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"Transportation of the Wounded" by Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin leads Sotheby's Russian Art Sales
Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin (1842-1904), Transportation of the Wounded bearing American Art Association stamp on the reverse. Oil on canvas, 101.5 by 352cm, 40 by 138 1/2 in. Estimate: 800,000-1,200,000 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- Sotheby's presents its biannual November 2012 Russian Art Sales Series. The auctions take place in London on Monday, 26th November and Tuesday, 27th November, 2012 and will be led by Transportation of the Wounded by Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin (est. £800,000-1,200,000), which is among the largest works by the artist to come to auction, and Moonrise over the Golden Horn, an exceptional 1886 panorama of Constantinople by Ivan Aivazovsky (est. £700,000-900,000) that comes from a private collection. Highlighting the Russian Works of Art Sales is a Romanov Icon commemorating the ‘miraculous’ preservation of Tsar Alexander III in a fatal train accident (est. £180,000-250,000).

The Important Russian Art Sale will take place on Monday, November 26th, 2012 and the sales of Russian Paintings and Russian Works of Art, Fabergé and Icons will take place the following day on Tuesday, November 27th, 2012. Combined, the sales are estimated to realise in the region of £ 17 million.

Important Russian Art Sale (26th November, 2012)
Transportation of the Wounded, is among the largest works by Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin to be offered at auction. This magnificent military scene, inspired by the Russo-Turkish war, was exhibited widely in Europe and the United States in the 1880s. It was acquired by the New York collector and merchant Samuel Ullman at the sale of the artist’s works held in New York by the American Art Galleries in 1891, and has remained in private collections since then. The painting is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000.

An exceptional 1886 panorama of Constantinople by Ivan Aivazovsky –Moonrise over the Golden Horn est. £700,000-900,000-will be offered from a private collection and highlights the forthcoming auctions. This work is one of the artist’s finest paintings of the city which preoccupied his imagination, and which he returned to every year in his work.‘There is probably nowhere in the world as majestic…’ he wrote. ‘When you’re there you forget about Naples and Venice’. Two other works by the artist, The Galata Tower by Moonlight (est. £500,000-700,000) and Shipping on the Bosphorus, Constantinople (est. £80,000-120,000) will also be offered for sale.

Banda Woman with her Child (est. £500,000-700,000) by Alexander Evgenievich Yakovlev, was painted in Paris in 1926 on the artist’s return from the famous Croisière noire expedition across Africa. It was exhibited in 1926 at Hôtel Jean Charpentier in the ground-breaking exhibition of his complete African portfolio. This is the only known oil painting by Yakovlev on the subject of an African mother with her child. It is the first important work from the Croisière noire expedition to be offered at auction since the sales of Titi and Naranghe, Daughters of Chief Eki Bondo (sold for £2,505,250) and The Kuli-Kuta dance, Niamey (sold for £937,250) at Sotheby’s London in 2010.

Showcasing Sergei Sudeikin’s renowned talent for theatrical design, Russian Winter Carnival (est. £200,000-300,000) comes to auction in November for the first time. It was previously in the collection of the Russian émigré Broadway producer, Morris Gest (1875-1942). Gest owned sixteen works by Sudeikin, all of which were exhibited at the 1923 exhibition of Russian Art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York, including the present work.

Russian Paintings Day Sale (27th November, 2012)
From the collection of the Russian émigré composer, Dimitri Tiomkin (1894-1979), Sotheby’s will be offering a group of works by Yuri Pavlovich Annenkov which includes iconic portraits of Tiomkin’s artistic contemporaries, Sergei Prokofiev, Vsevolod Meyerhold and Maurice Ravel. A design for Annenkov’s production of Gogol’s The Nose will also be offered. Tiomkin, who left his home town of Ukraine to study under Glazunov at the St.Petersburg conservatoire, would later emigrate to Paris and the United States. He went on to work with Frank Capra and Alfred Hitchcock - becoming one of Hollywood’s most decorated composers. Tiomkin retained his links with his homeland through his collection, as remembered by his widow: “Dimitri loved to surround himself with paintings and objects from his country of birth and youth. It was a comfort for the soul to live amongst these reminders of the culture which formed part of his foundation for existence.” Yuri Pavlovich Annenkov’s Set Design for Lola Montès which is estimated at £15,000-20,000.

This exceptionally rare work from a private collection, Portrait of Praskovia Mamontova by Valentin Alexandrovich Serov (est. £300,000-500,000) has been in a private collection ever since and is the most important portrait by this artist ever to have come to the market. Painted when the artist was just 22, it is one of Serov's earliest finished paintings and dates from the same year as his famous portrait of the sitter’s young cousin, Girl with Peaches (Portrait of V.S.Mamontova), 1887, now in The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow.

Executed circa 1906, The Poet (£500,000-700,000) is among the earliest works by Martiros Saryan ever to come to auction and was published in Apollon magazine in 1913. It was originally in the famous Moscow collection of Nikolai Ryabushinsky (1877-1951) –son of a millionaire, bon viveur and passionate collector, Ryabushinsky was also an important driving force behind the Golubaya roza and Zolotoe runo exhibitions, a progressive artistic editor and key in bringing to Russia important Fauvist works by Derain, Braque, Matisse, Marquet in the early 1900s.The fantastical creature in The Poet appears in other early works by Saryan, The Comet, 1907 and By the Sea-Sphinx, 1908.

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé and Icons (Tuesday, November 27th)
The Russian Works of Art, Fabergé and Icons sale is led by An Important Imperial Silver-Gilt and Cloisonne Enamel Icon of Christ Pantocrator, Ovchinnikov, Moscow, 1884, presented 1888, (est. £180,000-250,000) commemorating the miraculous survival of Emperor Alexander III and his family when the Imperial train derailed disastrously near Borki in 1888. The Emperor, who held up the collapsing roof of the car to allow his family to escape, was later presented with this Icon by his elite guards. It was hung in the chapel at Gatchina –the Emperor’s favourite imperial residence –as an important family relic of deep personal significance. After the Revolution the Icon was likely dispersed on the European antiquarian market.

A Fabergé Study of Cornflower and Oats (est. £180,000-250,000) comes to the market from the estate of international style icon, Donna Simonetta Colonna, Duchessa di Cesaro. A pioneering figure in post-war Italian couture, the Duchessa’s designs dressed Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy, and appear in Fellini’s films, including La Dolce Vita. Exquisitely crafted, this Fabergé study relates to three other known examples, most closely that in the Royal Collection purchased by Queen Elizabeth in 1944. Another cornflower with oats is in the Hermitage, formerly of the Yusopov collection.

Also included for sale is an Imperial Jewelled Gold and Enamel Cigarette Case (est. £40,000-60,000), which was a New Year’s Day gift to Emperor Nicholas II from his wife the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna in the first months of their marriage. Engraved ‘For Darling Nicky from Alix Jan 1st 1998 / yr. own Pelly’, it makes use of the pet name shared between the couple.

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