5 Jun 2013
Oil on canvas, 62 by 98 cm.
Provenance: Private collection, UK.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert N. Ignatova.
Authenticity certificate from the expert V. Petrov.
Exhibited: Possibly, The 11th Exhibition of the St Petersburg Society of Artists, St Petersburg, 1903.
Literature: Exhibition catalogue, The 11th Exhibition of the St Petersburg Society of Artists, St Petersburg, 1903, p. 17, possibly listed as No. 108.
Gavriil Kondratenko, a distinguished Russian landscape artist of the second half of the 19th century, known for his exotic landscape views of the Crimea, Caucasus and south of Russia, is represented here by an impressive canvas entitled Seascape.
A graduate of the St Petersburg Imperial Academy of Fine Arts, Kondratenko commenced his studies in Karl Gun’s historical painting class, and later, from 1873 until 1882, studied under Mikhail Klodt, a renowned Russian landscape artist and an adherent of the academic Realism school.
The present lot vividly illustrates Kondratenko building on the foundations of both of his teachers. On the one hand, one can deduce the apparent influence of Klodt – in the degree of technical skill in conveying the effects of sunlight and shadow on the water and the rocks, the precision of the brushwork, and the use of staffage – the background figures strolling along the coast and the sail in the distance towards the horizon – which adds depth to the work. However, it is obvious that Kondratenko goes beyond Klodt’s realism and adopts a more lyrical, expressive style typical of Kuindzhi’s school. The brushstrokes in Kondratenko’s Seascape are broader and more visible, the composition more liberal, with the artist focusing on conveying the atmosphere of a relaxed summer day and the beautiful sunlit coast with the waves splashing up against the rocks. With its crisp precision and skilfulness, Seascape is both a vivid example of Kondratenko’s late oeuvre and, more generally, a superb illustration of the achievements of the late 19th century Russian landscape genre.
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