Ermanno Rivetti covers the London Russian sales for The Art Newspaper noting that the overall total from all four houses reached a new low of £16.4m. That’s nearly half the £30m last seen in 2011 just before the intense sanctions and conflict engulfed the Russian economy.
The Art Newspaper’s rundown reveals Sotheby’s maintaining the strongest position in the Russian market with half of the sales last week in London.
Rivetti also uncovers this interesting comment on the Russian market. Sanctions may be biting but collectors are not looking to surrender their art in this climate (perhaps because it won’t solve their liquidity problems or because they’ve got more resources than assumed.)
“The biggest problem, other than the currency, is the lack of consigners: no one wants to sell in a crisis so it’s a middle-market affair” says Simon Hewitt, the editor of Russian Art and Culture. The only lot that hit seven figures was Ivan Shishkin’s At the Edge of the Pine Forest (1897), which sold at Sotheby’s for £1.4m with fees, twice its upper estimate.
Three of the top ten selling paintings were sold at MacDougalls, among which was Alexander Yakolev’s painting of Palmyra (1933), now in ruins at the hands of Isis, which sold for £462,000 with fees, way past its estimate of £110,000-£150,000.
Russian art sales continue to tumble (The Art Newspaper)