CHRISTIE’S SHOW OF THE PRE-RAPHAELITES at the Tretyakov Gallery

Article: 
ON THE 250 ANNIVERSARY OF CHRISTIE'S
Magazine issue: 
#2 2016 (51)

Christie’s was honoured and felt privileged to be able to hold a second exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery - a Treasury of Russian Art and one of the leading museums of the world. In 2007, Christie’s exhibited Vasily Vereshchagin’s “Solomon’s Wall” for the first time in Russia at the Tretyakov Gallery. 2016 marks Christie’s 250th anniversary and will be celebrated with a series of events and exhibitions throughout this historic year for the company. Within our 250th year, Christie’s also celebrates 10 Years in Dubai in March and 30 Years in Asia in May, two landmark anniversaries for these geographies. As the world’s leading art business, Christie’s has continued to be recognised as tastemakers in the art market, continually innovating its sales and works on offer to best suit collectors globally, all this since over two centuries. Christie’s was the first international auction house to bring Pre-Raphaelite art to Russia, and this has been the result of the good and longstanding relationship with the Tretyakov Gallery, and we are grateful for all their support in the past, and, hopefully, in the future.

Christie’s special Moscow exhibition juxtaposed Russian and Pre-Raphaelite art and spanned nearly 100 years of art history. it included Pre-Raphaelite works of the Victorian period, which commenced on 20 June 1837 when Queen Victoria ascended the throne at the age of 18. The russian works of art included in this exhibition spanned the end of the Victorian period, marked by the death of Queen Victoria in 1901, until the late 1920s.

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (also known as the Pre-Raphaelites) were a group of English painters, poets, and critics, founded in 1848 by John Everett Millais, Dante Gabriel rossetti, and William Holman Hunt. empress Alexandra Fyodorovna of Russia (1872-1918), the wife of Nicholas ii (1868-1918), the last Tsar of the russian empire and a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was known to be particularly fond of Pre-Raphaelite art and had two works by sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912) at her favourite residence, the alexander Palace in Tsarskoe selo.

The 13 Pre-Raphaelite paintings shown recently are by the most renowned Victorian artists such as John William Waterhouse, Frederic, Lord Leighton, James Jacques Joseph Tissot, Albert Joseph Moore, sir Francis Bernard Dicksee, sir John Everett Millais and sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema. The selected works exemplify all the important themes of the Pre-Raphaelite movement such as tragedy, history, chivalry, religion, mythology, sagas and fairy tales.

The highlight of the exhibition was surely "St. Cecilia” by John William Waterhouse. "St. Cecilia” took the artist two years to paint and was painted at the height of Waterhouse’s career in 1894. Bought by George McCulloch even before it left Waterhouse’s studio, it was exhibited for the first time in 1895 at the Royal Academy in London. in 2000 the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation bought the painting and established with its purchase a new auction world record for the artist as well as the most valuable British 19th century painting. The painting was generously loaned by the Foundation to complement the recent exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery. By now the painting has safely returned to its owner and will be seen in other museum shows shortly.

Illustrations

Frederic LEIGHTON. Mrs Evans Gordon. с. 1870. © Christie’s Images Limited 2016
Frederic LEIGHTON. Mrs Evans Gordon. с. 1870
Oil on canvas. 53.3 × 43.1 cm
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016
John William WATERHOUSE. St. Cecilia. 1909. © Christie’s Images Limited 2016
John William WATERHOUSE. St. Cecilia. 1895
Oil on canvas. 123.2 × 200.7 cm
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016
John William WATERHOUSE. Lamia. 1895. © Christie’s Images Limited 2016
John William WATERHOUSE. Lamia. 1909 Oil on canvas. 92.5 × 57.5 cm
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016
Albert Joseph MOORE. Jasmine. 1880. © Christie’s Images Limited 2016
Albert Joseph MOORE. Jasmine. 1880
Оil on canvas. 66.6 × 50.1 cm
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016
The Hon. John Collier. The Sleeping Beauty. 1921. © Christie’s Images Limited 2016
The Hon. John Collier. The Sleeping Beauty. 1921
Oil on canvas. 111.7 × 142.2 cm
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016
Albert Joseph MOORE. A Revery. c. 1892. © Christie’s Images Limited 2016
Albert Joseph MOORE. A Revery. c. 1892
Oil on canvas. 116.5 × 74.3 cm
© Christie’s Images Limited 2016

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