Lot 10
  • 10

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
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  • Sunset over the Crimean Coast
  • signed in Latin and dated 1875 l.r.
  • oil on canvas
  • 47.5 by 64cm., 18 3/4 by 25 1/4 in.


Acquired in Russia by John Barbour Esq, circa 1880
Thence by descent  to the present owner


Structural Condition The canvas has been lined and this is ensuring an even and secure structural support. There is a fine web of craquelure which is entirely stable and not visually distracting. Paint surface The paint surface has a even varnish layer. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows a few small scattered retouchings, the most significant of which are: 1) in the upper left corner, on the framing edges where it would seem there has been an earlier turnover and tacking edge, 2) in the upper right of the sky, where there are a number of retouchings which are small but certainly appear excessive and should they be removed would be found to be at least partially unnecessary. These retouchings seem to cover craquelure rather than paint losses. 3) 3 small areas in the lower right of the composition, just above and below the horizon, which measure approximately 1 x 0.5, 1 x 0.75 and 1 x 1.5 cm. 4) a thin horizontal line approximately 2 cm in length in the water in the lower left of the composition. 5) retouchings on an around the encampment in the lower left of the composition. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in good and stable condition and there is the potential to reduce the amount of retouching should the painting be cleaned and more carefully retouched.
"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

"What distinguishes my own works from each other and from those of other artists is the strength of the light. I regard the pictures in which the main power is the light.... as my finest creations." (the artist cited in G.Goldovsky, 'A Romantic Master', Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky. Paintings, drawings and watercolours from the museum collections of St Petersburg, exhibition catalogue, St. Petersburg: The State Russian Museum, 2000, p.5)


Many painters were drawn to the magical light of the Crimea but no one ever surpassed the beauty of Aivazovsky's poetic canvasses depicting his beloved homeland. In the present lot Aivazovsky skilfully captures 'the golden hour' before the sun sets, when sky and sea are bathed in a warm glow and clouds are raked by the dramatic effects of the sun.

We are grateful to Gianni Caffiero for providing additional cataloguing information.