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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

Sotheby’s Important Russian Art Evening Auction Totals $8.7 million

Sotheby’s London Important Russian Art evening auction brought £5,597,000/$8,657,999 (est. £5,755,000-8,415,000). The sale achieved sellthrough rates of 66.7% by lot and 74.6% by value, and established two new artist records for Alexander Golovin and Pavel Kovalevsky.

Petr Konchalovsky, Tatar Still Life, 1916, sold for £914,850/$1,415,181. Photo: Sotheby’s.

The top-selling lot of this evening’s auction was Petr Konchalovsky’s exceptionally rare, pre-revolutionary painting Tatar Still Life, dated 1916. The painting saw competition from 5 bidders and realised the above-estimate sum of £914,850/$1,415,181 (est. £500,000-700,000). The painting first belonged to influential Polish art critic Waldemar George who presented the painting as a wedding gift to Louis Gautier-Chaumet, editor-in-chief of “La Presse” newspaper, where George served as art critic.

Commenting on the results of this evening’s auction, Jo Vickery, Senior Director and Head of Sotheby’s Russian Art Department in London, said: “We are very pleased with the results achieved for tonight’s Important Russian Art Evening Sale, which was led by Konchalovsky’s Tatar Still Life, a fine example of 20th century Russian painting. Artworks that came from the collection of Arthur Ferdinand Hamann performed particularly well, with all of the works offered selling for a combined total of £2,264,900/$3,503,574. We set new artist records for Alexander Golovin and Pavel Kovalevsky, both of whose works came from that private collection, and I was particularly pleased to see such depth of bidding for 19th century Russian classics. Today’s market for Russian Art is more selective than ever before and it is evident that fine works, priced appropriately with exceptional provenance generate competitive bidding; as we saw on our top lots this evening.”

The second highest price of tonight’s sale was achieved for The Rostral Columns Near the Stock Exchange, St. Petersburg (1878), by Alexei Petrovich Bogoliubov. The painting was sought after by three bidders on the telephone and one in the saleroom, who drove the final price paid by a private CIS buyer on the telephone to £679,650/$$1,051,351, almost reaching its pre-sale high estimate (est. £500,000-700,000). This moonlit view showing the gilded dome of St Isaac’s in the background is one of the largest works by Bogoliubov ever to have appeared at auction and it is also among the most important depictions of his native city to have come to light in recent years.

Another top-selling lot of tonight’s sale was an important work from The Collection of Arthur Ferdinand Hamann by Nikolai Roerich. His The Doomed City sold above pre-sale high expectations to a private CIS bidder on the telephone for the sum of £657,250/$1,016,700 (est. £400,000-600,000). The work has a distinguished early provenance, having been presented to Soviet activist and literary icon Maxim Gorky. It is also the most significant work from Roerich’s ‘pre-war’ or ‘prophetic’ series prefiguring World War I.

Further works that performed well in tonight’s sale and achieved record prices for the artists were General Iosif Gurko in the Balkans by Pavel Osipovich Kovalevsky, which was offered from the Arthur F. Hamann Collection and sold for £253,250 (pre-sale est. £120,000-150,000). Kovalevsky was head of the workshop for military painting at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts and one of a group of artists commissioned by Tsar Alexander II to produce paintings of the Russo-Turkish conflict for the War Gallery of the Winter Palace. Alexander Yakovlevich Golovin’s Set Design for Act I of Pskovityanka, which sold for £31,250 (pre-sale est. £30,000-40,000), also achieved a record price for the artist at auction. The set designs for the production at The Bolshoi Theatre in St Petersburg in 1901 were so impressive that when the curtain rose the audience broke into applause.

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