The work of one of the most famous Romantic Russian painters was now within reach in Saint-Malo. Its radiant beauty inspired a fierce bidding battle.
Ivan Aivazovsky (1817-1900), Russian steamboat aiding a sinking ship, 1891, huile sur toile, signature in Cyrillic on the bottom right, countersigned and dated on the back, 45.8 x 74.3 cm.
With his unrivaled mastery of the ocean's often unleashed elements and magnificent depictions of spray-drenched suns, it was no surprise that Ivan Aivazovsky received his first commission from Tsar Nicholas I at the age of 17 before crisscrossing the Baltic and the Black Sea with the imperial fleet. Here, we have a scene showing a Russian Steamboat Aiding a Sinking Ship (45.8 x 74.3 cm, 1.50 x 2.43 ft) on a canvas sporting the master's signature in Cyrillic and the date, 1891, on the back. The painting, which has stayed in the same family since the 1950s, illustrates all the qualities of this brilliant seascapist. Naturally, this rescue at sea had plenty of bidders hankering after it, and finally soared up to €140,000. The painting is, of course, included in the numbered archives of the artist's work compiled by Gianni Caffiero and Ivan Samarine.