Sotheby's Russian Art Week Totals $29.4 Million (£23 Million)
Sotheby’s Russian Art Week Totals $29.4 million (£23 million) The highest result achieved across all Russian sales in London this season
The Private Collection of Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya realises $5.3 million (£4.2 million)
Two new artist records achieved for Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky, and Georgian artist, Niko Pirosmani
Two records also set for musical instruments created by Giovanni Battista Guadagnini and Santo Serafin
London, 29 November 2018: This week’s Russian Art sales at Sotheby’s concluded yesterday realising a combined total of $29.4 million (£23 million). Strong results were achieved across all three sales, each realising totals above their pre-sale estimates.
Mark Poltimore, Sotheby’s Chairman of Russia, said: “I am absolutely thrilled with the outstanding results we have achieved in the last two days. We had some remarkable and varied property on offer this season, which I think really captured the imagination of collectors from around the world. Having championed this category for so long, we are absolutely delighted to be ending the year on such a high note.”
The Russian Pictures sale, which alone realised a total of $17.1 million (£13.4 million) (est. $9.6-14.1 million / £7.6-11.1 million), saw two artist records set – first, for Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky whose monumental canvas Blind Man’s Bluff sold for $5.5 million (£4.3 million), and the second for Georgian Primitive painter, Niko Pirosmani, whose Georgian Woman Wearing A Lechaki tripled its high estimate to make $2.8 million (£2.2 million).
In the same sale, paintings by some of the biggest names in Russian art also exceeded estimates, notably, Nicolai Fechin’s Portrait of a Young Girl which achieved $777,994 (£610,000) (estimate: $325,000-454,000 / £250,000-350,000), Robert Falk’s Greek Woman (Portrait of Inna Costakis) which sold for $563,727 (£442,000) (estimate: $260,000-390,000 /£200,000-300,000), and Yuri Pimenov’s, Street Scene in Novorossiysk which achieved $271,022 (£212,500) (estimate: $65,000-91,000 / £50,000-70,000).
Reto Barmettler, Head of the Russian Pictures sale said: “There was a lot of activity, particularly at the top end of the market, with exceptional prices which surpassed their estimates. From 19th- century masterpieces such as Blind Man's Bluff by Makovsky to early 20th-century works such as the Pirosmani, paintings from across various categories performed extremely well.”
Leading the Russian Works of Art, Fabergé and Icons sale were spectacular silver-gilt and cloisonné enamel decorative arts crafted by goldsmith, Feodor Rückert, with the top lot of the sale, a monumental kovsch, selling for $624,946 (£490,000) - eight times its estimate. Further highlights of the sale, which totalled $6.9 million (£5.4 million), included Russian portrait miniatures from the collection of Dr Erika Pohl-Ströher. Amassed over forty years, the collection is one of the most important private collections of portrait miniatures ever created and featured a number of works of the Russian Imperial family. A portrait by Vladimir Borovikovsky of Count Alexei Ivanovich, who served under Tsar Alexander I, sold for $135,511 (£106,250) over an estimate of $6,500-10,400 (£5,000-8,000).
The week’s Russian sales culminated in the auction of the private collection of Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishneskaya which totalled $5.3 million (£4.2 million). Following the private sale of the Rostropovich-Vishneskaya art collection in 2007, yesterday’s auction offered a more intimate and unprecedented look into the lives and loves of the renowned musical couple. The sale was led by the masterful 1783 Guadagnini cello which achieved $2.4 million (£1.9 million), marking the first time one of the maestro’s personal musical instruments was sold. Jewellery belonging to Vishnevskaya also proved popular, with her Cartier emerald and diamond ring ($191,370/ £150,000) and an emerald and diamond pendent necklace ($111,632 /£87,500) attracting competitive bidding.
Jo Vickery, Sotheby’s International Director of Russian Art and Head of the Sale, said: “We are thrilled with the strong results in the Rostropovich & Vishnevskaya Sale with over 80% of lots selling. Buyers from all over the world, notably Asia, the UK, Europe and Russia came together to buy up a piece of this legendary couple’s collection. Two of the cellos made world auction records and the best result of the day was for the Guadagnini cello, which sold to a round of applause in the saleroom for $2.4 million, demonstrating unprecedented demand for this rare and sought-after Italian maker. We saw particularly fierce competition for early Russian silver and enamels and among Galina Vishenvskaya’s jewellery the 50th Anniversary emerald and diamond necklace sold to a private collector for over $100,000.”
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