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Feodor Iwanowitsch Kalmück (1764-1832)
Feodor Iwanowitsch Kalmück (1764-1832)
Feodor Iwanowitsch Kalmück (1764-1832)
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Feodor Iwanowitsch Kalmück (1764-1832)
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Property from the Collection of Ulrich and Alfred Ochsenbein
Feodor Iwanowitsch Kalmück (1764-1832)

Self-Portrait: A Drawing and three Prints

Feodor Iwanowitsch Kalmück (1764-1832)
Self-Portrait: A Drawing and three Prints
the drawing in pencil, 1798, inscribed '- par moi mem a Rome. 98. -', laid down to a support sheet with ink borderlines; together with The portrait of FEDOR, a Kalmuck Slave (Drawn & Engraved by himself), etching, 1815, on laid paper, without watermark, the English text printed from a separate plate, with wide margins, some minor staining and a few foxmarks, generally in good condition; Self-Portrait (Feodor Jwanowitsch), lithograph, on wove paper, with margins; and Self-Portrait (Feodor Iwanowitsch Kalmouck), lithograph, on wove paper, with margins; all generally in good condition
Drawing 122 mm. (diameter), Sheet 565 x 419 mm.
Etching 136 x 88 mm., Sheet 285 x 196 mm.
Lithograph 193 x 130 mm., Sheet 290 x 218 mm.
Lithograph 106 x 65 mm., Sheet 267 x 187 mm.
Ulrich Ochsenbein (1811-1890) and Alfred Ochsenbein (1883-1919), Switzerland; then by descent.

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Tim Schmelcher
Tim Schmelcher International Specialist

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Lot Essay

This very skilful and delicate self-portrait in pencil, drawn in Rome when the artist was 34 years old, seems to have been the model for the subsequent self-portrait etching of 1815 and one of the lithographs, also included in this lot. Below the etching, he printed a separate plate with a brief note in English, relating his highly unusual biography and career: 'The portrait of FEDOR, a Kalmuck Slave (Drawn & Engraved by himself;) who was given by the present Empress of Russia, to her Mother the Margravine of Baden; having shewn a disposition for the Arts the Margravine sent him to Rome, in order to improve himself in Painting & Drawing; he now resides at Carlsruhe, where he enjoys the reputation of a clever artist. Publ.d Augs.t 1.1815.'

He remained in Italy for nearly nine years, mostly in Rome, and recorded many works of classical antiquity and the Renaissance in drawings and prints. His series of engravings depicting Lorenzo Ghiberti's bronze doors of the Baptistery of Florence are in the Metropolitan Museum, New York. After his study years, he travelled together with other artists, including Giovanni Battista Lusieri (1755–1821), to Greece where, commissioned by the Earl of Elgin, he documented the sculptures of the Acropolis and other temples in drawings and plaster casts. The plan to publish his drawings in London as a print series failed, as Lord Elgin was held in France as a prisoner of war. A large album of drawings of Greek antiquities remained in London (now in the British Museum), while Feodor Iwanowitsch himself returned to Karlsruhe, where he entered the service of the Margrave of Baden as a court painter.

Born on the border of Russia and Mongolia and abducted by Cossacks at the age of three, he was brought to Saint Petersburg where he became a page boy at the court of Catherine the Great. At the age of six he was sent to Germany, and although from then on he spent the rest of his life in Europe, he never seems to have tried to forget or hide his Central Asian origins. He proudly carried the by-name 'Kalmück' and in the self-portraits depicts himself sporting a trimmed fur hat, presumably aware that his exotic looks and personal history was a source of fascination for patrons and the public alike.

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