiy Farfor. 1920-1930 Gody. Moscow, 1975, 50-51. Agarkova, G. D., and N. S. Petrova. Lomonosovskiy Farforovyy Zavod. Sankt-Peterburg. 1744-1994. Switzerland, 1994, 100. Russkiy farfor. 250 let istorii. K yubileyu Lomonosovskogo farforovogo zavoda. Katalog vystavki. Moscow, 1995, 122. Kudryavtseva, T. V. Russkiy Imperatorskiy farfor. St. Petersburg, 2003, 233. Nosovich, T. N. and I. P. Popova. Gosudarstvennyy farforovyy zavod. 1904-1944. St. Petersburg, 2005, 152-153. Sametskaya, E.B. Sovetskiy farfor 1920-1930-kh godov v chastnykh sobraniyakh Sankt-Peterburga. Moscow, 2006, 18. Footnotes: 1 Lyudmila Midina, painter on porcelain. She began working at the Imperial Porcelain Factory doing overglaze paintwork beginning in the 1900s. She painted vases from designs by K. N. Krasovsky, Konstantin Somov’s sculptures, and The Peoples of Russia by Pavel Kamensky. After the October Revolution of 1917, she continued to work in the State Porcelain Factory, and her surname can be found in price lists from 1918 through 1923. According to a report from 1918, she was assigned to the Second Group and the First Category, which is evidence of the painter’s high level of professional mastery. 2 Maksim Shmakov (About 1862-?). Painter on porcelain who specialized in overglaze paintwork using enamel paint. He working at the Imperial Porcelain Factory in 1877. 3 Russian State Historical Archive, collection 503, inventory 1(543/2332), file 96, sheet 16 (reverse side). 4 Russian State Historical Archive, collection 503, inventory 1(543/2332), file 96, sheet 9 (reverse side).