Catalogue: Important Russian Art Auction

15 October 2020

Artist Index / Full Catalogue

Boats in Amalfi Bay

33. GORBATOV, KONSTANTIN (1876–1945)

Boats in Amalfi Bay, signed and dated 1925.

Oil on canvas, 65 by 81.5 cm.
50,000–70,000 GBP

Provenance: Private collection, Europe.

This painting belongs to the remarkable series of views of the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast that Konstantin Gorbatov produced in the mid–1920s. When he emigrated from Soviet Russia in 1922, the artist headed for Capri in Italy to revisit the places where he had previously stayed with Maxim Gorky while still on a study-trip funded by the Academy of Arts. It was there that he first encountered the blissful setting, steeped in the southern sunshine, that generated his lifelong love of lighting effects and his bright array of many colours.

Unsurprisingly, when Gorbatov returned to Italy as a mature artist, his first years abroad proved to be extremely fruitful. On the island of Capri and in Amalfi, he created and endlessly refined the instantly recognisable composition of his hallmark seascape, with its mountainous coastline and the invariable sails of fishing boats. As he rang the changes on the subjects of such canvases and often repeated them, the artist would return again and again to his much-cherished spot to see how the fluctuating light affected the colour of the blue sea and its shores, lined with snowy-white buildings running down to the water, as well as the hulls and sun awnings of the boats moored around the harbour.

Another version of the composition, Fishing Schooners. Amalfi, is housed today in the New Jerusalem Museum in Istra. These paintings not only brought Gorbatov fame in Europe; they also feature among the most sought-after works by the Russian diaspora today.

Konstantin Gorbatov, Amalfi, 1920s, New Jerusalem Museum, Istra.

Boats in Amalfi Bay

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.