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Ivan Constantinowitsch Aivazoffski (Russian, 1817-1900)

Elegant Ladies fishing at the Water's Edge

Ivan Constantinowitsch Aivazoffski (Russian, 1817-1900)
Elegant Ladies fishing at the Water's Edge
signed in cyrillic and dated '1870.' lower right
oil on canvas
22 x 31in. (55.9 x 80cm.)

Lot Essay

Born in Theodossia in 1817 his family had fallen into poverty during the plague epidemic that swept the city in 1812. Aivazoffski was forced to work as a waiter in coffee-shops but his self taught love for drawing was evident in the works he produced during these years. Lacking other materials he would draw on the whitewashed walls of the city. His talent was noticed by the mayor of Theodossia, A. Kaznacheyev who helped the artist enter the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts in 1833.
In 1836 his trademark style of seascapes and landscapes painted in almost photographic accuracy and bathed in color began to develop. His teacher, A. Sauerweid, specialized in naval battle scenes at the Academy. He encouraged him to attend and sketch the Baltic Sea Fleet manoeuvers. In 1837 Aivazoffski was awarded the gold medal by the Academy wich allowed him a scholarship to travel throughout Europe. The English master Joseph Mallord William Turner was so impressed by Aivazoffski's Bay of Naples on a Moonlit Night that he dedicated a eulogy to him.
In this your picture
I see the moon, all gold and silver
Reflected in the sea below...
And on the surface of the sea
There plays a breeze which leaves a real
Of trembling ripples, like a shower
Of fiery sparks or else the gleaming headress
Of a mighty king!
Forgive me if I err, great artist,
Your picture has entranced me so,
Reality and art are one,
And I am all amasement.
So noble, powerful is the art
That only genius could inspire!



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