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Maker(s):Vassiliev, Oleg Vladimirovich
Culture:Soviet (1931-2013), active in the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic and the United States
Title:The House with the Mezzanine, No. 2
Date Made:1991
Materials:Lithograph on cream paper
Measurements:Sheet: 29 3/4 x 21 in.; 75.6 x 53.3 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2010.140
Credit Line:Gift of Joan Afferica, L. Clark Seelye Professor Emerita of History, Smith College
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
This print provides the series’ title: the inscription reads “An Artist’s Tale—The House with the Mezzanine,” which is the title of Anton Chekhov’s story. In Russia, “mezzanine” refers to a low addition to a building, which sits like a small hut on the roof. Mezzanines were particularly popular in the nineteenth century, when they adorned mansions and manors.

Vassiliev shares the view of the house only through an oval shape, allowing just a glance into the story’s realm. The oval appears to be consciously chosen; it reflects a century-old painting tradition, thereby leading the viewer into Chekhov’s era. With the deep black of the surrounding area, the artist emphasizes the distance between Chekhov’s pre-revolutionary epoch and his own present. The long blades of grass indicate the rural setting of the story and open up the blackness with a lighthearted disorderliness.
BJ 2013

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