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Ivan Constantinovich Aivazovsky

(1817-1900)
Estimate
4 000 000 - 5 000 000 SEK
364 000 - 455 000 EUR
381 000 - 476 000 USD
Hammer price
4 000 000 SEK
Purchasing info
For condition report contact specialist
Lena Rydén
Stockholm
Lena Rydén
Head of Art, Specialist Modern and 19th century Art
+46 (0)707 78 35 71
Ivan Constantinovich Aivazovsky
(1817-1900)

Crimean night, view of Oreanda and Aiu-Dagh

Signed Aivazovsky in Cyrillic (lower left partly hidden by the frame), and dated 1861. The reverse with label from Anichkov Palace, inscribed in Cyrillic 'Property of His Imper. Highn. Alexander III, (fragment of the label is missing), further inscribed in Cyrillic in yellow oil 'A.D.M. 26914'. Numbered in pencil with the State Gosfond Commission number '?11/760/2' verso, Front of the original frame applied with a plaque numbered '35' and the artist's name. Panel 25.5 x 30.5 cm.

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Provenance

Commissioned by Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich (future Tsar Alexander III), early 1870s..
Anichkov Palace, St Petersburg, remains of label with inventorynumber verso.
In the collection of Tsar Alexander III, Alexander Palace, Tsarskoe Selo, Inventory no A.D.M 26914.
Nationalized as part of the Imperial Collection in 1917.
Acquired in Russia around 1920/30 and brought to Sweden.
Thence by descent in the family.

Literature

The catalogue of the Grand Duke Alexsander Alexsandrovich (1872) is included in a publication from 2002, This publication consists of numerous archival documents, and the original catalogue from 1872 is also in the book, while the original is in the State Archive of Russian Federation (GARF).

Великий князь Александр Александрович: Сборник документов / Редкол.: Г. И. Вздорнов, А. Д. Зайцев, Н. С. Михалков, А. Л. Налепин (гл. ред.), Т. Е. Павлова, П. В. Палиевский, Т. В. Померанская, В. В. Шибаева. — М.: Рос. фонд культуры: Студия «ТРИТЭ»: Рос. Архив: Рос. гос. ист. архив, 2002. — 720 с. — (Рос. архив).

More information

In this enchanting moonlit scene by Ivan Constantinovich Aivazovsky we get a view of the imperial palace at Oreanda on the Crimean coast with the majestic cliff of Aiu-Dagh in the horizon. The artist was born in the village Feodosia on Crimea and this was where he returned after a long and successful career. In this painting, the moon, partly hidden by lacy clouds, reflects its shine in the calm sea and casts a bluish hue over the craggy coast. High up on the cliff the Rotunda stands proudly, erected in neo-greek style in the early 1840s. The imperial palace rests below and almost seems to melt in with the surrounding greenery. Emperor Nicholas I fell in love with the land and views at Oreanda when he first visited. He very soon presented the estate as a gift to his wife Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. The architect Andrei Ivanov Stakenscheider was commissioned to design the palace grounds which were built during the years 1842-1852. Due to an accident the palace burned down in 1881 but the landmark Rotunda still stands.

Aivazovsky is associated with the greatest achievements in marine painting and laying the foundations of Russian naval painting. He became a model for several other prominent Russian artists who focused on depicting seascapes. Born in 1817 into a poor Armenian family in the small coastal town of Feodosia in the Crimea, he was fortunate to begin his art studies at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1833.
His first paintings, exhibited in the late 1830s, attracted great attention for their technical brilliance, their accurate representation of nature and the enthusiasm that permeated his work. He was fascinated by the sea, its powerful, uncontrollable natural forces and constant change. Brilliant colors and strong tones in Aivazovsky's paintings testify to his devotion to the ideals of Romanticism.

