The Russians are Coming

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The Economist takes a close look at the boom in Russian Art investing in this article. Anyone interested in investing in Russian works should read it. Here’s an excerpt:

As if in belated confirmation of his patriotism, Russian art is experiencing a boom. There have always been paintings by Russian artists on sale in other categories—the works of Chagall, Jawlensky, Kandinsky and Malevich, for example, are everywhere. But the recent rapid rise of wealth among Russia’s leading industrialists and businessmen has caused a sudden explosion of this niche interest.

While the article does give great insight into the forces at work in the Russian art market, the author gives a bit of a slanted image of what soviet art was. He writes, “Then came the 1930s, when everything except Socialist Realism was outlawed, filling rooms with portraits of Stalin and rosy-cheeked peasants. Russian art stagnated.” Strangely, at a time when much of Russian art and culture did suffer under the reigns of Stalin’s regime, the Russian Realist tradition had something of a renaissance. After a period of strictly regulating art, Stalin, in an effort to build up an intellectual elite for the country, established state funded artist colonies, providing abundant resources for a community of artists who were often secretly defiant. Stalin’s intent may have been to develop a new, distinctly socialist art, but his desire for international respect led him to found this school on the principles of the Russian Realists. The school’s deep roots preserved it from Stalin’s intentions and held through the fall of the Soviet Union and into the present.

You can find the full article here.

Sotheby’s to Auction Russian Art Collection

LONDON.- Sotheby’s London announced today that it will offer for sale The Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Collection of Russian Art on Wednesday, September 19, 2007. The sale is entirely devoted to fine and decorative Russian Art from the 18th to the 20th centuries that formed the contents of the Paris and London apartments of recently deceased internationally renowned cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich and his wife Galina Vishnevskaya, the famous Russian soprano. These works come to sale following a decision taken by the couple to auction their collection and relocate to Russia. The unprecedented sale of their collection will be held in Sotheby’s London salerooms and is estimated to realise in excess of £3 million.

This press release includes images of several pieces in the collection.

August 10th – An article in the St. Petersburg Times announced that Sotheby’s auction of the Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Collection of Russian Art will now include, “Around 100 masterpieces previously under consideration for sale […] including works by Borovikovsky, Repin, Serov, Ivanov and Grigoriev.”

link to article

Master of Color

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A New Book on Vyacheslav Nikolaivich Zabelin

The 285 page book “Master of Color: The Life and Works of Vyacheslav Zabelin” by art historian Sergey Gavrilyachenko is the first comprehensive compilation ever printed about this legendary Russian artist. After years of cataloguing, hundreds of Zabelin’s paintings are presented in full page color plates. His fascinating life is also retold by art historians, contemporaries, friends, family and students. This book & over 75 original paintings by Zabelin are now available through Lazare Gallery.