Bloomberg‘s John Varoli points out that Russia’s Hermitage museum has acquired the remaining 92 watercolors out of a sale of 100 in the Popoff Collection. The works were valued at $4.8m when they were offered at auction in October. What the Hermitage paid is not known but surely lower in price:
In October, Christie’s International in London offered about 100 watercolor portraits of the Imperial family and Russian aristocracy by artists such as Karl Briullov, Orest Kiprensky, Petr Sokolov and Vladimir Hau. Only five of these lots sold. The paintings were valued by the London-based auction house at the time as worth between 2.5 million pounds and 3.5 million pounds.
“The 19th-century Russian watercolor portraits from the Popoff Collection are some of the most spectacular of their kind in the world,” Viktor Faibisovich, the Hermitage’s head of new acquisitions, said in a telephone interview.
[…] More than half of the 580 lots failed to sell across the entire collection as Christie’s raised 5.5 million pounds on a low estimate of 9.7 million pounds. […] The Russian government, with assistance from private sponsors, paid for the Popoff purchase, said Faibisovich. The museum staff wouldn’t comment on whether it will buy the porcelain in the collection.