A century after its appearance, abstraction seemingly continues to divide artists: there are those who search for abstraction and choose it partly to evade the frustrations of figurative painting. For others, oblivious to these teleological considerations, it reveals itself at the very moment of artistic expression.

Director of Sotheby’s Russian art department for five years following a diplomatic career that took her from Russia to Central Asia, Nathalie Beras unquestionably follows the trend for spontaneous abstraction.

The square form of the canvas becomes a repository for visions beyond images. These images can probably be found scattered throughout her trans-Caucasian experiences: stained glass shimmering with golden yellow; Iznik porcelain decorated with fiery reds; carpets of realist and stylised designs hailing from Persia to Turkestan.  We sense that other images have been incorporated into this almost vernacular base layer: the naïve and constructivist canvases of Goncharova; the kaleidoscopic stone paths of Vieira da Silva; the Abstraktes Bild of the 1990s where Richter stretches his medium into countless glazes.

Beyond personal style and artistic practice, it is relevant to quote Richter’s often-repeated motto: “We need beauty in all its variations”.  From one canvas to the next, variation rules over the joyful ballet of colour which is Nathalie Beras’ art.

Jeanne Calmont, Deputy Director, Specialist in Contemporary Art and Auctioneer, Sotheby’s