Taos Girl with Sunflowers (1930)
Taos Girl with Sunflowers (1930, oil on canvas, 76.2 × 51.1 cm), which adorns one of the labels of Chateau La Grace Dieu des Prieurs, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Art Russe Collection 2018, was painted by Nikolai Fechin three years after he settled in Taos, in the north of the U.S. state of New Mexico.
In her catalogue Nikolai Fechin (2012), Galina Tuluzakova writes: ‘In Taos, everything came together as in focus: the grandeur of nature, the unusual cultural situation blending the traditions of Indians, Spaniards, Mexicans, Europeans, and Americans proper, the sleepy tranquillity of a small provincial town – almost a village at the time, and the creative atmosphere of a flourishing art colony, one of the most famous in the United States. All this struck a chord with him. Provincial Kazan, the city with which Fechin’s life in Russia was connected, also presented an ethnic mix. Fechin, who as a child spent every summer in the countryside, forever preserved his craving for portraying ordinary people. On the other hand, thanks to his studies in St. Petersburg, he found himself among the artistic elite and was always drawn to creative people. People of the Earth and People of Culture were the two principles that made up his own essence and that would be the main themes in his art in Taos.’
The Taos girl posing for the artist, with a bunch of sunflowers by her side, looks alarmed and apprehensive, as if shielding herself from the world around her. A master of the psychological portrait and a wonderful colourist, Fechin builds his work on the contrast of the victoriously sunny sunflower petals, the coolness of the whitewashed wall and the tanned skin of the girl whose warmth is emphasized by her red dress with a coal-black cape. This portrait of a Taos girl is part of a wonderful series of portraits of indigenous peoples of the United States, created by Fechin inspired by the unusual colours and faces of a continent that was new to him.
90% Merlot – 10% Cabernet Franc
Soil type: Sand & Clay
Harvesting: 100% manual
Vinification methods: Soft, slow maceration and fermentation pumping over Malolactic fermentation in barrels
Aging: 20 months – 100% New Radoux Super Fine Blend
Cultural practices: Reasoned viticulture (lutte raisonnée), Manual vineyard work, Mechanical weed control
The nose is striking, certainly distinctive, with grilled blackberry, blueberry and black olive; quite spicy and exotic with notes of turmeric, crushed cardamom, cloves and and fennel seeds.
On the palette has red and blue fruits: wild strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and red cherries.
A very polished style, with more grippy tannins than in other vintages. Texturally feels restrained and sinewy rather than fat, while the finish is all pepper and tannin. Very dynamic and energetic.