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Modern and Contemporary Art
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Artist: Serge Charchoune, Russian, 1888–1975

Still Life in Gray


Oil on canvas

73.8 × 68 cm (29 1/16 × 26 3/4 in.)
Gift of Collection Société Anonyme
The subtle modulation of colors and the overlapping contours of classical forms in Serge Charchoune’s Still Life in Gray are evidence of the artist’s brief but profound immersion in Purism. Begun in 1918 by the painter Amédée Ozenfant and the architect Le Corbusier, the Purist movement sought to develop a rational and universal aesthetic that was free of embellishment. Charchoune met Ozenfant in 1927 in Paris. Deeply inspired by Purism’s simplicity and balance, Charchoune invested the next two years of his artistic production in creating still lifes like this one. In these works, he harmonized straight and curved forms on stable axes, while deploying a paintbrush and knife to create variations in surface and depth within a neutral palette.
Not on view
20th century

John Graham to KSD for the Societe Anonyme in 1936 (KSD to Marcel Duchamp, Apr. 4 1936)


Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter, and Elise K. Kenney, The Société Anonyme and the Dreier Bequest at Yale University: A Catalogue Raisonné (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984), 157, no. 160, ill.

Collection of the Société Anonyme: Museum of Modern Art 1920 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1950), 168-69, ill.

Gunther Metken, “Charchoune,” Das Kunstwerk (July 24, 1971).

Serge Charchoune, Charchoune (Chicago: William and Noma Copley Foundation, 1961).

M. Faux, Charchoune, exh. cat. (Paris: Centre National D’Art Contemporain, 1971).

Charchoune, exh. cat. (Reims, France: Musee des Beaux Arts de Reims, 1971).

Serge Charchoune, Charchoune 1888–1975 (Amiens, France: Conseil General de la Somme, 1989).

William Nelson Copley, “Introducing the Paintings of Serge Charchoune,” Artnews 59 (March 1960).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.