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Erinnerungen an die Kriegsgefangenschaft in der Kirgisen- und KalmÜkensteppe 1914-1918.

REICHARD Walter Reinhold (1918.)

£12500.00 

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48 original watercolours (including title-page) each with author's monogram, captioned in German and dated. Oblong 8vo. A little shaken in the original grey cloth album but otherwise fine, inscription "Walter Reichard Berlin Hufelandstrasse No. 39" to rear pastedown. 48ll. Astrakhan 1914-1918. [With:] Two large hand-coloured drawings by Reichard measuring 200 by 250mm. 1917 &

A wonderful watercolour album by a German internee, one of the most accomplished we have handled. These 48 beautifully realised images provide a deep insight into life in Astrakhan province on the north shore of the Caspian Sea. They were painted primarily between 1914-16, a particularly interesting time in the Russian Empire with Revolution and subsequent withdrawal from the First World War.

 

Encompassing the Kalmyk steppe, the Volga and Akhtuba Rivers, Reichard's vivid, intimate pictures combine a strong use of colour with a delicate touch. The album opens with a classic image of a Kirghiz rider on horseback at dusk, which also serves as a title leaf. There are images of Yenotayevsk and Bolkhuny, which are followed by a suite of fifteen images depicting life among the Kalmyks and then another fifteen of the Kirghiz. These images are of enormous ethnographic interest including ten individual portraits, two family portraits, as well as group portraits of clergy, fishermen and travellers. There is a depiction of a local ceremony "mädchentag", another of female dancers, and water carriers. In addition, there are some spectacular landscapes of Bolkhuny, the steppe, the Volga at sunset as well as frozen over in winter. The album rounds out with portraits of Russians, Ruthenien and Galitzian refugees, a Tartar veterinarian, and even a Persian longshoreman.

 

Founded in 1742, Yenotayevsk is the oldest settlement in the Astrakhan province. At around 1880, it was turned into a camp for political exiles and so was a natural home for internees in the First World War. Bolkhuny is a village in Akhtubinsky district, Astrakhan. It's on the Akhtuba River, a tributary of the Volga.

Stock Code: 222577