ROERICH, NICHOLAS 1874-1947 Rocks and Cliffs, from the series "Ladoga" signed with a monogram, also numbered "N19" by the artist, and further numbered "164" by the Roerich Museum, with an old label on the reverse, c. 1917-18 Oil on panel, 32.5 by 40 cm.
Provenance: Roerich Museum, New York, 1924-1935.
Nettie & Louis Horch collection, USA, from 1935.
Private collection, USA.
Private collection, Europe.
Authenticity certificate from the expert O. Glebova, Senior Researcher at the Roerich Museum, Moscow.
Exhibited: The Nicholas Roerich Exhibition, Travelling exhibition in the USA, 1920-1923.
Roerich Museum, New York (permanent collection), 1923-1935, no.164.
Literature: C. Brinton, The Nicholas Roerich Exhibition, New York, 1921, no.152-172.
Roerich Museum Catalogue, 8th ed., New York, Roerich Museum, 1930, p. 16, no.151-164.
Nicholas Roerich spent most of 1917 and 1918 in the Lake Ladoga area where he moved his family away from the chaos and destruction unleashed by the Russian revolution. He was also suffering from a chronic lung disease. His letters to friends from thisperiod, especially 1917, reveal a sense of desperation and gloom that he had probably never experienced before, and many of his paintings are detached, somewhat emotionless observations of nature. However, depression was never in the artist's nature, and his health restored, Roerich soon plunged himself back into social and artistic activity. This painting exhibits a naive, almost excessive optimism in its simple composition and diluted colour patches, as though Roerich wanted to return to an iconic landscape form in order to play with light and shadow in their most abstract manifestations.
He included it among the works of the travelling exhibition that visited more than 20 cities in the United States during1920-1923. After that, it stayed in the Roerich Museum's permanent collection.