During the 1840s Aivazovsky traveled extensively in Russia, Europe, and America. During his travels, he painted frequently, and thanks to his personality, which was characterized by a positive attitude to life, drive and warm humanity, he was able to make contacts easily. In 1848 he returned to his hometown of Feodosia on Crimea, where he lived for the rest of his life.
In 1865 Aivazovsky became a professor and later a member of the St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts, and during the same period he was made an honorary member of the Paris, Amsterdam, Rome and Stuttgart Academies of Fine Arts for his great achievements in painting.
Aivazovsky organized over 120 exhibitions of his paintings both in Russia and in Europe, the proceeds of which went to charities such as poor artists, actors, students and families in Armenia who lived in scarce conditions. In 1865 he founded an art school at his studio in Feodosia, where talented young artists could study under his guidance. Fifteen years later he also opened an art gallery in his studio, which became a cultural center and already during Aivazovsky's lifetime concerts and theatre evenings with Anton Rubinstein, among others, were organized there.
Aivazovsky led an ambitious and active life and his career as an artist spanned almost 65 years. A large part of his output consists of sea scenes, but he also painted cityscapes from Moscow, St Petersburg and Odessa, as well as landscapes from Ukraine and the Caucasus, among other places. From the 1870s he began to be influenced by the new democratic trends in art, and the Romantic features were somewhat muted in his output. He began to depict reality in a more realistic manner, and superficial effects and brilliant coloring were replaced by calmer and softer tones.
Imperial provenance
Alexander Alexandrovich, the future Alexander III, was a great art collector. He married Princess Dagmar of Denmark, Maria Feodorovna, in 1866. The royal couple moved into the Anichkov Palace, where the growing art collection was housed. The artist Bogoljuboff, a close friend and advisor to Alexander Alexandrovich, was responsible for acquiring new works for the growing collection.
Alexander III often travelled around Russia and Europe buying and commissioning new works of art. The imperial collection would eventually consist of over 800 works. On Bogoljuboff's initiative, an inventory of the crown pretender's collections was drawn up in 1872 in the Anichkov Palace in St Petersburg. From the 1870s to the 1920s the collection was housed in the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo. The reverse side of the present lot is applied with a paper label of the Anichkov Palace and inscribed with abbreviation 'Ts. S.D.' for Tsarsko-Selskii Dvorets (Palace at Tsarskoe Selo), thus documenting that the present painting was exhibited consecutively in both Imperial residences.

After the 1917 revolution, all imperial property was nationalized. All items were carefully documented and labelled with inventory numbers. The imperial couple's private room in the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoe Selo was opened as a museum to the public. Around 1930, Soviet museums were ordered to identify works that could be sold to bring foreign currency into the country. The museum in the Alexander Palace was closed and the large collection of art, furniture and personal belongings formerly owned by Tsar Alexander III and Maria Feodorovna were transferred to the Gosfond State Fund Commission for sale. The inventory number preserved on the back of the panel dates to the 1920s, when the present lot was included in the inventory for sale ('A.D.M 26914'- for Aleksandrovskii Dvorets-Muzei) and moved to State Gosfond Commission (inventory number ?11/760/2).

Swedish provenance
Around 1914, Swedish commercial interest in St Petersburg was at its peak. Export companies, founded during the industrial breakthrough of the 1890s were increasingly attracted to the Russian market, including AB Separator, Asea, SKF, Alfa-Laval, AGA, Bolinders, L M Ericsson and Nobel. During this period and after the revolution it was possible to acquire furniture, art and works of art. Several items of imperial provenance were sold at auction around 1920/30 in the then Soviet Union. The painting in this auction was acquired at this time and was then shipped to Sweden and has remained in the family since then.

Photo: Unknown photographer, Nicholas I and Alexandra Feodorovna in the rotunda 1840s.

Artist

Aivazovsky is associated with the greatest achievements in marine painting and laying the foundation of Russian naval painting. He became a model for several other prominent Russian artists who focused on depicting seascapes. Born in 1817 into a poor Armenian family in the small coastal town of Feodosia in the Crimea, he was fortunate to begin his art studies at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1833.
His first paintings, exhibited in the late 1830s, attracted great attention for their technical brilliance, their accurate representation of nature and the enthusiasm that permeated his work. He was fascinated by the sea, its powerful, uncontrollable natural forces and constant change. Brilliant colors and strong tones in Aivazovsky's paintings testify to his devotion to the ideals of Romanticism.

During the 1840s Aivazovsky traveled extensively in Russia, Europe, and America. During his travels, he painted frequently, and thanks to his personality, which was characterized by a positive attitude to life, drive and warm humanity, he was able to make contacts easily. In 1848 he returned to his hometown of Feodosia on Crimea, where he lived for the rest of his life.
In 1865 Aivazovsky became a professor and later a member of the St Petersburg Academy of Fine Arts, and during the same period he was made an honorary member of the Paris, Amsterdam, Rome, and Stuttgart Academies of Fine Arts for his great achievements in painting.

Aivazovsky organized over 120 exhibitions of his paintings both in Russia and in Europe, the proceeds of which went to charities such as poor artists, actors, students and families in Armenia who lived in scarce conditions. In 1865 he founded an art school at his studio in Feodosia, where talented young artists could study under his guidance. Fifteen years later he opened an art gallery in his studio, which became a cultural center.

Aivazovsky led an ambitious and active life and his career as an artist spanned almost 65 years. A large part of his oeuvre consists of sea scenes, but he also painted cityscapes from Moscow, St Petersburg and Odessa, as well as landscapes from Ukraine and the Caucasus, among other places. From the 1870s he began to be influenced by the new democratic trends in art, and the Romantic features were somewhat muted in his output. He began to depict reality in a more realistic manner, and superficial effects and brilliant coloring were replaced by calmer and softer tones.

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