Colin Gleadell wraps up the Russian art sales in London:
The Russian art sales in London last week registered a disappointing £47.2 million when at least £55 million had been expected. Of all the sales by Sotheby’s, Christie’s, MacDougall’s and Bonhams, only Christie’s managed to hit its pre-sale estimate by keeping lot numbers down and focussing on the more conservative end of the market.
It also had the highest selling lot of the week, a salon style painting of fashionable figures outside a Parisian café painted in 1875 by Ilya Repin, which sold for £4.5 million — a record for the artist and for any work sold in a Russian art sale. A sketch book for the painting sold for £253,250 to London dealer, Jean-Luc Baroni who is currently exhibiting Russian art in his gallery with the specialist Rusian art dealer, Ivan Samarine.
Among the buyers was Russian billionaire, Alexander Ivanov, the owner of the Faberge museum in Baden-Baden, who spent over £2 million on a variety of works including a £181,000 gold plated Imperial service plate, and a large number of orthodox icons which he will give to Russian churches.
Contemporary Russian art was less in evidence than in previous years, perhaps because that market has not yet recovered confidence.