Sotheby’s to Exhibit Highlights from Forthcoming Sales of Russian Art in Paris

To coincide with the 2010 ‘L’année de la Russie en France’, Sotheby’s announced that it will exhibit important works from its forthcoming sales of Russian Art in New York (April 2010) and London (June 2010) at its Paris Saleroom from March 4th to March 9th, 2010. The exhibition of around 25 paintings by leading Russian artists – some of whom emigrated to France – will also include a group of important works by Pavel Tchelitchew, which have come from the estate of American actress and socialite, Ruth Ford.

Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky’s Swimmers at Dawn, dated 1857. Est. £700,000-900,000 Photo: Sotheby’s

New York Auction of Russian Art, April 2010
Sonya Bekkerman, Senior Vice President and Head of Sotheby’s Russian Art Department in New York said: “We are delighted to visit Paris with these highlights by Pavel Tchelitchew, the Russian surrealist painter who lived in the Montparnasse in the 1920s. They are from the very personal collection of actress and ‘saloniere’ Ruth Ford, and several compositions feature portraits of Ruth, her brother Charles (Tchelitchew’s partner) as well as many of their friends and acquaintances. Both Portrait of Ruth Ford and Portrait of a Tattooed Man are among the most iconic works of the artist’s career.”

The spring sale in New York will include a group of works by the Russian Surrealist artist Pavel Tchelitchew, which have come from the collection of the late actress, Ruth Ford (1911-2009). Ford and her brother, the late surrealist poet and publisher Charles Henri Ford, shared a grand residence on the fifth floor of The Dakota, the famed apartment building on Central Park West in Manhattan. There, artists, writers and musicians including Leonard Bernstein, William Faulkner and Andy Warhol convened to enjoy the southern charm and hospitality of their hosts, evoking a bygone era of art, fashion and celebrity. Charles Henri Ford (1913-2002) and Pavel Tchelitchew were partners for nearly 25 years, and the Fords inherited the artist’s estate upon his death in 1957. They remained ever dedicated to promoting his career, lending their treasures to exhibitions and continuing to amass an evolving collection of his pictures. The Estate of Ruth and Charles Henri Ford, comprising approximately 70 works by Pavel Tchelitchew, will be offered in Sotheby’s sales of Russian Art and Impressionist and Modern Art in New York and Paris throughout 2010. (The entire collection is estimated to realise in the region of $2 million.)

Among the works by Tchelitchew that will be offered in the April sale of Russian Art and exhibited in Paris are: Tattooed Man from 1934 which is estimated at $250,000-350,000 and Portrait of Ruth Ford from 1937, which carries an estimate of $150,000-200,000.

London Auctions of Russian Art, June 2010
Jo Vickery, Senior Director and Head of Sotheby’s Russian Art Department in London, commented: “With the exhibitions and cultural events planned for this year to celebrate the year of Russia in France, 2010 promises to be an extremely exciting year for Russian Art. We are in the process of assembling our London auctions in June and are delighted to be exhibiting some important works by leading Russian artists from those sales – many of which have come from private collections – alongside treasures which will be offered in our New York Sale in April.”

Highlights from the June 2010 London auction of Russian Art in the Paris exhibition include Titi And Naranghe, Daughters Of Chief Eki Bondo by Alexander Evgenievich Yakovlev (1887-1938). It comes from a private French collection and was originally owned by Georges-Marie Haardt, Director General of the car manufacturer Citroën. The piece froms part of the body of work which Yakovlev produced in his role as chief artist of the Croisière Noire, André Citroën’s motorized expedition across the African continent, which took place from October 1924 to June 1925. In April 1925, Yakovlev and Haardt visited the village of Chief Eki Bondo in Niangara (located in Haut-Zaire in the modern Democratic Republic of Congo) and Yakovlev sketched the chief’s extended family. The work was executed by the artist in 1926 and is estimated at £700,000-900,000.

Konstantin Alexeevich Korovin’s (1861-1939) oil on canvas Still Life With Fruit. Korovin’s artistic talent earned him the title of Russia’s greatest Impressionist painter and in 1923 he emigrated to France from Russia. This work, which was executed by the artist in Paris in 1927 and is estimated at £300,000-500,000, has come from a private French collection. A further work by Korovin, which was believed to have been given to the previous owner by the artist when he stayed in their house in France, is his oil on canvas Portrait of a Dancer, dated 1917 (est. £150,000-200,000).

Swimmers at Dawn was executed in 1857 by Russia’s most important marine painter, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky (1817-1900). This oil on canvas from a private US collection is estimated at £700,000-900,000.

From private English collections are: Portrait of Leo Tolstoy by Leonid Pasternak (1862–1945) is estimated at £100,000-150,000 – the oil on canvas was acquired directly from the artist by the parents of the present owners – and Natalia Sergeevna Goncharova’s (1881-1962) oil on canvas, Still Life OfMagnolias, is estimated at £100,000-150,000.