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Lot 3215* - A206 19th Century Paintings - Friday, 22. September 2023, 04.00 PM


(1817 Feodosija 1900)
Broad landscape with oxcarts. 1858.
Oil on canvas.
Signed lower right in Cyrillic and dated: Aivazovsky. 1858.
98.3 × 146.3 cm.

European private collection.

‘Extensive landscape with ox carts’ from 1858 was only recently rediscovered in a private collection and represents a rarity in Aivazovsky’s oeuvre, who tended to concentrate on marine paintings. In the lot offered here, Aivazovsky depicts a wide grassy landscape traversed by a wagon train of ox carts. The landscape likely represents the steppe in the northern part of the Crimea, Aivazovsky’s homeland. From his native town of Feodosia in the east of the peninsula, the vast grasslands and fields of the steppe, from which only a few small hills rise, were not far away. The present work can therefore be seen as the artist’s homage to the countryside of his native land.

Through the skilful use of the vanishing point, Aivazovsky succeeds in creating an impressive diagonal with the wagon train, which aptly conveys the vastness of the steppe and the distance to the horizon. The composition also hints at his artistic predilection, marine painting: the flat surface of the grassland, the wide sky and the deep, seemingly endless horizon are all typical features of the artist’s depictions of the sea. The large format of the painting provides information about Aivazovsky’s manner of working in the studio, and at the same time is a testament to his great fame – he was already internationally established and in high demand at the time this picture was painted. Aivazovsky’s artistic mastery is particularly evident in the way light is rendered in the painting. The low evening sun casts long shadows over the landscape, filling the scene with atmospheric, masterfully executed light. Here Aivazovsky’s appreciation of the nature of his homeland comes to the fore, and the peasants blend into the landscape quite in the same manner as the herons standing in the tall grass.

The present painting, presented in its original frame, with its atmospheric mood created by Aivazovsky through subject, composition and lighting, is a very special masterpiece by the famous artist, of a kind that rarely appears on the art market.

Gianni Caffiero, to whom the painting was hitherto unknown, confirmed after examining the original that it is by the hand of Aivazovsky, for which we are grateful.

CHF 200 000 / 300 000 | (€ 206 190 / 309 280)

Sold for CHF 250 000 (including buyer’s premium)
All information is subject to change.