Although none of the most highly touted lots at Sotheby’s evening sale of Impressionist and Modern art last night exceeded their estimates, there were plenty of sleeper hits. Here are a few of the lots that exceeded Sotheby’s expectations by significant margins.
At first glance, today’s evening sale of Russian paintings at Sotheby’s London appears to have yielded lackluster results as only 16 of the 26 paintings offered found buyers. However, the high buy-in rate was redeemed by the relatively large number of works that sold for hammer prices above their estimates.
Among the sale’s estimate-topping highlights were Sergei Vinogradov’s View of Ai-petri, Crimea, which more than tripled its high estimate, selling for a final price of £623,650 and Alexander Iacovleff’s Titi and Naranghe, which exceeded the house’s expectations by 45%, bringing a final price of £2,505,250. In the end, the sale total fell just above the low end of the house’s pre-sale estimate, grossing £10.5 million
For more analysis of the Russian art market, see the latest edition of The ART Report.
Tonight, Sotheby’s offers Yuri Annenkov’s Portrait of Zinovii Grzhebin for £800,000 to £1,200,000. Grzhebin, the subject of the 1919 painting, was a prominent literary figure of Russia’s Revolutionary Era whose publications often featured collaborations with World of Art artists like Annenkov.
Although Annenkov completed portraits of numerous Russian cultural and political leaders, such works rarely appear on the market. The last comparable example to cross the block was Annenkov’s Portrait of Aleksandr Nikolaevich Tikhonov, which nearly doubled its high estimate, bringing £2,260,500 at Christie’s in 2007.
The estimate on the forthcoming Grzhebin portrait is about the same as the one carried by the Tikhonov portrait (the Grzhebin portrait‘s low estimate is £100,000 less, but the high estimate is the same). Will the Grzhebin portrait also mimic the Tikhonov portrait’s record-breaking performance? For more on Annenkov’s market and the fate of Sotheby’s cover lot, see the latest edition of The ART Report.