Tranquil Waters, 1924

by Ivan Choultse

P.O.A.

Choultse loved creating scenes of the landscape, sky, moon and plants. He was a ‘singer of nature’ and undoubtedly worshipped the snow and water most of all. His artistic world is without people or animals. Like this piece, his preferred landscape is a winter view.

Thanks to his lengthy trip to Europe during the uncertainty of the revolutionary years, his pieces frequently depict the Swiss Alps, southern France and northern Italy. He was called a “magician of light” because of an almost magic realism of his paintings.

DIMENSIONS: (unframed) 20.0 x 23.8 ins / 50.8 x 60.5 cm
SIGNATURE: Signed ‘Iw. F Choultsé’ (lower right)
MEDIUM: Oil on canvas

 

Catalogue No: 6249 Categories: ,

Choultse’s incredible handling of both light and shadow – a defining quality in his portfolio – is visible here as the moonlight emits its pale glow from between the autumnal leaves above, and bounces off the gentle waves. The water sings with light and, more softly, so do the hazy mountains. This work is more exceptional when compared with Choultse’s typical landscapes, in which he often employs high contrasts (a strong shadow against radiant snow, for instance). This composition is more dark and contemplative, sheltered by the branches peeking into the foreground, and the perspective stretches across a vast open expanse. In line with his other paintings, however, Tranquil Waters captures a sense of magical realism within a peaceful and intimate moment in time.

In his 1979 biography Memoirs of an Art Dealer, Toronto art dealer G. Blair Laing wrote: “He painted spectacular snow scenes in which the light seems to come from behind the canvas and glow. Today his style of painting is much admired with Choultsé being appreciated universally as a brilliant and analytical portrayer of nature.”

Provenance

Private collection, United Kingdom

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Biography

Choultsé was born in Petrograd, Russia in 1877 and he studied painting with Constantin Krighitsky.  The artist’s popularity dates from his first exhibition at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, Petrograd, in 1903.  Following this noteworthy debut, he not only became an honoured exhibitor at all the major galleries in Moscow and Petrograd, but was also elected court painter to Czar Nicholas II.

 

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, because of his ties to the Czar, Choultsé felt obliged to leave Russia and established residency in Paris. He began exhibiting at the Salon des Artistes Français in 1923. Demand for his work was increasing and his first one-man show in Paris held at the Galleries of Gerald Freres sold out on the opening day.  Similar success was seen at his first one-man show in London, where all his works sold in the first few days.

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