Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    IVAN KONSTANTINOVICH AIVAZOVSKY (Russian, 1817-1900)
    French Ships Departing the Black Sea, 1871
    Oil on canvas
    18-7/8 x 25-1/4 inches (48.0 x 64.0 cm)
    Signed in Latin and dated lower right: Aivasovsky / 1871
    Partial exhibition label on stretcher verso

    PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION


    French Ships Departing the Black Sea displays many of the hallmarks of Russian Ivan Aivazovsky's Romantic marine paintings, which made him famous throughout the world during his lifetime: an expansive vista featuring accurate vessels and rugged natural elements; a dramatic handling of light, with especial attention to the rising or setting sun as it spotlights areas of water; an icy-blue palette and velvety textures in the sky and sea; and the theme of man's relationship to nature. While many of Aivazovsky's nearly 6,000 seascapes are general, poetic interpretations of ships on stormy seas, French Ships Departing the Black Sea depicts a specific moment in European-Russian history: the dissolving in 1870 of the Treaty of Paris, which had been instituted in 1856 at the conclusion of the Crimean War, the effort of France, Britain, Austria, and Sardinia to protect the Ottoman Empire from Russian invasion. The Treaty of Paris stated that as part of Russia's concessions for losing the War, the Black Sea would no longer be home to Russian warships, but rather a neutral zone open to international trade. For nearly fifteen years, Turkish and European ships traded on these waters, until 1870 when Russia, renouncing the Treaty, began rebuilding its naval fleet here and threatening the Allied presence.

    In French Ships Departing the Black Sea, painted the year after Russia abrogated the Treaty of Paris, Aivazovsky highlights a large French sailing vessel in the center of a classically constructed composition. Fashionable French tourists on a bank in the lower left prepare to board a dory, which will transport them back to the ship. The calm sea, the soft light bathing the North Anatolian Mountains, and on the shore, the chatty bystanders and a carefree Turkish fisherman, belie the looming threat of Russian warships, which by the end of 1870, would utterly transform this halcyon setting.

    It is no surprise that Aivazovsky would have been interested in recording this particular moment in nineteenth-century French-Russian maritime history, as he was beloved by both his native Russians and by the French, longtime patrons. Too, the Black Sea held special meaning for him because he was born in one of its port towns, Feodosia. Establishing his career during the 1830s, Aivazovsky studied battle painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg, and he participated in military exercises on the Crimean waterfront, fraternizing with top Russian admirals. The Academy paid for him to continue his artistic training in Europe, where fell under the spell of works by the seventeenth-century Italian landscapists Salvator Rosa and Claude Lorrain, and where he met the influential British marine painter J.M.W. Turner. A mere decade later, the Russian Navy appointed Aivazovsky as its official artist, and he traveled throughout his career with officers and the imperial family to capture various military maneuvers and battles. Always attuned to the larger European art world, which showered him with awards and exhibitions, Aivazovsky lived in Paris in the mid 1850s and was the first non-Frenchman to receive the Legion of Honor. Lauded by Russians and French alike, he no doubt would have felt ambiguous about the Russians' renunciation of the Treaty of Paris and, therefore, in this painting, presents the peaceful departure of French ships from this historically complicated region.

    We wish to thank Gianni Caffiero for confirming the authenticity of this painting, which will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the artist's work being prepared by Caffiero and Ivan Samarine.




    Condition Report*: Lined canvas; light craquelure; stable surface; scattered minor frame abrasions and accretions along the extreme edges; stretcher support appears to be slightly warped along the upper left edge; under UV exam, there appears to be inpainting along the upper left extreme edge and in the upper left corner, scattered flecks of inpainting in the sky, as well as a quarter-size spot in the upper left quadrant, a 1 inch spot at the center top edge, two approx. 2 inch lines at the upper and center right extreme edge, and a 1 inch line to the right of the artist's signature. Framed Dimensions 27.75 X 32 Inches
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2014
    10th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 5,121

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    This item cannot be shipped using standard methods. Please contact us for more information. Sales Tax information

    Important information concerning Sales Tax and Resale Certificates. Learn More

    Terms and Conditions  |  Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments |  Glossary of Terms

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 9 days left to consign to the 2019 September 7 Art of the West American Art Signature Auction - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    Your reply to my request for an auction appraisal was the most encouraging, comprehensive, and enthusiastic reply I got (and a got several).
    Robert M.,
    New Harbor, ME
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,441,296
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $6,712,638
    2014 November 14 American Indian Art , Pre-Columbian, & Tribal Art Signature Auction
    2014 Nov 14 American Indian Art, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art Auction
    REALIZED $441,524
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $5,683,719
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    REALIZED $439,980
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $624,835
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    REALIZED $824,108
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,089,341
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    REALIZED $1,725,292
    2019 April 23 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 April 23 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $2,477,033