25 - 28 November 2012 Russian Art Auctions

25 November 2012

Artist Index / Full Catalogue


21. MAKOVSKY, ALEXANDER (1869–1924)

Solikamsk, signed twice in Cyrillic and Latin and dated 1910, further titled in Cyrillic on the reverse.

Oil on canvas, laid on board, 39 by 57 cm.
70,000–90,000 GBP

Provenance: Anonymous sale; 19th Century European Art, Christie’s South Kensington, 1 December 2005, lot 226.
Private collection, Europe.

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

Exhibited: The 39th Exhibition of the Society for Itinerant Art Exhibitions, Moscow, St Petersburg, 1910–1911, No. 258.

Literature: Niva, No. 24, 1911, illustrated.
G. Romanov, Tovarishchestvo peredvizhnykh khudozhestvennykh vystavok. 1871–1923. Entsiklopediya, St Petersburg, Orkestr, 2003, p. 365, No. 17–258, illustrated in black and white; p. 366, No. 17–258, listed.

Solikamsk belongs to the celebrated series of paintings by Alexander Makovsky Views of Churches and Monasteries in Russia and was exhibited in Moscow and St Petersburg at the 39th Society for Itinerant Art Exhibitions show in 1910–1911.

Views of the Kama River region from this series have a special place in the artist’s oeuvre. Inspired by the local wooden and stone architecture, Makovsky created a unique artistic panorama of the heritage of the Urals, in which one of the most impressive images is his view of Solikamsk. To convey the configuration of the long-established trading town, Makovsky chooses the most felicitous view from the river, allowing the key examples of Solikamsk architecture to be assembled in a single composition: the cathedral bell-tower, the churches of the Epiphany and the Resurrection, and the church of the Elevation of the Cross standing a little apart, right by the river. Ripples of the quiet, narrow reach of the Kama in the foreground reflect the “whitewash of the bell-towers”. Although this transgresses artistic truth somewhat, it succeeds in creating a ravishing echo of the lively sky, which is painted in short, abrupt brushstrokes occasionally leaving the ground beneath exposed.

The fine condition of this canvas and its expressive composition not only place Solikamsk among Makovsky’s best landscapes of the second decade of the 20th century, but also make it a unique memorial of its time, preserving for posterity the charm of an ancient Ural town, now irrevocably changed.

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.