Christie’s Russian Art Sale Sets Record For Svetoslav Roerich

Christie’s Russian Art sale set a world auction record for Svetoslav Roerich with a painting of his father entitled, Portrait of Nicholas Roerich in a Tibetan Robe, 1933, which sold for $2,994,500. The painting led Russian Art week in New York, and exceeded the pre-sale high estimate of $1,100,000. The previous record for a painting by the artist was $266,500, for Three Boddisatvas.

Alexis Tiesenhausen, International Head of Department, Russian Art, comments, “We are delighted with the results of this exquisite painting for Svetoslav Roerich. The Portrait of Nicholas Roerich in a Tibetan Robe is considered to be one of the most significant works of the artist’s entire oeuvre.” This iconic portrait is a revealing image that reflects the artist’s great admiration for his father. Roerich believed that when painting a portrait, one should emphasize the features that are the most consequential, and eliminate those that are less essential and likely to weaken the whole. Portrait of Nicholas Roerich in a Tibetan Robe exemplifies this concept, in the inclusion of a Buddhist symbol and abstract architectural elements rather than the actual background from the sitting.