Our cover this month, A Girl of the Pamir Mountains, Korzak Girl (16 5/8 in. by 13 1/4 in.) by Leon Schulman Gaspard sold for $65,000 at Bonhams’ California and Western Paintings and Sculpture auction in Los Angeles on Aug. 1, 2017. Though he lived a majority of his life in the states, the primitive cultures and folk traditions of Gaspard’s native Russia feature prominently in his paintings, and it’s these works he’s most renowned for.
As a young boy, Gaspard frequently accompanied his father (who was a trader of furs and fine rugs) on business trips to the far-flung villages of Siberia, sketching the indigenous scenes he encountered. His fondness for adventure would remain with him throughout his life. Gaspard’s extensive travels as an adult (which included a 2-year horseback trip through Siberia for his honeymoon) were as colorful as the paintings that reflect all the distinctive cultures and experiences he encountered during those journeys. (Note to my future husband: Don’t look to Gaspard for honeymoon ideas).
Despite his talent, Gaspard faced some criticism for the lack of variation in his realist style during his career. However, he may have been on to something by staying true to his vision—there’s been a resurgence of interest in his works; prices for his paintings have seen a dramatic increase over the past two decades.