Lot 27
  • 27

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky

300,000 - 500,000 GBP
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  • The Coast at Yalta
  • signed in Cyrillic and dated 1851 in the ship
  • oil on canvas
  • 91.5 by 128cm, 36 by 50 1/2 in.


Private collection, France


Structural Condition The canvas is unlined and is securely attached to the artist's original, keyed wooden stretcher. This is ensuring a stable structural support. Paint Surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer There is a pattern of very fine lines of craquelure within the sea and the sky, most notably in the upper right quadrant of the composition. This appears entirely stable and is not visually distracting. There are raised stretcher-bar lines corresponding to the central vertical and horizontal stretcher members. These also appear entirely stable. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows small scattered retouchings, including: 1) a few small areas of tiny carefully applied spots of retouching within the sea in the lower left quadrant, 2) a small area of retouching within the sea below and to the right of the ship, 3) a small spot of retouching within the buildings on shoreline in the lower right quadrant, 4) a horizontal retouching with associated small spots within the sky towards the centre of the left edge, and some further tiny spots and lines within the sky. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Dating from 1851, the year after Aivazovsky painted his celebrated masterpiece The Ninth Wave now at the State Russian Museum, The Coast at Yalta is one of the earliest Crimean views by the artist ever to appear at auction. Although a number of other views of the town exist, depictions from the eastern side are rare. The closest comparable view is the painting Crimea (The Peterhof State Museum Reserve), which dates from 1852 and at 58 by 88cm is significantly smaller than the present work.

The hilltop church of St John Chrystostom, which was the first stone building in Yalta when it was built in 1837, is clearly visible. Commissioned by Count Vorontsov in 1832, it was designed by Georgy Torricelli in the so-called pseudo-Gothic style which combined elements of Gothic and pre-Petrine Russian architecture. The location of the church meant that its three-tiered bell tower served as a navigation aid for sailors, something that would clearly have appealed to the artist.

The present work is included in the numbered archive of the artist's work compiled by Gianni Caffiero and Ivan Samarine.