Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian, 1817-1900)
Along the Coast, Capri
Signed and dated "Aïvazovsky/1892" l.l., signed and dated similarly on the reverse, also inscribed with the artist's address "Theodossie, Crimee, Russie" on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 18 x 29 3/4 in. (45.7 x 75.7 cm), framed.
Condition: Wax lined, retouch, patch reinforcements corresponding to small tears c.l., l.l., and l.r., fine craquelure, bulges in lower half of canvas, surface grime.
Provenance: Sotheby's New York, Russian Art, April 21, 2005, Lot 8, as Along the Coast (collab. w/Studio), Sotheby's London, Feb. 2, 1983, as Lot 171, to a private Rhode Island/New York collection.
Literature: Gianni Caffiero and Ivan Samarine, Light, Water and Sky: The Paintings of Ivan Aivazovsky, Alexandria Press, London, 2012, p. 319, item CS-1892-004.
N.B. Ivan Aivazovsky is widely acknowledged as the leading figure of Russian Romanticism, admired above all for his seascapes and coastal scenes. Born to an Armenian family in Feodosia on the southern coast of the Crimean Peninsula, Aivazovsky was educated at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, graduating in 1837 with a gold medal. In the 1840s he travelled in Europe where he met major artists of the day including J.M.W. Turner (British, 1775-1851), whose romantic seascapes influenced the younger artist. Aivazovsky returned to Russia where he received a commission from the Russian Navy as a painter of seascapes, coastal scenes, and naval battles on the Black Sea. In 1845, invited by the Sultan Abdülmecid I, Aivazovsky went to Constantinople, a city he would visit several times between 1845 and 1890, commissioned by members of the court. He was a greatly revered artist, his name entering the Russian lexicon with the phrase "worthy of Aivazovsky's brush" to describe something of ineffable beauty.
Over the course of his long career, Aivazowsky created over 6,000 paintings. His favorite subject was the sea in all its moods and the effects of light, and it is said that he painted from memory in the studio. He had an impressive ability to recall and recreate the nuances of what he had seen in person, even if only for a short time. He spent his last years in Feodosi, and with funds earned from his successful career, he assisted with the development of the town, opened an art school, began the first archaeological excavations in the region, and built a historical museum.
The patch reinforcements correspond to small, professionally executed surface repairs with retouch as follows: an area measuring 5 x 1-1/2 inches overall at left center edge; a small oval of retouch in the foreground water measuring 1 inch wide and 1/2 inch high located in lower left quadrant; a small, lightly brushed area in the lower right quadrant in the sailboat's reflection in the water. Other retouch includes: retouch across both upper corners; a small area lightly brushed along the horizon line, center right, in the sky just above the cliffs to the left of the sailboat; three minor dots to the sky; two small lightly brushed areas in lower right corner. The bulges mentioned above are minor, the larger one located in the lower right corner perhaps caused by an old stretcher key.
Images 34 through 40 were taken under infrared and show the underdrawing.
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