Jack of Diamonds

In 1910, Piotr Konchalovsky becomes a founding member of Jack of Diamonds. This Moscow-based artists’ group advocates maximum space for individual expression, free from rules – the jack of diamonds symbolizes the unrestrained artist. The Russian artists draw inspiration from the French avant-garde, such as the post-impressionists, the fauvists and the cubists. Paul Cézanne in particular is their great example.


In Loaves of bread, with its simplified shapes and colours, the influence of cubism and the work of Cézanne is clearly evident. Konchalovsky himself said that the methods of the French master enabled him ‘to see nature in a new way’.


Helene Kröller-Müller purchases this work on the recommendation of her advisor Henk Bremmer. He regards Loaves of bread as ‘to some extent in the same spirit’ as certain paintings by Bart van der Leck. ‘We see from this that the Russian culture is more expansive, grander and more magnificent than our own. This painting would make a wonderful signboard for a people’s bakery in a large metropolis, e.g. Moscow.’