With so many Russians living in London, one estimate puts the number as high as 400,000, dealer Peter London thinks there’s room for a semi-annual Russian art fair that coincides with the Russian auctions, so says This Is London.
Mr London said of Russian art: “It is the biggest explosion in terms of price and desirability and collectors. Art fairs in general were suffering dramatically, but specialist events – such as Frieze for contemporary art – were bucking the trend, he said. “Contemporary art is pretty well covered but there was nothing for Russian art apart from the regular auctions. We also want it to be a social occasion because there are not a huge number of social events for the Russians in London.”
But, wait, didn’t the Russians just go broke? What sense is there in a Russian art fair when the Russian money machine has sand in the gears? London has an explanation for that too:
“These people have been affected badly by what’s happening in the Moscow Stock Exchange – about 75 per cent has been wiped off the value – but many still have a few million in the bank. The top end art has bottomed out and is not finding the stratospheric prices it was, but pieces from £10,000 to £60,000 are still selling well.”
Finally, the site gives us a little context on the growth:
The Russian market has grown rapidly in recent years. The total global sales eight years ago were £7.6million. That figure rose to £85million in 2005 and £128million in 2006. Last year Sotheby’s and Christie’s alone sold art worth £180million.
Art Dealer Sets Up Fair to Draw Wealthy Russians (This Is London)