T he June Russian Pictures sale offers a wide array of works spanning two centuries and representing many of the most important movements in Russian art. The 19th century section includes a rare view of Capri by Sylvester Shchedrin as well as several works by Ivan Aivazovsky.
The sale has a particularly strong selection of works from the early 20th century, including two early canvases by Mikhail Larionov as well as an important work on paper by Natalia Goncharova inspired by Russian Orthodox icons. A large selection of Soviet-era pictures as well as contemporary works are also on offer.
Celebrating 200 Years of Russian Pictures
The island of Capri attracted numerous Russian artists over the course of the 19th century. Among them was Ivan Aivazovsky, who first visited in the early 1840s and devoted paintings to this subject throughout his career. One of the most famous Russian landscape painters to record the beauty of southern Italy, and of Сapri in particular, was Sylvester Shchedrin.
Out of 108 known works by the artist (who died in Sorrento in 1830), over forty depict Capri and its surrounding areas. The island continued to attract famous Russians in the 20th century, including Maxim Gorky who lived there from 1906 to 1913, and whose guests included Ivan Bunin, Fedor Chaliapin and Vladimir Lenin.
A number of Soviet works on offer were originally sold by Gekkoso Gallery in Tokyo. Yoko Nakamura, the gallery’s director, had first visited the Soviet Union in 1969 and was impressed by what she saw. She soon organised the first selling exhibition of contemporary Soviet art in Japan, which would become a regular fixture in the gallery’s program.
The paintings were sourced directly from the artists via the Soviet Ministry of Culture, and Nakamura met many of the painters personally. In collaboration with the Ministry, she also organised an exhibition of Russian and Soviet art which included many masterpieces from the State Tretyakov Gallery.