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Russian Art Sale including important works from fifteen private collections to be offered at Christie's
Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947), The Heavenly Battle. Tempera and pastel on board, 19¾ x 29⅛ in. (50 x 74 cm.). Painted in 1909. Estimate: £500,000-700,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2014.

LONDON.- This summer, Christie’s will offer a spectacular selection of paintings and works of art in its Russian Art sale, which will be held in London on 2 June 2014. Synonymous with exceptional quality and rarity, the auction will present a rich array of paintings, ranging from Avant-Garde masterpieces to magnificent Imperial porcelain, designed to appeal to the most discerning of collectors. This auction features a notably strong selection of Russian works of art from private collections, including Aristarkh Lentulov’s vibrant Cubo-Futurist Landscape with bridge, Kislovodsk and a rare and important pair of porcelain vases by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, Period of Nicholas I; never before seen at auction, these masterpieces in porcelain painted after pictures in the State Hermitage are offered directly by the descendants of the Prussian diplomat Albert Graf von Pourtalès. The sale also includes major paintings from Russian masters such as Roerich, Vereshchagin, Gorbatov, Golovin and Burliuk in addition to significant pieces by Fabergé and an important group of rare Russian Silver. With over 300 lots ranging from £1,000 to £1,500,000, this sale presents one of the finest assemblages of Russian Art at auction in recent history.

Leading the sale is Aristarkh Lentulov’s dynamic masterwork Landscape with Bridge, Kislovodsk. A fearless innovator and one of the greatest colourists of his time, this painting from 1913 represents the critical point of the artist’s career, during which he created a synthesis of Western Cubo-Futurist technique with a native Russian theme. The appearance on the art market of this oil from the acclaimed ‘Kislovodsk’ series provides collectors with a rare opportunity to acquire a unique piece from the most significant period of this Russian master.

The paintings section of the sale includes a stellar selection of six paintings by Nicholas Roerich from the estate of Margaret Janice Vann. Ranging in value from £40,000 to £250,000, the works represent various mountain vantage points. Formerly held in the collection of Roerich’s great American patrons, Louis and Nettie Horch, these paintings are appearing at auction for the first time. Nicholas Roerich was an extremely important figure in the life of Margaret Janice Vann. Part of the proceeds from the sale of this collection will benefit two not-for-profit organisations selected by Ms Vann that continue to promote the legacy of Nicholas Roerich’s teachings; Higher Self Yoga and the Center for Peace through Culture.

Alongside the Roerichs, Christie’s will offer Ivan Aivazovsky’s beautiful and rare Alexander II on the frozen Neva, painted in 1890 (estimate: £300,000-500,000). An internationally celebrated maritime artist, the works of Aivazovsky continue to enrich the collections of numerous renowned collections, including that of the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul, the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

One of eight historical portraits offered from the collection of Prince Ivan Obolensky (lot 10-17), including the most important group of works by Vladimir Borovikovsky ever to appear at auction, this exquisite portrait depicts Admiral Count Grigorii Grigorievich Kushelev with his sons (estimate: £50,000-70,000). Borovikovsky was one of the greatest Russian portrait painters of the late 18th/early 19th century. He moved to St Petersburg in 1788 at the request of Empress Catherine the Great and enjoyed tremendous success painting the capital’s most distinguished figures.

The auction is further highlighted by two exceptional paintings by the most important Russian Orientalist of the 19th century, Vasily Vereshchagin, from The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College. Please click here for a dedicated press release.

The works of art section of the sale will present three important porcelain military plaques by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, painted by the leading porcelain artists working during the period of Nicholas I (estimates: £40,000-50,000). Depicting Russian regiments and military scenes, these exquisitely painted plaques highlights Part II of an important collection of porcelain, which includes some of the most significant works executed by the Imperial Porcelain Factory and other major Russian private porcelain factories. Rarely seen outside of museum collections, these plaques were painted after Adolphe Ladurner’s celebrated designs for military paintings and were included in the seminal Exposition de Céramiques Russes Anciennes at the Musée Céramique de Sèvres in 1929.

A jewelled silver and platinum-mounted nephrite pendant by Fabergé, St Petersburg, circa 1914, gives unique insight into Fabergé’s creative process (estimate:£30,000–40,000). The original design for the piece by Fabergé was known, but the actual piece untraced, making this an exciting rediscovery. The stylised howdah-mount of this pendant relates it to other works by Fabergé inspired by the Order of the Elephant, the highest order of chivalry in Denmark.

Christie’s is pleased to offer an impressive selection of enamel and silver from an Important Swiss Collector, including a pair of cloisonné and en plein enamel salt thrones by Feodor Rückert, formerly in the Greenfield Collection (estimate: £25,000-35,000). Unseen on the market since the 1980s, this carefully curated collection of salt thrones and spoons epitomises the art of fashionable table decoration in noble and wealthy Russian homes from 1870 to 1917.

Offered for the first time at auction, from an Important Private Collection from France, two Imperial Presentation kovshi, one circa 1705 and the other circa 1820, highlight twenty-five lots of rare Russian silver and niello from the 17th through 19th centuries (estimates ranging from £2,000 to £25,000). The kovsh presented in 1705 by Emperor Peter I was dedicated to Sava Kochet, an Ataman of the Don Voisko. The kovsh from 1820, was presented by Emperor Alexander I to Andrey Mizinov, Ataman of the Uralskii Voisko.

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