Petr Petrovich Konchalovsky (Russian, 1876-1956) Ponte Rialto, Venice
Lot 29*
Petr Petrovich Konchalovsky (Russian, 1876-1956) 'Ponte Rialto', Venice
Sold for £468,000 (US$ 786,153) inc. premium
Auction Details
Petr Petrovich Konchalovsky (Russian, 1876-1956) Ponte Rialto, Venice
Lot Details
(n/a) Petr Petrovich Konchalovsky (Russian, 1876-1956)
'Ponte Rialto', Venice
signed in Cyrillic (lower left) and dated '24'; numbered on verso '(553)' and signed and titled in Latin 'P. Kontchalovsky/ Ponte Rialto 1924'
oil on canvas
75.3 x 102.5cm (29 5/8 x 40 3/8in).


  • Provenance:
    Private American Collection.

    Paris, Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts, Pierre Kontchalovsky, no. 66, 4-9 March 1925.

    Pierre Kontchalovsky, Exhibition Catalogue, no. 66, Paris, 1925;
    M. L. Naiman, Sovetskiy Khudozhnik, Moscow, 1967, p.300.

    Ponte Rialto belongs to a series of six paintings, created by Konchalovsky during his trip to Italy to participate in the XIV International Venice Biennale in June, 1924. While in Italy, Konchalovsky and his family visited Rome, Naples and Sorrento, where he created series of landscapes. The scenery, combined with the paintings of the Venetian masters, especially Tintoretto (whose works Konchalovsky copied at that time) created a big impression on the artist and his style, allowing him to depart from his earlier Cézannesque manner. Returning to Venice in the autumn of 1924, Konchalovsky started working on a new series, which became known as his 'Venetian cycle'.

    All the paintings from this cycle are very close compositionally. They depict well-known architectural landmarks 'close-up', from a lower vantage point, thus allowing the artist to capture fragments of grey, rainy sky. The same composition is used in the following paintings: Casa Tintoretto (Kiev, State Museum of Russian Art), Palazzo Ca' d'Oro and Ponte Santi Apostoli. In addition, each work also depicts boats or gondolas, as well as people, so as to emphasise the magnitude of the landmark represented. In Ponte Rialto, the artist uses very thick and broad brushwork to depict the grimy water of the canal and to mould the architecture of the bridge and the walls of the buildings on the opposite side.

    For his Venetian cycle, Konchalovsky used ready-made canvases of a similar size. However, for two works (Ponte Rialto and Casa Tintoretto), because the depicted landmark demanded a more elongated surface, the artist added small pieces of canvas to the left (in Ponte Rialto), and to the right (in Casa Tintoretto) edges of the standard-sized canvas.

    The sequential numbering, which the artist started to use to sign and identify the verso of his works from 1910 onwards, allows us to establish the order in which these paintings were created. Ponte Rialto, numbered '553', was preceded by Ponte Santi Apostoli (numbered '551') and Palazzo Ca' d'Oro (numbered '552').

    Ponte Rialto was exhibited during the artist's personal exhibition in Paris at the Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts in March, 1925 (catalogue number 66). The introduction to the catalogue was written by the French Minister of Education and Art, A. De Monzie. In the same year, either during this exhibition, or during the artist's trip to London, Ponte Rialto was purchased by a private collector. In the monograph P.P. Konchalovsky by M. L. Naiman (Moscow: Sovetskiy Khudozhnik, 1967) this work, together with Ponte Santi Apostoli is marked ‘Presently in London’ (p. 300).

    Among other known works on the subject, there is a pencil study for Ponte Rialto, 29 x 43 cm., (formerly in the collection of the artist's family, Moscow), which was exhibited at the artist's personal exhibition at the Russian Museum in 1929 (catalogue no. 45) and at the 100th anniversary exhibition in 1976 (see Exhibition Catalogue, P. Konchalovsky, Moscow, Sovetskiy Khudozhnik, 1976, p. 39).

    We are grateful to Vladimir Poliakov for his assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.
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