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Russian Paintings and Works of Art
18 April 2007
Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich (1874-1947)
Gilgit Road, from the series Lakes and Gilgit Path
USD 300,000 - USD 400,000
signed with the artist's monogram (lower left), On reverse: signed with his monogram and dated '1925', and inscribed 'N 21'
Tempera on canvas laid on board
25¾ x 38½ in. (65.5 x 98 cm.)
Painted in 1925
Roerich Museum Collection, 1926-1935.
Louis Horch Collection, New York, circa 1935.
Charlie Posusta Collection, New York.
Acquired from above by the present owner, circa 1985.
Roerich. Himalaya. Articles by F.Grant and others. New York: Brentano's Publishers, 1926. p. 200, illustrated p. 146.
Roerich Museum Catalogue. 8th ed. New York: Roerich Museum, 1930.
No. 561, illustrated p. 52.
Gilgit Path is one of twelve paintings (four of which are sketches) from the Lakes and Gilgit Path series. The series was completed in the first half of 1925 whilst Roerich was staying in Srinagar, present-day Kashmir. He arrived there in the late spring to prepare for an expedition which he later led through Ladakh and over Karakoram passes into Chinese Turkestan. The start of the expedition was delayed by British authorities who refused to let Roerich into Ladakh leaving him to explore the beautiful Srinagar area famous for its water-mountain landscapes. Among the paintings completed in Srinagar there are three paintings entitled Gilgit Road, and here is what the artist himself says:
"On the northeast of Lake Vular the mountains converge. In this pass there is a kind of conviction. The village, Bandapur, has quite an individual character, and when you reach the post road you can understand the importance of the site. Here, to the mountains, turns the road to Gilgit. You pass up to the first ascent and watch the windings of the rising path. Upon the peak of the very summit is the first night camp. Then on, the path lies first along the very edge where the snow still gleams white as a narrow strip, afterwards sinking far down into a new gateway. Gilgit and Chitral are especially guarded. If the road towards Ladak is difficult, then Gilgit and Chitral are always under special forbiddance. Violet and purple rocks; and the snow peaks are blue. Each turbaned rider draws one's attention - is he not perhaps from the north? Each pack of loaded ponies draws your eye after them. A significant corner!" (Roerich. Himalaya, Ibid, p.133)
Before leaving for Ladakh, Roerich sent the Lakes and Gilgit Path series, along with other works painted in 1925, to the Nicholas Roerich Museum in New York which financed his travels in India and Central Asia and which by that time housed more than six hundred of the artist's works. At present, most of the paintings from this series are in private collections in the United States.
We would like to thank Gvido Trepsha of the Nicholas Roerich Museum for his assistance in cataloguing the present lot.