ISAAK LEVITAN PAINTINGS FOR SALE & BIOGRAPHY
“Isaak Levitan is regarded as one of Russia’s foremost landscape painters of the 19th century, noted for his mastery of the ‘mood’ landscape. In the words of Alexandre Benois, ‘There are no human beings in his paintings, but they are permeated with a deep emotion which floods the human heart…’. Born into an impoverished Jewish family, Levitan trained at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture (1873–1883) under Vasily Perov, Aleksey Savrasov, and Vasily Polenov, founders of the lyrical landscape school. His talent was acknowledged by Pavel Tretyakov, who purchased one of the artist’s early works, Autumn Day, Sokolniki (1879). Levitan was also a longstanding friend of the famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov, whom he had met as a student.
“Levitan exhibited his paintings with Peredvizhniki (Association of Traveling Art Exhibitions), becoming a member of the Association in 1891. During the late 1880s, he travelled in the Volga region, during which time he painted many notable works including Quiet Abode (1890) and Evening on the Volga (1889) (both State Tretyakov Gallery). In 1886, Levitan visited Crimea, where he executed numerous sketches and paintings.
“In 1892, Levitan left Moscow after Tsar Alexander III ordered the expulsion of Jews from the city, only to be reinstated when his colleagues protested. During the 1890s, Levitan travelled to Western Europe, staying in, among other places, Berlin, Paris, Nice, Venice, and Florence. He was exposed to the Barbizon and Impressionist schools of 19th-century French art, as well as Symbolist trends in European art of the fin de siècle; the spiritual component of his art deepened, as in such works as Above Eternal Peace (1894, State Tretyakov Gallery). Levitan was made a fellow of the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in 1898, and headed the landscape class at the Moscow School between 1898 and 1900.
“Admired both in traditional and modernizing camps due to his expert use of light and color, his works featured in the World of Art (Mir iskusstva) journal and exhibitions during the early 1900s, as well as in exhibitions abroad. A solo exhibition was held in 1896 and posthumous exhibitions were staged in various Russian cities in 1901, 1903, 1938, and 1960–1961” (Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Gründ, 2006).
The A.N. Radishchev State Museum of Fine Arts, Saratov
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford
National Gallery of Armenia, Yerevan
Nizhni Novgorod Art Museum, Novgorod
Springville Museum of Art, Springville, UT
State Museum of Fine Arts of Tatarstan Republic, Tatarstan
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow
Tver Art Gallery, Tver