Colin Gleadell’s report on the Russian art sales in London is a must read for anyone serious about following the overall art market. Since the beginning of the recent troubles, Gleadell has been a level-headed source of reason about prices and market action. He reports the sale totals but looks at the seller’s gains and the price level as an indicator instead of the price-to-estimate ratio.
As added encouragement to read the whole story, we won’t quote from it extensively here. But let’s convey the main points, like the Impressionist and Modern categories, the price level for Russian art has returned to 2006. Given the meteoric rise of this category and the devastation Russian asset owners have suffered in the collapse of the commodities bubble, that’s a sign of a strong commitment to buying art.
(The best bits after the jump.)
Indeed, Gleadell points out that gallerist Natalia Kournikova bought the three top lots, one at Sotheby’s, one at Christie’s and one at Russian art specialty house MacDougall’s:
London dealer Ivan Samarine, who paid a triple estimate £433,250 for a powerful painting of a young peasant woman by Abram Archipov, said that the best quality works sold well. However, some estimates had been unrealistically high, and results were unpredictable because “a lot of potential buyers were waiting to see where prices would settle, and not bidding”. And, with six auctioneers offering more than 2,600 works in a week, the market would have been over-stretched even in good times, he added.
By the end, London’s Russian art sales had brought £52.8million, just over half the amount realised a year ago, and back to the more realistic levels of 2006.
Russia Still Showing Signs of Life (Telegraph)