The Telegraph ran this piece in their sponsored Russia Now section. It was prepared by the Rossiyaskaya Gazeta but even PR can be informative with the Peter London previewing the Russian Art Fair that precedes the Russian sales week in London with four auction houses holding sales:
Who is taking part in the fair? Was it a selection to your taste or was anybody welcome?
We invited high-profile galleries from across the northern hemisphere, which is giving the fair a truly international feel. Precious icons will be on sale from galleries such as Gallery Kratochwill of Vienna, Marcus Icon Gallery of St Petersburg and Berlin, Paretsky Antique Gallery of Berlin and Made in Russia of the USA; rare Russian books and illustrations will be offered by Shapero of London; AASN from Hertfordshire will display silver and items from the Crimean War; 19thcentury landscapes and early 20th-century paintings from the Russian avant-garde will be on sale from galleries including Leonid Shishkin Gallery of Moscow, Russian Provenance of Berlin and Sphinx Fine Art of London. In all, about 40 galleries are participating. We do not take applications from individual collectors, which is where we differ from the auction houses.
How are you going to produce the estimates for the fair?
Works for sale will not differ from the standard gallery price. We do not have any vetting procedure on prices and they will be set by the participating galleries without any input from us.
The art market is flooded with such sophisticated forgeries that even first-class experts can fail to spot them. The major auction houses are well equipped with state-of-the-art detection facilities. What is being done at your fair to protect buyers?
We have a committee of experts including, for example, Dr Elena Basner, who has developed an advanced method of isotopic testing to verify whether a painting was produced after 1945. Any oil painting made in the nuclear era will show traces of caesium- 137 and strontium-90. Pre-war fakes of avant-garde paintings are not known.
Anthony Parton of Durham University – a leading expert in the field of Russian avantgarde – has written a feature on the star Goncharova painting at the fair while other experts will make up a strong vetting committee who will ensure quality and authenticity.
Can you name any of the star attractions exhibiting at the Fair?
The main attraction is Goncharova’s “Fishmonger”. There will also be paintings by artists such as Ivan Puni, El Lissitzky, Alexandra Exter and Petr Petrovich Konchalovsky. Another star item is an exceptionally rare icon by one of the major painters of the Novgorod school – The Saint Michael icon of Novgorod.