Alexander Yakovlev stars in Sotheby's $10.2m Russian art resurgence



2015-06-26 12:10:00

Alexander Yakovlev stars in Sotheby's $10.2m Russian art resurgence

Collectors hope that Sotheby's art auction, held in London signals a bright future for Russian art

Wealthy Russians have been returning to London for a number of art salesthat experts hope signal a period of growth for the Russian art markets.

First off the starting block is auction house MacDougall's, whose previous Russian art event in June of this year netted more than 10m ($16,095,200).

Describing itself as "leaders in Russian Art", MacDougall's London sale kicks off tomorrow and promisesa superb selection of significant works by important Russian artists from the 19th-20th centuries.

Artists going under the hammer will include Natalia Goncharova, Robert Falk, Petr Konchalovsky, Nicholas Roerich, Ilya Repin, Ivan Shishkin and Ivan Aivazovsky.

While the auction houses didn't expect Russian art sales to match the high prices being paid by Chinese buyers in recent times, total sales still reached the millions.

Like at Sotheby's, whose two-part Russian paintings sale in London today (November 30) brought 4,290,650and 2,220,400, totalling 6,511,050 ($10,146,800).

Leading the sale was a 1926 painting by Alexander Yakovlev, the official artist for the 1924-1925 expedition of Georges-Marie Haardt's team of explorerswhich covered20,000km of African desert.

In contrast to other Africanist artists who did not travel beyond the North of the continent, Alexander Yakovlev shed light on the almost virgin lands of sub-Saharan Africa. There, hecaptured the intensity of its ancient rites and primitive beauty better than anybody else.

 The Kuli-Kuta Dance, an 1926 painting by Alexander Yakovlev

His piece entitled The Kuli-Kuta Dance, Niamey, inspired by a colourful and raucous crowd encountered by the explorers in the Niger's largest city, sold for 937,250 (with buyer's premium) from "an important US private collection."

Another highlight was Alexei Petrovich Bogoliubov's1867 painting, The Eve of the Celebration, Santa Maria Della Salute, Venice.

The oil on canvas, signed in Latin, comfortably exceeded its 600,000 high pre-sale estimate tobring a final price of 881,250 (with buyer's premium).

 Alexei Petrovich Bogoliubov's1867 painting, The Eve of the Celebration (detail)

These historic works by well-travelled Russians were only two of the many works sold for hundreds or tens of thousands in Sotheby's London sale.

MacDougall's will undoubtedly be hoping that its auction follows suit tomorrow- while collectors and investors hope that the above sales successes point towards a continuing prosperous future for the Russian art markets.

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