IVAN SHISHKIN (1832-1898)
Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898)

A summer day, Merikiul'

Ivan Shishkin (1832-1898)
A summer day, Merikiul'
signed with Cyrillic initials, further signed, inscribed and dated 'I. Sh. Merikiul' 95 I. Shishkin. 1895' (lower right); with studio stamp in Russian 'Study by I. I. Shishkin' (on the reverse)
oil on board
24¼ x 16½ in. (62 x 41.8 cm.)
Painted in 1895
Probably, Elena Katul'skaia (1888-1966), a popular Soviet singer and actress who was awarded the title of National Artist in 1965.
Possibly, St Petersburg, Imperial Academy of Arts, 'Posmertnaia vystavka proizvedenii I. I. Endogurova, I. I. Shishkina i N. A. Iaroshenko, chlenov Tovarischestva peredvizhnykh khudozhestvennykh vystavok' (Posthumous exhibition of works by I. I. Endogurov, I. I. Shishkin and N. A. Yaroshenko, members of the Society of itinerant art exhibitions), 1898.
Possibly, St Petersburg, Imperial Academy of Arts, 'Posmertnaia vystavka khudozhestvennykh proizvedenii O. A. Lagody-Shishkinoi, I. I. Shishkina i F. A. Vasileva' (Posthumous exhibition of artistic works by O. A. Lagoda-Shishkina, I. I. Shishkin and F. A. Vasilev), 1899.
Probably, Moscow, Tsentral'nii Dom Rabotnikov Iskusstv SSSR (The Central House of Labourers in Art in the USSR), Vystavka kartin i etiudov I. I. Shishkina (An exhibition of paintings and studies by I. I. Shishkin), 20 March 1948.

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Alexis de Tiesenhausen

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Lot Essay

During the summer months of 1894 and 1895, Ivan Shishkin worked on studies in the Baltic States. He particularly liked the beautiful outskirts of Narva and the agreeable spots of Shmetsk and Merikiul'. The mixed forests there provided rich impressions, awakening a desire to recreate on canvas the forest corners, stilled in a summer haze, illuminated by the soft sunlight. The mighty pines, with their golden bark and shaggy branches, occupy the entire space of A summer day, Merikiul'.

The sandy footpaths, leading from the sun-drenched foreground, draw the gaze deeper into the forest thicket, which the sun's rays can no longer penetrate. The vicinity of the lit and shadowed areas, of ancient trees and young shoots, allows the artist to revel in the beauty and richness of vegetative forms. In depicting the bark of the old pine, he works with thick, short, textured brush strokes; the shaggy branches he paints with a soft, broad brush; the drying branches he draws out with an almost dry, thin stroke. This variety of texture allows the viewer not only to delight in the living beauty of the landscape, but also to feel the palpable presence of the artist, conjuring in front of one's very eyes a living flesh of nature.

Every autumn, returning to St Petersburg after his summer of painting such studies, the artist would bring tens, and sometimes even hundreds, of studies and drawings done from life. 'In the study of nature, one can never place a full stop, one cannot say that one has mastered it completely and need no longer study', he would say. Working en plein air always remained an essential creative process for Shishkin.

The presentation of this study, with a black band along the perimeter and the 'Study by Shishkin' stamp on the reverse, testify to the fact that it was exhibited at one of the artist's posthumous exhibitions in St Petersburg, in either 1898 or in 1899.

The study was formerly in the collection of the celebrated Soviet singer Elena Katul'skaia, and was likely exhibited at An exhibition of paintings and studies by I. I. Shishkin from the collections of labourers in science, literature and art, which took place in Moscow in 1948.

We are grateful to Dr Galina Churak of the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow for providing this note.

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