Alexander YAKOVLEV (St. Petersburg 1887 - Paris 1938)
Portrait of Prince Luigi Amedeo de Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi
Signed and dated A. Iacovleff / 1933 in red chalk at the lower right centre.
559 x 439 mm. (22 x 17 1/4 in.) [sheet]
The present sheet, drawn in the artist’s distinctive red chalk technique, is a portrait of a man that Yakovlev knew well, and undoubtedly admired as a fellow adventurer. HRH Prince Luigi Amedeo di Savoia, Duke of the Abruzzi (1873-1933), a member of the Royal House of Savoy, was a noted Italian explorer, mountaineer and naval commander. He was known in particular for his achievements in scaling unclimbed mountains in Alaska, Uganda and the Himalaya and Karakoram ranges, as well as for his polar exploits in the Arctic, where he led an expedition to reach the North Pole that, while it did not succeed, established a new record for the farthest point north yet achieved by man. After the First World War Luigi Amedeo settled in the Italian colony of Somaliland in Africa. In 1920 he founded an agricultural settlement some ninety kilometres north of Mogadishu, and lived there for most of the rest of his life, with occasional trips back to Italy. The present sheet must have been drawn by Yakovlev during a brief visit that Luigi Amedeo made to Europe early in 1933, whilst suffering from the effects of prostate cancer. He soon sailed back to Mogadishu and returned to his home in Italian Somaliland, where he died, aged sixty, in March of that year.
To be included in the forthcoming Yakovlev catalogue raisonné in preparation by Caroline Haardt de La Baume.