Arkhip Ivanovich Kuindzhi (Russian, Mariupol 1842–1910 St. Petersburg)
Oil on canvas
53 x 74 in. (134.6 x 188 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1974
Not on view
Arkhip Kuindzhi is considered one of the most talented Russian landscape painters of his generation. Born in Ukraine, he was associated during the second half of the 1870s with a group of Russian Realist painters known as the Wanderers. In the 1890s, he was hired to teach landscape painting at the Academy of Fine Arts but was later dismissed for sympathizing with student agitators. He ultimately founded his own painting society.
This late major painting is typical of Kuindzhi, who is best known for his large, nearly empty landscapes. The scene shows a sunset over the banks of the Dnieper, a great river that originates west of Moscow and runs far south into the Black Sea. The dark shapes in the foreground represent a cluster of thatched-roof huts, typical of the region.
the artist (until d. 1910; bequeathed to Kuindzhi Society); Kuindzhi Society, Moscow (1910–1916/18; sold for 22,500 rubles to Dembovski); K. B. Dembovski (from 1916/18); Peter Tretyakov, New York (by 1967–74; sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, May 1, 1969, no. 339, bought in; sale, Parke-Bernet, New York, December 1, 1971, no. 221, bought in; and sale, Sotheby-Parke Bernet, New York, April 17, 1974, no. 197 to Spanierman for MMA)
New York. Gallery of Modern Art. "A Survey of Russian Painting: Fifteenth Century to the Present," June 14–September 17, 1967, unnumbered cat. (as "Sunset," lent by Peter Tretyakoff, New York).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Patterns of Collecting: Selected Acquisitions, 1965–1975," December 6, 1975–March 23, 1976, unnumbered cat.
M[ikhail]. P[etrovich]. Nevedomskii and I [lia]. E[fimovich]. Repin. A.I. Kuindzhi. St. Petersburg, 1913, pp. 136–37, 164, 190, ill. opp. p. 92 (color), date it 1905–8; list two sketches for this work.
M[ikhail]. P[etrovich]. Nevedomskii. Kuindzhi. Moscow, 1937, p. 62, ill. p. 91, notes that this picture typifies a new element of stylization and simplification of line apparent in the artist's work after 1880.
John E. Bowlt. "A Russian Luminist School? Arkhip Kuindzhi's Red Sunset on the Dnepr." Metropolitan Museum Journal 10 (1975), pp. 119, 128–29, fig. 1, calls it representative both of Kuindzhi's artistic career and the Russian luminist school; states that "the interchange of color and light . . . achieves an almost cosmic force, a grand tension between physical and abstract, matter and spirit, 'here' and 'there'," and associates this tension with Russian Modernism as a whole.
V[itale]. S[erafimovich]. Manin. Kuindzhi. Moscow, 1976, pp. 122–23, 126–27, 136, 189, 205, fig. 55 (color), mentions a study also dated 1905–8, in the Jdanovskii Regional Museum.
Rebecca A. Rabinow inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 160, 265, no. 149, ill. (color and black and white).
Irina Shuvalova inArkhip Kuindzhi iz sobraniia Russkogo muzeia. St. Petersburg, 2007, p. 24.
There are at least two works that relate to this painting: an oil sketch (1890–1908; State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg) and a study (1905–8, Jdanovskii Regional Museum) (see Manin 1976).