Ilya Kabakov Trove Makes Eight-Figure Sale

Katya Kazakina reveals the sale of a major collection of Ilya Kabakov’s work to Roman Abramovich and Dasha Zukova. The price is unknown but the collection has been on the market for a number of years for with a $30-60m ask. Assume a big discount from the low end of the ask and you still have a sale somewhere in the eight-figure range. Here’s Kazkina on the valuation:

Kabakov, 79, has held the title of Russia’s most expensive living artist since 2008, when his 1982 painting “Beetle” sold for 2.9 million pounds ($5.8 million at the time) at Phillips de Pury & Co. in London, now known as Phillips.

“John Stewart’s collection has several masterpieces which, were they ever to appear at auction, could have brought the same value as ‘Beetle,’” Kolodzei said.

The pieces sold included eight albums of a series called “The 10 Characters.” Created between 1968 and 1975, each album is a box of loose-leaf sheets of paper with text and pencil drawings. The albums have between 32 and 72 pages; each tells a fable and offers reflections on an artistic movement of the 20th century. […]

“We knew the collection was on the market and we were concerned that it would be sold piece by piece at auction,” said Emilia Kabakov. “Now it’s saved. It has a future as a collection.”

In 2007, Stewart sold 65 works from his Russian art collection at Phillips for 3.63 million pounds. The sale didn’t include Kabakov’s pieces.

Billionaire Abramovich Buys Historic Kabakov Collection (Bloomberg)