Sold by Christie’s Oct. 12-13 2009
Piotr Sokolov (1787-1848)
Portrait of Prince Victor Pavlovich Kotchubey
signed in Cyrillic and dated ‘Sokolov/1834’ (lower left)
pencil and watercolour, with gum arabic in places, on paper
7 1/8 x 5 7/8 in. (18.2 x 14.8 cm.)
Executed in 1834
Exhibition catalogue, Piotr Feodorovich Sokolov. Russian intimate Portraits, Moscow, Pushkin Museum, 2003, illustrated p. 103, no. 130.
Moscow, Museum of Private Collections, Pushkin’s Contemporaries: 100 Portraits in Watercolour from a Parisian Collection, May – July 1999. Moscow, Pushkin Museum, ‘I see myself as if in a mirror…’ Contemporaries of A. C. Pushkin in the Portraits of P. F. Sokolov, 2003, no. 130.
An eminent imperial statesman and member of a noble Ukranian family, Prince Victor Pavlovich Kotchubey (1768-1834) embarked on his diplomatic career with assignments to Sweden, London and Paris. In 1792, he was given the ambassadorial title of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Turkey. Appointed to the board of the College of Foreign Affairs in 1798, and created Count the following year, Kotchubey eventually became one of the indespensible advisors of Alexander I. He sat on the Privy committee and took part in the outlining of the Government Reform, subsequently acting as Minister of Foreign Affairs in 1801-1802, Minister of the Interior until 1812, and then again from 1819-1825. The following years proved to be particularly noteworthy for Kotchubey, seeing him appointed Chairman of the State Council in 1827, being given the title of Prince by Tsar Nicholas I in 1831 and, shortly before his death in 1834, receiving the promotion to State Chancellor.