4 июня 2014
Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich on a Wolf Hunt, signed.
Oil on canvas, 102 by 181 cm.
Provenance: Collection of John B. MacDonald, Chief of Staff to the New Jersey State Senator, USA.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert V. Petrov.
Exhibited: Possibly, Universal Exposition, St Louis, 30 April–1 December 1904.
Literature: Possibly, exhibition catalogue, Official Catalogue of Exhibits. Universal Exposition, Saint Louis, 1904, St Louis, The Official Catalogue Company, p. 285, No. 274, listed as Hunting.
Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich on a Wolf Hunt is a most striking and successful example of the work of Rudolf Frentz, a Russian artist of German origin renowned primarily for his work on hunting subjects drawn from the life of the Imperial court.
This monumental, yet energetic canvas brilliantly conveys the dashing exertion of those taken up in the chase and the breakneck thrill that consumes them. The artist also pays great attention to his depiction of the horses and hounds, showing not only wonderful anatomical knowledge, but also genuine delight in the physique and grace of these noble animals.
Regularly accompanying the Imperial family on their travels and out hunting, the painter became especially close to the Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich, a well known patron of the arts and avid huntsman, whose favourite pursuit Frentz reflected in his cycle of work entitled Grand Duke Vladimir Alexandrovich out Hunting which includes the present lot.
The path of Frentz’s half-century artistic career was paved entirely in St Petersburg. Here he moved to take up permanent residence in 1857, after graduating from the Academy of Arts in Berlin, and here he was later elected an honorary member of the Imperial Academy of Arts. While hard at work on commissions from members of the Most August family, the artist also took part in exhibitions held by the Itinerants, and his work was acquired by the best known museums in the world, including the State Russian Museum, setting Rudolf Frentz among the most eminent representatives of the Russian academic school.
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