Salvaging Shipwrecked Masts From A Stormy Black Sea
no place or date but c.1860s
43 x 28 inches in original gilt frame. Overall size 50 x 35 inches. Original oil painting on canvas. Unsigned but attributed to Paul Von Franken from its subject, distinctive style and treatment of paint. In extremely good condition having been recently relined, cleaned and restored, retaining the original stretcher. Extensive landscape depicting the snow-covered Caucusus Mountains and rugged, dramatic cliffs stretching down to a stormy Black Sea. Two men in the foreground wrestle with a large broken mast from a wrecked vessel floating in the sea amidst a tangle of ropes and other flotsam and jetsam. In the waiting ashore are several people in the distinctive clothing of the region. Above on the Cliffs is a domed Church or Fortress and given its situation it is likely to have been both. In the middle distance is another fortified settlement with a large tower dramatically perched on a headland. In the distance on the left of the picture the sky has darkened depicting the squall coming in. Paul Von Franken (1818 - 1884) is known as the Painter of the Caucusus and produced many depictions of the area having travelled there on behalf of the Russian Government touring the theatres of war. Many of his paintings hang in the National Gallery of Georgia in Tbilisi, where he and his wife Helene Korber lived for a short time, and would visit throughout his life. It is said that she even completed the paintings left incomplete by him at his death. Despite being unsigned, Von Franken is really the only likely contender to have painted this image with the sweeping grand landscapes that are unmistakeably his hallmark.
[Stock No. 26502]