Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian, 1817-1900) Shipwreck on a rocky shore
Lot 13*
Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky
(Russian, 1817-1900)
Shipwreck on a rocky shore
£ 150,000 - 200,000
US$ 190,000 - 260,000

The Russian Sale

28 Nov 2018, 15:00 GMT

London, New Bond Street

Lot Details
Property from a private American collection, Massachusetts
Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian, 1817-1900) Shipwreck on a rocky shore Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian, 1817-1900) Shipwreck on a rocky shore Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian, 1817-1900) Shipwreck on a rocky shore Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian, 1817-1900) Shipwreck on a rocky shore Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian, 1817-1900) Shipwreck on a rocky shore
Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (Russian, 1817-1900)
Shipwreck on a rocky shore
signed in Latin and dated '1872' (lower right)
oil on canvas
47 x 72cm (18 1/2 x 28 3/8in).

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Acquired by a private American collector of Hartford, Connecticut, USA, c. 1880-1890s. The family's thriving tobacco business facilitated frequent travels and art collecting. By repute the present painting was acquired at the International Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. It is possible that the present work was originally titled Storm in Black Sea, near the Crimean coast and listed among seven paintings exhibited by the artist at the Exposition.
    Thence by descent in the family


    One of the great narrators of the sea and the most celebrated maritime Russian artist, Ivan Aivazovsky excelled at captivating scenes that blended accurate realistic renderings and a powerful romantic imagination. The sea, in all its incarnations and manifestations, remained the main theme that dominated the artist's long and prosperous career.

    A native of the port town of Feodosia, Aivazovsky grew up by the Black Sea. From an early age he witnessed its beauty and ungovernable nature and was fascinated with tales of shipwrecks and legends of seafaring. The vastness of seas and oceans, their ever changing characters, their infinite power and the human experiences confronting their mighty force became subjects of thousands of grand and small works in which he juxtaposed the overwhelming power of nature with the vulnerability of mankind.

    Artist's talent ensured that his fame as one of the greatest maritime painters of his age reached far beyond the borders of the Russian Empire. His admirers included Russian Imperial family, Ottoman Sultanate, European aristocracy and American bourgeoisie. Patrons, collectors and general public revered his works for their freshness and vitality, Aivazovsky's unparalleled ability to render the evasive translucent quality of water and breathe life into unruly power of the sea. Awarded numerous honorary degrees, titles, and awards, Aivazovsky enjoyed widespread public recognition during his lifetime and held an unprecedented number of solo exhibitions both in Russia and abroad.

    In The shipwreck on a rocky shore the artist depicts dramatic scene of the rescue attempt of the large sailboat beaten down by the sea and slammed against the costal rocky shore. A crew of sailors on the foreground has set out on the courageous task of searching for survivors of a shipwreck of the sailboat visible in the distance. The suspense is palpable and the happy outcome is not ensured. The looming cliffs almost merge with the threatening skies, turbulent array of white froth of the turquoise water reveals the strong underwater currents, menacing grey clouds embattled by strong wind reveal on-going storm and the racing seagulls offer a veritable sense of the impending tempest. Yet the crew in the small boat is fearlessly attempting to reach the site of the shipwreck, seemingly oblivious to the rapidly worsening weather conditions surrounding them. The viewers invited to contemplate the tragic events of the past night when the sailboat lost its battle with the sea and cheer for the courageous sailors, defiant to the dangers that possibly await them, steadfast in their mission and moving into the rough sea.
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