Do Russians Give Up on Russian Art When They Move to London?

Georgina Adam doesn’t quite say it but the inference is hard to miss in her story in The Art Newspaper illustrating the depth of Russian presence in London these days.

Russian emigration has gone in waves. […] Between 2001 and 2011, according to Russia’s Federal Migration Service, more than 1.25 million people left […] London and its environs are now believed to count half-a-million Russian residents and the stampede is accelerating, particularly over the past five months, according to the London-based financier and art collector Igor Tsukanov.

With that presence comes a new twist on the art buying habits of most newly rich nations:

Russian art buying has bucked the usual trend in collecting by emerging markets, which moves from 19th-century art to domestic contemporary art and then on to international names. When Russians started collecting in around 2000, Sotheby’s Russian painting sales were making $6m per year, while by 2007 that sum had exploded to $151.5m. That was the year when 19th-century artists such as Aivazovsky were bid to the skies, one making £2.7m.

Since the 2007 peak, the Russian sales have shrunk significantly, with totals down and buy-in rates up. Sotheby’s head of department Jo Vickery describes the market as “stable, but not at 2007 levels”, explaining: “More and more collectors have been buying heavily in other areas.”

Moscow on the Thames (The Art Newspaper)