Boris Kustodiev's The Coachman brings $7m record to Christie's



2015-06-26 13:04:10

Boris Kustodiev's The Coachman brings $7m record to Christie's

One of the first auctions of Russian art week saw a new artist record for Boris Kustodiev's The Coachman

With London's Russian art week getting into full swing at the top international auction houses, a new world record has been set by Boris Kustodiev's The Coachman.

Boris Kustodiev The Coachman auction record Christie's According to Christie's, The Coachman is "seared into the hearts and minds of the Russian people"

The piece sold for 4.4m ($7m) in Christie's Important Russian Art auction -held in the capital yesterday (November 26) -to become the most valuable piece of Kustodiev's work ever sold at auction.The sale represents a dramatic 120.4% increase on the masterpiece's 2m ($3m) high estimate.

The Coachman, painted in 1923, was perhaps the most important work at the seminal Russian Art Exhibition held at the Grand Central Palace in New York. The piece served as the poster image for the 1924 show, encapsulating an image of Russian life as Russians chose to present it.

Count Ilya Tolstoy, son of Russian author Leo Tolstoy, was quoted after the event: "I am not an art critic. I did not come to see the pictures: I came to see Russia and that is what I saw."

The work originates from a series of works depicting Russian archetypes, which Kustodiev began as agroup of watercoloursin 1920. Painted in oil from the artist's imagination, The Coachman reappears in several of Kustodiev's works during this period.

Despite being a familiar figure in both Russian art and the national psyche, Christie's auction was the first time the work had ever been offered publicly. The Coachman had been housed in the collection of Nobel Prize winner and Kustodiev's friend, Peter Kapitza, since the 1924 exhibition in New York.

We will be bringing you more from Russian art week shortly, so be sure to check back with us.

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