Sotheby’s November Russian Art Sale Totals 14.1 Million

Sotheby’s London Russian Art Evening Sale realised a total of £14,155,600, against a pre-sale estimate of £17,535,000-24,810,000. The sale attracted over 100 registered bidders and saw 59.4% of the sold lots bring above their low estimates.

Commenting on the Evening Sale, Jo Vickery, Senior Director and Head of Sotheby’s Russian Art Department, said: “Given the current state of the economic climate, we are very pleased with the total achieved for this evening’s auction which fell just short of its low estimate of £17 million. Eight new artist records were established and 30% of the buyers in the sale were not only new to Sotheby’s but also came from the CIS, which is extremely encouraging and demonstrates that there continues to be an active market for Russian Art. Works by Roerich performed particularly well and high quality paintings by the blue-chip 19th- and early 20th-century Russian artists, such as Konchalovsky, Polenov and Larionov continue to be in demand.”

The highest price achieved in this evening’s sale of Russian Art was for Mikhail Fedorovich Larionov’s oil on canvas Reclining Nude, which sold within estimate for £1,385,250 (Est: £1.2-1.5 million). The painting was offered as property from a private European collection and was acquired directly from the widow of the artist, Alexandra Tomilina, by the previous owner.

Vladimir Makovsky’s museum-quality painting The Rag Market in Moscow set a new record for the artist at auction tonight when the work sold for £1,239,250 within estimate (Est: £1-1.5 million), establishing the second highest price paid in this evening’s sale. 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. 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 the1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois.

Works by Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich performed exceptionally well tonight and his tempera on canvas The Command brought his highest price of the evening, selling for £1,105,250 – almost five times its pre-sale low estimate of £250,000-350,000.

The sale followed an extremely successful sale of Imperial and Royal Presents which brought £1.95 million. Sotheby’s Russian Sales continue on Tuesday, November 25 with the Russian Paintings (Day Sale) and conclude on Wednesday, November 26 with Russian Fabergé, Works of Art and Icons (Day Sale).

Seven New Artist Records Established:
Lot 3
Nikolai Kornilevich Bodarevsky
Ukrainian Girl tending Geese
Sold for £181,250
Previous record: £74,400

Lot 6
Fedor Fedorovich Buchholz
The Kissing Rite
Sold for £133,250
Previous record: one work previously offered at auction, bought in

Lot 7
Vasili Dmitrievich Polenov
Egyptian Girl
Sold for £1,049,250
Previous record: £714,900

Lot 11
Vladimir Egorovich Makovsky
The Rag Market in Moscow
Sold for £1,329,250
Previous record: £624,000

Lot 14
Vasily Alexandrovich Kotarbinsky
Sold for £299,200
Previous record: £301,250

Lot 46
Leonid Terentievich Chupiatov
The Staircase
Sold for £253,250
Previous record £97,250

Lot 54
Alexander Mikhailovich Gerasimov
Still Life with Peonies
Sold for £241,250
Previous record: £27,967