John Varoli gets the background details on MacDougall’s the upstart London auction house that has become a major force in Russian art. Run by a former equity analyst and bond fund manager who happen to be husband and wife, the couple survived a bruising, money-losing first sale to succeed six years later:
MacDougall’s, however, is among the few that has gone head-to-head in a highly lucrative category with the market leaders. It has not only profited by the burgeoning Russian art market over the past six years, but it has also revolutionised it.
“When we started six years ago, we created a completely new model of holding auctions,” said Moscow-born Catherine MacDougall, co-director of the auction house.
“We were the first to say that Russian art should be sold in collaboration with the top art experts in Russia. They can make authoritative judgments on authenticity.
“This has been crucial to our success because the Russian art market has been awash with fakes.”
Authenticity is a big issue today on the market, and MacDougall’s said it refuses about 70pc of artworks offered out of concerns they might not be genuine.