Konstantin Andreevich Somov (1869-1939), Pastorale russe, signed in Cyrillic and dated ''''K. Somov/1922'''' (lower left), oil paintings on canvas, 15 x 18½ in. (38.1 x 47 cm.). Sold for £2,696,000 ($5,251,808/3,981,992). Christies Images Ltd. 2006.
LONDON, ENGLAND.- Christie''''s sales of Russian Pictures and Russian Works of Art today realized £28,202,420 ($54,938,314/41,654,974), the highest combined sales total ever achieved for Russian pictures and Works of Art category worldwide. Six new artist records at auction were established and nine works sold for over $1 million.
The results of todays sales, the highest ever achieved at auction worldwide for the Russian Art Category, re-emphasizes Christies position as the leading global art business and our dominance of the uppermost reaches of the international market, said Jussi Pylkkanen, President, Christies International and auctioneer of the sales. They also demonstrate that Christies Russian strategy has paid dividends.
These auction totals are not only a reflection of quality that was offered for sale today, but also as a result of Christies expanded programme of activities in Russia this season, including a public preview exhibition of the Russian pictures in Samara, Russia (from 9-13 November 2006), Alexis de Tiesenhausen, International Head of the Russian Department commented after the sale. The event in Samara was the first of its kind to have been staged in Russia by an international auction house and it included Somovs Pastorale Russe, which today became the most expensive Russian oil painting in the world. This exhibition is a continuation of Christies commitment to making the most important works of art available in the world accessible to a growing number of new and established private collectors in Russia. The success of this strategy is evident for all to see.
The total for Russian Pictures was £18,353,720 ($35,753,046/27,108,444) and was 73% sold by lot and 71% sold by value. Registered buyer activity in the sale was 43% from Russia (including Ukraine), 29% from UK, 16% from Europe excluding the UK and 12% from the Americas.
The most expensive painting sold today was Konstantin Andreevich Somovs Pastorale Russe (estimate: £200,000-300,000), which sold for £2,696,000 ($5,251,808/3,981,992) establishing a new record for the artist as well as most expensive Russian painting ever sold in a Russian auction. Pastorale Russe, an erotic yet strangely innocent composition of young lovers by moonlight, was one of a group of nine works offered by the artist today that collective sold for more than £4 million. Christies held the previous record for a work by the artist - £1,296,000; $2,226,528; 1,886,976), established in November 2005.
The oil paintings by much celebrated marine artist Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovskii were in high demand, including View of Constantinople, the second most expensive painting sold today, for £1,632,000 ($3,179,136/2,410,464) (estimate: £1,500, 000-2,500,000) A double portrait known as The Children by Boris Dmitrievich Grigoriev painted in 1922, sold for £960,000 ($1,870,080/1,417,920 (estimate: £250,000-350,000), the third highest selling painting today, and establishing a new world record at auction for the artist.
Records were also established today for Pavel Nikolaevich Filonov; The Adoration of the Magi, 1913 sold for £904,000 ($1,760,992/1,335,208), Lev Samoilovich Bakst, A dancer in costume, sold for £624,000 ($1,215,552/921,648); Ilia Ivanovich Mashkov with Still life with Strawberries, Cherries and a blue Decanter (estimate: £500,000-700,000), painted in 1923, which sold for £456,000 ($888,288/673,512). With the vast majority of Mashkovs oeuvre in private collections and Russian Museums, the appearance of this work at auction is an exceptional event. Lastly, Abram Efimovich Arkhipov established a new world record with At the Market, which sold for £512,000 ($997,376/756,224).
A Portrait of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, nee Princess Charlotte of Russia (1798-1860), wife of Emperor Nicholas I was purchased by the Tsarskoe Selo Museum (Summer Palace Museum), St Petersburg for £48,000 ($93,504/70,896).
The portrait will go on public exhibition and will complete the Museums collection (the other known portrait of the same sitter is in the Winter Palace Museum, St Petersburg). The total for the Russian Works of Art sale was £9,848,700 and was 71% sold by lot and 60 by value A pair of monumental two-handled porcelain vases by the Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, period of Nicolas I, 1844 were the top lot of the sale, realizing £2,808,000 ($5,469,984/4,147,416) (estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000). During the reign of Nicolas I, the Imperial Porcelain Factory produced a remarkable number of vases, with many of them decorated with copies of old master oil paintings, of which this pair are a fine example. The vases adorned the Imperial Palaces and, as in this instance, were gifts from the Emperor to members of the Royal and princely families.
An exquisite pair of floral vases again by the Imperial Porcelain Factory during the period of Nicholas I were the second highest selling lot in the sale, fetching £1,352,000 ($2,633,696/ 1,996,904) (estimate: £800,000-1,200,000).
Christies week of Russian sales continue tomorrow with Valuable Russian Books and Manuscripts.