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Larionov Still Life Sells For Record GBP2.2 Million
Larionov's Still Life with Jug and Icon, which sold for £2.2 million. © Sotheby's Images.
LONDON.- The first of Sotheby’s London biannual Russian Sales this year realised a total of £22,742,560 ($44,907,459), almost £4 million more than the pre-sale low estimate of £18,964,800, which brings Sotheby’s global total for sales of Russian Art so far this year to £51,009,102 ($101,040,767) and further demonstrates Sotheby’s position as market leader in the field of Russian Art. The auction was extremely well attended, and the Pictures and Works of Art sessions attracted nearly 200 bidders who registered to bid both in the saleroom, which was filled to capacity, and over the telephones. Today’s sale also saw 12 new artists’ records achieved.

Commenting on today’s sale, Jo, Vickery, Senior Director and Head of Sotheby’s Russian department in London , said: “We were extremely encouraged by the results of today’s sale, particularly for the paintings section of the auction, where prices appeared for many artists to be on the up. We achieved 12 new world auction records for artists in this sale, and the top price was bid for Larionov’s early masterpiece, Still Life with Icon and Jug, which more than doubled the pre-sale estimate and exceeded the £2 million barrier. Kustodiev’s Picnic from 1919 saw particularly fierce bidding, finally going to a private Russian collector on the phone to great applause. Prices for contemporary Russian works were extremely strong and we saw the lowest unsold rate in the whole auction in this sector, which augurs well for its future growth.”

“In the afternoon I was particularly impressed by the results of private collection of Faberge from a Private French collection. One disappointment of the day was the fact that the Imperial Porcelain vases failed to find a buyer, despite their importance and rarity. However, overall the result was extremely encouraging, representing growth from our previous sale in November 2006 and further demonstrating the strength of this continually evolving market.”

The top lot in the sale and the highest price achieved in this morning’s Paintings session, which brought £17,739,720 – more than £5 million over the low estimate of £12,541,000 – was Mikhail Fedorovich Larionov’s (1881-1964) Still Life with Jug and Icon, which sold for £2,260,000, more than double its pre-sale estimate of £1 million. The work, which came from a private European collection, was strongly contested for by bidders both in the saleroom and on the telephone, and after almost ten minutes of intense bidding the oil on canvas finally sold to a private Russian collector in the saleroom, achieving a new record for the artist at auction.

The second highest price paid in the pictures section was for the cover lot Picnic by Boris Mikhailovich Kustodiev (1878-1927), one of the best-known members of the World of Art or Mir Iskusstva group. Bidding for the work began at £400,000 and rapidly rose as collectors both in the room and on the telephones competed for the oil on canvas, which finally sold to rapturous applause for £1,252,000, more than double its pre-sale estimate, to a private Russian buyer in the saleroom.

A group of six works by Russia ’s Impressionist painter Konstantin Alexeevich Korovin (1861-1939) also performed very well in today’s sale achieving a combined total of £2,470,400, more than three times the low estimate of £800,000, with five out of the six works offered selling for sums in excess of their pre-sale high estimates. Undoubtedly the highlight of the group was Korovin’s Still Life with Roses and Fruits which performed exceptionally well, selling for £804,000 – eight times its pre-sale low estimate of £100,000.

Lev Samoilovich Bakst’s (1866-1924) Costume for Natalia Trouhanova in La Peri sold for £356,000 and Alexei Ilych Kravchenko’s (1889-1940) Nude brought £367,200, smashing the previous record for the artist at auction by more than £350,000. Among the contemporary works offered Oleg Nikolaevich Tselkov’s (b. 1934) Five Masks sold for £132,000, achieving a record for the artist at auction, and the group of six works by Vladimir Weisberg (1924-1985) from a private European collection sold for £422,400, over £100,000 more than the pre-sale high estimate for the group.

This afternoon’s Works of Art session brought a total of £5,002,840 and was highlighted by the sale of an Imperial porcelain manufactory vase, period of Nicholas I (1825-55), dated 1831, which sold to an anonymous buyer in the saleroom for £557,600. Also highlighting the section was a private collection of Fabergé and Russian works of art, which realised a total of £408,000. The top selling lot in the collection of 17 lots was a fine Fabergé carved bowenite, gold enamel and jewelled cane handle which sold for £84,000.

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