LONDON — The painting “Genoese towers in the Black Sea” (above) by Ivan Aivazovsky fetched $1.14 million in Christie’s sale on November 29.
The painting was created in 1895, a period when Aivazovsky dedicated most of his time to his beloved Crimean home of Feodosia.
The description on the auction house’s website reads, in part:
“Depicting a section of the 14th century fortress constructed by the Genoese Republic along the shoreline of Feodosia, this painting is an exemplary of Aivazovsky’s desire and ability to achieve dramatic effect. The remnants of a pre-existing maritime power, the ruins of the Genoese towers still present an imposing strength against the greatest force on earth – that of nature. Having spent countless hours near, and on various bodies of water, Aivazovsky had an intimate understanding of the nuances and the capriciousness of the sea and of changing weather. His paintings reveal the wide spectrum of nature’s capabilities – ranging from the exquisitely calm to the terrifyingly destructive.
“An artist who lived and worked in the Romantic era, Aivazovsky often prioritized emotion in his depictions of specific locations. Capturing the spirit of a moment and of a place was key to Aivazovsky’s mastery. Aivazovsky was able to consistently achieve awe-inspiring scenes on sea and on land, at different times of the day and night, throughout the seasons, with his indomitable talent and envied technique. Many of his observers and followers found it difficult to comprehend, let alone to imitate, his enduring ability to create images that are highly emotive and convincing.”