auctions of Russian paintings closed yesterday with £21.4 million of sales the highest result in this category since June 2008, and the third highest total in company history. Driven by bidding from private collectors from the CIS, the Evening sale of Important Russian Art saw eleven new auction records established and eight lots sell for over £1 million more than at any other auction of Russian art before.
Together with the results for Russian Works of Art, Fabergé and Icons sale, this brings Sothebys total result for Russian Art week to £23.8 million - the highest auction total for a Russian sales series in London this week.
Frances Asquith, Sothebys Head of Russian Paintings, said: Witnessing the first five lots in our evening sale all sell for over £1 million quickly dispelled any pre-sale doubts that had been raised about the market. The appetite for Russian masterpieces has never been stronger. In this market quality speaks for itself.
Sothebys Russian Art Week at a Glance
In Sothebys Evening Sale of Russian Paintings:
o 8 lots sold for over a million - more than at any other Russian Art auction before
o 11 new auction records established (please see below for details)
o 12 lots more than doubled their pre-sale auction estimates
o All of the top 10 works sold to Private collectors from the CIS
An Asian private collector acquired the star lot of our Russian Works of Art, Fabergé and Icons sale a magnificent Fabergé gem-set silver casket modelled on the head of the warrior from Pushkins epic poem Ruslan and Ludmila. One of the heaviest items ever created by Fabergé, it sold for £422,500 ($707,603)
The auctions were led by a group of eleven masterpieces of the Russian avant- garde from a German private collection which together sold for £11.6m (est. £3.4m- 4.8m), including:
o Kazimir Malevichs Head of a Peasant (c.1911) and Aristarkh Lentulovs Children with Parasols (1912) which were the two star lots of Sothebys week, both selling for £2,098,500 ($3.5m) respectively. They more than doubled their pre-sale estimates of £600,000-800,000. While the Lentulov established a new auction record for the artist, the Malevich established a new record for any work on paper by the artist which previously stood at £210,500
o Vasily Ermilovs Self-Portrait, which smashed its pre-sale estimate of £30,000- 50,000, selling for £986,500 ($1.7m) another new auction record
Other notable lots include Georgy Nisskys Over the Snowy Fields which established a new auction record for any work of Soviet Art when it sold for £1,762,500 ($2.95m) more than double its pre-action estimate of £500,000-700,000
New Auction records were established for: Varvana Stepanova (lot 1), Aristarkh Lentulov (lot 3), Kirill Zdanevich (lot 5), Serge Charchoune (lot 7), Vasily Ermilov (lot 8), Paul Mansouroff (lot 9), Bogdan Villevalde (lot 18), Georgy Nissky (lot 31), Vladimir Stozharov (lot 34) and Sergei Gerasimov (lot 35)