Lot 9
  • 9

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky

120,000 - 180,000 GBP
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  • An Ox-Drawn Cart on the Shore and a Swimmer in the Shallows 
  • signed in Cyrillic and dated 1868 l.l., further signed, inscribed Odessa and dated on the reverse
  • oil on canvas
  • 57.5 by 76cm, 22 3/4 by 30in.


Acquired by the grandmother of the present owner in the 1940s or 1950s


Structural Condition The canvas is unlined and is securely attached to what appears to be the artist's original keyed wooden stretcher. This is ensuring a stable structural support. There is a canvas patch repair to the right of the centre of the left vertical stretcher member as viewed from the reverse. This is entirely stable. The canvas is inscribed on the reverse. Paint Surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer. The paint surface has an overall pattern of slightly raised lines of craquelure including corresponding to the central vertical stretcher member. These are stable. There is also a diagonal line of raised craquelure running through the pink clouds in the lower left quadrant and a further raised line towards the lower part of the right edge. These are also stable. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows an area of retouching within the sky to the right of the ship's sails which corresponds to the patch visible on the reverse, a line of retouching corresponding to the raised line of craquelure within the clouds in the lower left quadrant, and small spots and lines of retouching on and close to the extreme edges of the composition, including in the upper right corner. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in 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

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.