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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Vladimir Makovsky Artwork for Sotheby’s Russian Art Sale

On Monday, November 24, 2008, Sotheby’s London will hold its bi-annual Russian Art Evening Sale, as part of its Russian Art Sales Week. The auction will offer for sale masterworks by some of Russia’s greatest artists, including Ivan Aivazovsky, Vladimir Makovsky, Boris Grigoriev, Nikolai Roerich, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Alexander Yakovlev and Konstantin Korovin. The sale will be preceded by the auction of Imperial and Royal Presents on November 24th and followed by the Day Sale of Russian Paintings on November 25th and the Day Sale of Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons on November 26th.

Commenting on the Russian Week Sales Series at Sotheby’s, Jo Vickery, Senior Director and Head of the Russian Art Department, said: “Our forthcoming sales will furnish new and established buyers of Russian Art with collecting opportunities across a range of media. The Evening auction alone will give seasoned collectors of Russian Art several unique saleroom opportunities to broaden their existing collections and acquire early masterworks that rarely – if ever – appear on the market. We are delighted to be offering for sale such an iconic painting by Vladimir Makovsky, which is everything one would want from a work by the artist. The painting is a museum quality piece, which is believed to be his first large-scale painting and was produced during a period known to be the artist’s best. The sale also includes a jewel of a painting by renowned marine artist Ivan Aivazovsky. Aivazovsky is celebrated for his views of Constantinople – a scene which the artist painted every year – and the work we have here for sale is considered by experts to be his finest view of Constantinople ever painted.”

Russian Art Evening auction
The tightly-edited 54 lot auction will be spearheaded by a spectacular example of Vladimir Makovsky’s favoured medium of genre painting, The Rag Market in Moscow (est. £1-1.5 million). Painted in 1880, the monumental scene (157 x 258 cm) captures the brisk trade at the flea market between what was then the Ilyinsky Gates and Staraya Square. Every figure in the picture has been carefully recorded by Makovsky and the rich application of paint and the lively movement of the brushstrokes convey beautifully the myriad colours of the characters’ clothing and the expressive faces of the habitués of the Moscow flea market. The painting was very well received at its first exhibition in St. Petersburg in 1880, and continued to attract a great deal of interest at exhibitions abroad, including the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

Among the many masterpieces, another highlight of the sale is a magnificent landscape by Ivan Aivazovsky titled View of Constantinople and the Bosphorus, which is estimated at £2-3 million. Aivazovsky first visited Constantinople in 1845 as part of his duties as official painter to the Russian admiralty, a role to which he had been appointed 8 years previously by Emperor Nicholas I. The present work was painted in 1856, the final year of the Crimean War. Despite having spent time making sketches in the besieged city Sebastopol, this work makes no reference to the war, instead recalling the Constantinople of peace time he had known ten years earlier. The canvas is a superb example of Aivazovsky’s use of light and gives an impression of the scale of a busy city port, paying homage to man’s relationship to land and sea.

The sale will also include two important works by Michael Larionov, which he painted in his early twenties at a crucial stage in his artistic development. In Reclining Nude, (£1.2-1.5 million), Larionov’s handling of pigment and form conveys a cool and leafy interior and reflects his early interest in Impressionist techniques and the influence of Degas. Nudes formed a central theme in Larionov’s oeuvre and one to which he frequently returned, though, as Igor Grabar recalled in his memoirs, “At this time, Larionov was still very restrained, standing almost entirely on his platform of Impressionism”.

In his Still Life with a Plate, (£600-800,000), Larionov deftly combines rich colours and a variety of textures and planes in a manner which marks a stylistic independence which was beginning to draw the attention of both critics and collectors alike.

Sangacheling (1924) (£500/700,000) is one of a series of thirteen works painted by Nicholas Roerich in Sikkim on the southern slopes of the Himalayas at the beginning of his first five-year long tour of cultural centres and historic sites
in the East. In the five hundred or so paintings that resulted from the trip we can see philosophical concepts and ideas giving birth to visual images amid the crags and peaks of Northern India.

Russian Art: Paintings Sale (Day)
One of the most important lots of the Russian Paintings Day Sale is Composition by Dmitri Mikhailovich Krasnopevtsev, which is estimated at £40,000-60,000. The painting is one of ten works that come to auction from a collection of nonconformist art which was put together by a Brazilian diplomat during first half of the 1970s. Alongside the other works in the collection, this oil on board, was acquired directly from the artist by the previous owner.

A further highlight of the sale is Iosif Evstafevich Krachkovsky’s oil on canvas View Near Lubni, Ukraine, which is signed and inscribed in Cyrillic. The work has come from a private US collection and is estimated at £30,000-50,000.

Russian Art: Russian Works of Art, Faberge and Icons (Day)
A Fabergé Silver-Gilt and Cloisonné Enamel Bratina, Feodor Rückert, Moscow, 1899-1908, from a private Dutch collection. Estimate: £60,000-80,000.

An Imperial Feberge Silver and Enamel Clock, workmaster: Michel Perchin, St Petersburg, circa 1901. Estimate: £120,000-180,000.

A Magnificent Collar of the Order of St. Andrew, Emmanuel Pannasch, St. Petersburg, 1835. Estimate: £600,000-800,000.

A Silver-gilt and Cloisonné Enamel icon of the Iverskaya Mother of God, 1st Moscow Artel, 1899-1908. Estimate: £20,000-30,000.