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In the Far North

14. STOLITSA, EVGENI (1870–1929)

In the Far North, signed and dated “8 iiunia. 1899”.

Oil on canvas, laid on cardboard, 22 by 35.5 cm.

Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.

This lot presents the very first painting made by Evgeny Stolitsa during the maiden voyage of the world’s first icebreaker Yermak.

The significance of this historic 1899 voyage is hard to overstate. Yermak was a remarkable engineering achievement, for the first time allowing vessels to break through heavy, two-meter-thick ice. Embodying modernity's conquest of the Boreal frontier, it captured the public imagination and attracted significant international attention, with its arrival in Kronstadt from the wharf on 4 March 1899 turning into a large celebration.

Stolitsa enjoyed privileged access to the ship’s first Arctic journey, captivated by the polar scenery he began painting during long stretches of ice flows in his small cabin, which accounts for this piece’s modest size. In his book "Ermak" in the ice" S. O. Makarov wrote about the painter: "He [Evgeny Stolitsa] was so addicted to the polar nature that he spent whole days in the hummocks, and we were often afraid later that some curious polar bear would not disturb him with his unexpected visit at the time when he was getting carried away, painting the nature among which they live".

The polar theme, begun with this small piece, would continuously recur in Stolitsa’s work. In 1899 he followed two more expeditions onboard Yermak icebreaker, both times departing from England.

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.