5
5
Vasily Vasilevich Vereshchagin
PORTICO OF A CHURCH
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 314,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
5
Vasily Vasilevich Vereshchagin
PORTICO OF A CHURCH
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 314,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Russian Art

|
London

Vasily Vasilevich Vereshchagin
1842-1904
PORTICO OF A CHURCH
signed with initial in Cyrillic l.l.
oil on canvas
45 by 60.5cm, 17 3/4 by 23 1/2 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Acquired from the Art Institute of Chicago, 1902
The collection of Ambassador Charles R. Crane (1858-1939)
Christie's New York, Property from the Collection of Ambassador Charles R. Crane, 24 April 2006, lot 20
Sotheby's London, Russian Art, 30 November 2010, lot 13

Catalogue Note

‘Part of the responsibility of the rest of the world is to conserve such beauty as still exists in Russia, for Russia is fundamentally an artistic nation’ wrote Charles R. Crane in response to the aftermath of the Revolution (The Chicago Tribune, 25 February 1920). A legendary Russophile and collector who visited Russia over 25 times and who was received by Nicholas II and Prince Volkonsky among others, Crane provided support for a number of Russian artists and was well acquainted with Vereshchagin with whom he corresponded often.

Crane acquired the present lot in February 1902, along with six other works sold by the Art Institute of Chicago on the artist's behalf. The canvas is listed as No.53 Portico of church in Russian village in a letter from the Institute to Ambassador Crane (The Bakhmeteff archive, Columbia University, New York); at $1,000, it was one of the most expensive of the works he purchased and is perhaps a reflection of his deep interest in Russian religious art and music. He was a delighted host to Gretchaninoff when the Russian composer of church music visited the States after the Revolution. 

In a letter to V.Tretyakova on 29 February 1896, Vereshchagin describes his series of paintings of wooden churches in northern Russia as some of his most successful works. According to a contemporary historian who met him in Yaroslavl, he would set up his easel in museums, churches and monasteries and paint quickly: 'Once he decided to record his native art in paintings, (he) not only became well acquainted with it but devoted himself entirely to its comprehensive study' (M.Semevsky, 'Putevye ocherki, zametki i nabroski', Russkaya starina, October 1889, p.204).

The rich frescoes and unevenly tiled floor in the present lot are thought to belong to the interior of the Church of St John the Baptist in Tolchkovo, near Yaroslavl, which Vereshchagin is known to have painted in 1888 (Portico of the Church of St John the Baptist in Tolchkovo. Yaroslavl. The State Tretyakov Gallery). The warm glow, illuminated details and shafts of sunlight are characteristic of his finest church interiors.

Important Russian Art

|
London