6 June 2018
Ukrainian Landscape at Night, signed and dated 1870 .
Oil on canvas , 75 by 92.5 cm .
Provenance: A gift from the Soviet government to Akhmed Mukhtar, Ambassador of Turkey to the USSR, 1920s.
Thence by descent.
Russian Day Sale. Paintings, Sotheby’s London, 12 June 2007, lot 37.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
Private collection, UK.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
Literature: G. Caffiero, I. Samarine, Water and Sky. The Paintings of Ivan Aivazovsky, London, Alexandria Press, 2012, p. 159, pl. 83, illustrated; p. 294, No. CS-1870-009, illustrated and listed.
Ukrainian landscapes, at night, at dawn or sunset, were painted by Aivazovsky throughout his life. Even during his student days at the Imperial Academy of Arts under Maxim Vorobiev, the young artist had become interested in finding artistic ways of conveying the complex effects of light in a nocturnal landscape. This is already apparent in his 1837 painting By the Lighthouse, which enabled him to graduate two years earlier from the Academy, and take a two-year research trip to Crimea, followed by a six year trip abroad.
The present work Ukrainian Landscape at Night was painted during Aivazovsky’s mature period, when his artistic vision was fully formed, primarily under the influence of European art — in particular Italian, French and Dutch painting — and when the master had received international recognition at exhibitions in Rome, Paris, London and Amsterdam.
The painting offered here for auction not only captivates the viewer with the artist’s masterful rendition of light and shade on the animal and human figures, in the flecks of moonlight on the river surface and drops of water trickling from the oars; but it also reflects his deep love of the nature of his native land. In comparison to his turbulent seascapes, these lyrical scenes of everyday life, conveying the tranquility of warm Ukrainian nights, show Aivazovsky’s unrivalled talent in representing the most diverse impressions and images. It comes as no surprise that the master’s Ukrainian landscapes, alongside his seascapes, hold pride of place in the most distinguished European collections and museums.
Ukrainian Landscape at Night, in addition to its artistic merits, also boasts an impressive provenance: in the 1920s, it was gifted by the Soviet government to Akhmed Mukhtar, the Ambassador of Turkey to the USSR.
Notes on symbols:
* Indicates 5% Import Duty Charge applies.
Ω Indicates 20% Import Duty Charge applies.
§ Indicates Artist's Resale Right applies.
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