Attributed to Vladimir Grigorievich Chertkov - Collection of Corbeau and Renard assembled by Gerd Sander Part II London Friday, May 16, 2008 | Phillips

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  • Catalogue Essay

    These series of portraits of the Russian writer Count Leo Tolstoi (1828-1910) are attributed to his loyal follower and publisher Vladimir Grigorievich Chertkov. Chertkov, who met the writer in 1883 and worked closely with him till his death in 1910, not only published Tolstoy’s writings, first through his publishing house “Mediator”, then during his exile in England, but he also handled all Tolstoy’s other public affairs to such minute details as providing photographs of the writer to his followers.
    The two shared a close intellectual and intimate link, which stemmed from their similar backgrounds and experiences. Both were born into wealthy, influential and aristocratic families. Just like the Count, Chertkov was exposed to frivolity and temptation of the high society from an early age, which they both came to reject. Chertkov resembled the writer in his intellectual integrity and strong views. A young ex-captain of the Guards, Chertkov abandoned the army on the conscientious grounds and subscribed to Tolstoy’s views on non-resistance.
    Chertkov was not the only one who subscribed to Tolstoy’s philosophical thought, and his involvement came at a time when the writer’s fame reached its zenith, gathering a whole movement of admirers. Tolstoy’s public affairs needed urgent handling and Chertkov became indispensable. However, Chertkov’s presence at Tolstoy’s side was always judged ambiguously. He was not only inspirational but also domineering, always pushing Tolstoy to even more radical extremes in his thought. His claim to Tolstoy’s manuscripts was met with a hostile resistance by Tolstoy’s wife and companion of 46 years, Sonya. The ensuing, prolonged battle for the copyright disturbed Tolstoy’s family peace to such an extent that the writer felt compelled to flee his home, boarding a train in the middle of the night, which ultimately led to his death the next day.


Selected Images of Tolstoi

Six gelatin silver prints, mounted.
Each approximately 23.5 x 17.5 cm. (9 1/4 x 6 7/8 in).
Each with blindstamp credit on the mount.

£2,000 - 4,000 

Sold for £2,250

Collection of Corbeau and Renard assembled by Gerd Sander Part II

17 May 2008, 3pm