Oil on canvas, 21 3/8" by 25 1/2" (31" by 36" as framed) signed at lower left by the Benezit-listed artist FELIX VARLA (1903-1986). The artist's name is sometimes given as VARLAMISHVILLI or VARLAMISHVILI. This is a difficult to describe image, as are many of Varla's mystic, romantic, even surrealistic, paintings. In the fairly monochromatic brownish background we see spires and towers and solid looking official buildings; in the mid foreground we see a group of strange mules, some white, covered in brightly colored striped cloth. Varla was born in Tiflis, Georgia of mixed Russian and French parentage. He was in Paris by 1928 and painted there and around the Mediterranean for the rest of his long life, but he apparently never forgot his southern Russian roots, as many of his subjects take from the Georgian folk tradition. A 1959 newspaper in Montreal, giving a description of his works being shown at the time in a local gallery, described his use of "fairy tale colors of Byzantine romance and ikons". His subjects include harvest/farm scenes, bathers, fishermen, woodmen and other rural peoples at their crafts, ports, and still life. Paintings sell regularly at auction in the USA and Europe. This example is in excellent condition. I note no labels nor other writing on the stretcher. The frame is late 20th century and is in good condition. The artist used excellent quality materials as the paint is stable. See the Benezit listing for this talented artist. .
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