Ivan Aivazovsky painting leads old master auction

A painting by Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky will lead an auction of old master paintings at Christie's New York.

Arrival of the Columbus Flotilla to the American Coast carries an estimate of $1.2m-1.8m ahead of the April 25 sale.

Aivazovsky Russian Columbus
The work depicts Columbus' arrival in the Americas

Aivazovsky (1817-1900) was celebrated for his extraordinary seascapes. He was appointed the official artist of the Russian Navy in 1844.

Anton Chekhov even coined the phrase "worthy of Aivazovsky's brush" in Uncle Vanya (1897). It became a popular saying to describe something beautiful.  

The work is one of five paintings he produced depicting Columbus' arrival in America.

They were among a selection of 20 of the artist's paintings shown at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  

The record for Aivazovsky's work is $5.2m, set for his View of Constantinople and the Bosporus at Sotheby's in 2012.

William Bouguereau's Une Dryade (1904) is another highlight, with an estimate of $1m-1.5m.

Bouguereau (1825-1905) was an acclaimed technician and a great master of the academic tradition.

His work came to be considered passe in the early 20th century, but has recently become popular again due to a revival of interest in figure painting.

The present lot is a virtuosic composition executed towards the end of his life.

It took well over a year to complete.

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