Painted in 1868, An Ox-Drawn Cart on the Shore and a Swimmer in the Shallows is one of the more unusual works by Aivazovsky in terms of subject matter to appear at auction in recent years. A female figure undresses on an ox-drawn cart while her male companion is already swimming in the sea. Beyond, a ship lies anchored close to the shore.
Aivazovsky would return to the subject on at least two occasions, first in The Ox Cart on the Beach, painted in 1873 and now at the Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, as well as in An Ox-Drawn Cart by a Tranquil Sea, and a Swimmer Beyond of 1886 (both illustrated in G.Caffiero and I.Samarine, Sea, Cities and Dreams, London, 2000, pp.102-103, plates 56 and 57).
The present work is included in the numbered archive of the artist's work compiled by Gianni Caffiero and Ivan Samarine.