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Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist Composition Sets Record at Sotheby's Sale
Sotheby's employee Meghann Farrell from Australia poses for photographs with French artist Edgar Degas' painting 'Danseuse au repos', which shows a young ballet dancer, at the auction house's offices in London, Friday, Oct. 3, 2008. The piece was expected to fetch in excess of USD 40 million, but sold for $37,042,500 in Sotheby's Evening Sale of Impressionist and Modern Art on Nov. 3 in New York. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)


NEW YORK, NY.- Kazimir Malevich’s Suprematist Composition from 1916 sold for $60,002,500, not only a record for the artist, but a record for any Russian work of art ever sold at auction. Regarded as an icon of Russian art and a paradigmatic example of the 20th century avant-garde, the masterwork was executed in 1916, the same year that Malevich published his Suprematist Manifesto.

Emmanuel Di-Donna, Vice Chairman, Impressionist and Modern Art Worldwide and Head of Sotheby’s Evening Sales, New York, said, “We are thrilled with the price of $60 million which was received for the Malevich. This is a true masterpiece and we have been privileged to offer it at auction on behalf of the family. What we saw tonight was a great work of art perform at the highest level even in challenging times.”

The Heirs of Kazimir Malevich issued a statement through a spokesperson as follows: “The heirs are delighted with the extraordinary sale achieved for Suprematist Composition which confirms Kazimir Malevich’s position among the greatest masters of the 20th century.”

The painting had been featured in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam for the past fifty years before being restituted to the artist’s family. It has been included in every major exhibition of Malevich’s work ever mounted – both inside Russia and abroad, and was selected by the artist for his first ever exhibition to a Western audience in 1927.

Edgar Degas’ Danseuse au repos reaffirmed its position as the preeminent work by the artist ever to be sold at auction tonight, commanding $37,042,500, and establishing a new record for the artist at auction. It last appeared on the market in the summer of 1999 when it achieved a price of $28 million, a record that stood until this evening. Completed in 1879, this exquisite pastel and gouache is remarkable for the great quality of its richly worked surface and the detail of its vision and scope.






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November 4, 2008

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