Katya Kazakina reports that the Russian art market has finally reached a breaking point under the strain of low commodity prices and sanctions. According to Kazakina, Christie’s is making a change:
Christie’s is ending standalone sales of Russian art in New York, the company said, and Mark Moehrke is leaving as head of its Russian works of art department, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.
“The market has shrunk, I am afraid,” said William MacDougall, whose London-based MacDougall’s specializes in Russian art. “Russian collectors are not buying as much as they were a year or two ago.”
At least one dealer, however, says the problem is more emotional than financial:
“I had one rather wealthy Russian client in recently and he said, ‘I feel poor because of the sanctions,”’ said Peter Schaffer, co-owner of A La Vieille Russie, an antique store on Fifth Avenue. “A lot of it is a mental state, not a physical state. This particular gentleman could buy most of Manhattan.”
Russian Art Is Latest Oil Casualty as Auction Houses Pull Back (Bloomberg Business)