Fall Auctions













Mother And Child – Boris Grigoriev

Sotheby’s November 2nd sale of Russian art was a success in spite of the global economic crisis. Sales totaled $13.8 million, effectively doubling presale estimates of $6-9 million. Boris Grigoriev’s portrait of Mother and Child was the top lot, selling for $1,370,500. Konstantin Korovin’s  “At the Window” and a miniature portrait of Peter the Great encrusted with diamonds – one of six rare 18th century awards – also exceeded expectations, selling for $1,178,000 and $1,314,500 respectively. The sale is an encouraging indicator of a growing sense of security among buyers. With luck, Sotheby’s Russian Art Evening sale tomorrow will further establish a rebound in the Russian art market.

Christie’s November Auctions

the-hunter“The Hunter” – Ivan Pokhitonov

Christie’s will be holding two sales of Russian paintings this month. Their Russian Pictures sale will take place on the 26th of November, and another sale of Russian Pictures and Works of Art will be held on the 27th.

The auction will feature work by a number of important Russian Realists including Konstantin Korovin, Vasily Vereshchagin, Ilya Repin, Isaak Levitan, Ivan Aivazovsky, and Ivan Pokhitonov. Pokhitonov is particularly well represented at this sale. The works up for sale were given to their current owner by the artists son. An article published by Art Daily tells us that, ” the group includes intimate portraits of some of the individuals who played an important role in Pokhitonov’s family life, such as Ivan, The Red Army Soldier […] who, according to family legend saved the artist’s life.” Along with these portraits are several beautiful miniature landscapes, including The Hunter (above). In their online catalog, alongside the image of The Hunter, Christie’s provides a short biography, which relates the work to an excerpt from Turgenev’s collection of stories, Hunter’s Sketches. The comparison is very fitting, and a reminder of the common goals of both writers and artists during Russia’s struggle to redefine its national identity in the 19th century. While Russian authors of the 19th century seem to have gained a wider audience in the west than Russian painters of the same period, both authors and artists were driven to greatness in the rush to preserve and reinvigorate their national culture in the wake of a period of rapid westernization.

Other highlights of the auctions include: Vasily Vereshchagin’s – “Anchinjinga, Pandim and other Mountains in the CloudsIsaak Levitan’s, “A Farmhouse by a Lake“, and Sergei Gerasimov’s “Autumn in the Moscow Suburbs.”