6 June 2018 Russian Art Auctions

6 June 2018

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

View of Mtskheta

* 17. VERESCHAGIN, PETR (1836-1886)

View of Mtskheta, signed and titled in Cyrillic.

Oil on canvas, 31.5 by 73.5 cm.
70,000-90,000 GBP

Provenance: Collection of Yuly Nevzorov.
Important private collection, Europe.

Authenticity certificate from the expert V. Petrov.

Exhibited: Vystavka russkogo iskusstva iz chastnykh sobranii. Zhivopis. Grafika. Skulptura, National Art Museum of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk, 1965–1966.
Vystavka russkogo i zapadnoevropeiskogo iskusstva, State Art Museum, Novosibirsk, 1976.
Vystavka russkogo, zapadnoevropeiskogo i drevnekitaiskogo iskusstva, Regional Historical Museum, Tomsk, 26 January–11 May 1979.
Vystavka russkogo, ukrainskogo, sovetskogo i zapadnoevropeiskogo iskusstva, Volyn Regional Historical Museum, Lutsk, 1980.
Vystavka russkogo, ukrainskogo, sovetskogo i zapadnoevropeiskogo iskusstva, Art Museum, Ivano-Frankovsk, 1981, No. 36.
Vystavka russkogo, ukrainskogo, sovetskogo i zapadnoevropeiskogo iskusstva, Regional Historical Museum, Lubny, 1983, No. 45.

Literature: Exhibition catalogue, R. Badin (ed.), Vystavka russkogo iskusstva iz chastnykh sobranii. Zhivopis. Grafika. Skulptura. Katalog, Minsk, Polymia, 1966, p. 8, listed.
Exhibition catalogue, Yu. Nevzorov (ed.), Vystavka russkogo i zapadnoevropeiskogo iskusstva. Katalog, Novosibirsk, Oblastnaia kartinnaia galereia, 1976, p. 24, listed.
Exhibition catalogue, Vystavka russkogo, zapadnoevropeiskogo i drevnekitaiskogo iskusstva. Katalog, Tomsk, Oblastnoi kraevedcheskii muzei, 1979, p. 13, listed.
Exhibition catalogue, Vystavka russkogo, ukrainskogo, sovetskogo I zapadnoevropeiskogo iskusstva. Katalog, Lutsk, Volynskii oblastnoi kraevedcheskii muzei, 1980, p. 19, listed.
Exhibition catalogue, Yu. Nevzorov (ed.), Vystavka russkogo, ukrainskogo, sovetskogo i zapadnoevropeiskogo iskusstva. Katalog, Ivano-Frankovsk, Khudozhestvennyi muzei, 1981, p. 14, No. 36, listed.
Exhibition catalogue, Vystavka russkogo, ukrainskogo, sovetskogo i zapadnoevropeiskogo iskusstva. Katalog, Lubny, Oblastnoi kraevedcheskii muzei, 1983, p. 9, No. 45, listed.

Related literature:For similar work, see exhibition catalogue, Vereschagin Petr Petrovich. Vereschagin Vasili Petrovich. K 150–letiui so dnia rozhdeniia. Katalog, Perm, State Art Gallery, 1984, p. 34, listed.
I. Golitsyna, Petr Vereschagin, Moscow, Belyi Gorod, 2008, p. 23, illustrated.

The collection of Russian art of the 19th and 20th centuries, now presented for auction, is extremely rare in terms of its quality and scope. It comprises not only illustrious works of landscape painting of the last third of the 19th century (Petr Vereschagin, Petr Petrovichev), but there are highest-quality works by masters of such artistic associations as the World of Art (Konstantin Somov), the Union of Russian Artists (Konstantin Yuon) and Blue Rose (Pavel Kuznetsov, Nikolai Sapunov and Nikolai Krymov).

The collector’s wide range of interests ensured that the collection encompassed, besides works by the École de Paris artists, represented at the auction by Chaïm Soutine’s outstanding portrait, also a well-known sculptural composition by Mikhail Vrubel and a remarkable painting by Martiros Saryan.

The real highlights among these works are compositions from the unique collection of Yuly Nevzorov (1913–2010), which are a great rarity in the art market. Nevzorov was one of those collectors who were imbued with a fiery passion for art, for whom collecting was not associated with commercial gain. His enthusiasm for collecting sprang from a family tradition. Nevzorov's parents, who had good artistic taste, instilled in their son a love of fine art and passed their pictures on to him.

There is one detail in the collector's biography that says a lot about him: he spent his first-ever salary on a picture, having firmly decided to start collecting paintings. He devoted his whole life to that goal. However, Nevzorov did not purchase art merely to indulge his own passion for beauty and knowledge: he would often literally rescue works from physical annihilation, restore them and subsequently hand many of them over to museums in Irkutsk, Arkhangelsk, Alma-Ata, Minsk and Semipalatinsk. His contemporaries noted that, thanks to Nevzorov, “… many canvasses were reborn, became part of scholarly discourse and were thus preserved for many generations to come”.

Nevzorov’s collection of paintings and drawings comprised some 500 works, mostly by Russian artists of the 18th–early 20th centuries; all in all, over a thousand works passed through his hands. It is no exaggeration to say that the entire history of Russian pre-revolutionary painting could be studied from this collection. The indisputable gems of the collection were works by such famous masters as Ivan Aivazovsky, Karl Briullov, Alexei Venetsianov, Konstantin Korovin, Philippe Maliavin, Ilya Repin, Aleksei Savrasov, Valentin Serov, Vasily Tropinin, Pavel Fedotov and many others.

In terms of comprehensiveness and quality, landscape painting was best represented in Nevzorov’s collection. It boasted works by nearly all celebrated artists who had played a prominent part in establishing Russian landscape painting. One of the collector’s undoubted coups was the acquisition of two paintings presented here. The compositions by Petr Vereschagin and Petr Petrovichev were painted at the height of their creators’ powers, belong to the artists’ hallmark works, and each of them is a brilliant example of a particular stage in the evolution of Russian landscape painting, which Nevzorov valued above the other genres. When, as he put it, “…the time came to clear out... a very bloated collection”, he preferred to get rid of works in all genres other than landscape. He also admitted that, as far as works in other genres were concerned, he “… never kept [them] in his permanent ... main exhibition”; and all art historians familiar with Nevzorov’s “exhibition and reserve stock” agreed unanimously that it was the landscape part of the collection that “made an enchanting impression through the abundance of excellent, often unique masterpieces”.

In its spirit and broad scope, the collection offered for auction largely continues the best traditions of the intellectually-charged pre-revolutionary collections of Russian painting. Its artistic makeup, comprising works by outstanding masters of Russian painting that belong to the most diverse schools and genres, enables one to state quite legitimately that, over several decades, the collection has attained museum standard.

View of Mtskheta, previously from the famous collection of Yuly Nevzorov, was painted by the famous “chronicler of views” Petr Vereschagin, a follower of the Italian tradition of landscape painting, characterised by the most scrupulous representation of natural environment and meticulous approach to the rendering of the nuances of colour and light. Vereshchagin travelled a great deal throughout Russia and, in the winter of 1873–1874, he visited the Caucasus for the first time and fell genuinely in love with its astonishing mountains and the peculiar, almost smoky sky. Returning to that area once more in the 1880s, the artist produced a series of most spectacular landscapes, of which View of Mtskheta was one. Despite the inclusion of a few non-central staffage figures, Vereschagin adheres to a faithful representation of nature and architecture and remains true to Academic painting traditions.

Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
† Indicates Standard VAT scheme applies, and the rate of 20% VAT will be charged on both hammer price and premium.