Sotheby's Russian Art auction highlighted by 143% increase for Serov


2015-06-26 13:04:12


Sotheby's Russian Art auction highlighted by 143% increase for Serov

Serov's Portrait of Praskovia Mamontova was the surprise top lot at Sotheby's Russian Art auction

One of Valentin Alexandrovich Serov's earliest works, Portrait of Praskovia Anatolievna Mamontova, has provided a surprising top lotat Sotheby's Important Russian Art auction on November 26 in London.

The piece soared past its 300,000-500,000 valuation, realising a sale price of 1.2m ($1.9m). The figure represents an impressive 143.4% increase for this early representation of the artist's renowned portraiture.

Valentin Serov Portrait of Praskovia Anatolievna Mamontova Sotheby's Russian ArtSerov's daughter said of her father: "Everyone was afraid of his all-seeing eye"

Russian art critic Alexandre Benois was once quoted as saying: "What is remarkable is that the very first paintings of Serov are beautiful. Already here, with astonishing ease, are resolved wonderful chords, already here is expressed a striving for the harmony of the whole".

This is certainly true of Portrait of Praskovia Anatolievna Mamontova, which was painted in 1887 when Serov was just 22. One of his earliest finished paintings, it shows the daughter of Elizaveta Mamontova, whom he considered to be his second mother. His familiarity with the family is skilfully portrayed by the sullen, pouting pose in which the 14-year-old Praskovia sits.

The top lot of the auction was expected from Vasili Vereshchagin's Transportation of the Wounded. However it could not compete with the dramatic results seen by the Serov work, selling within its 800,000-1.2m estimate for 937,250 ($1.5m).

Inspired by the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878), the masterpiece was exhibited widely throughout Europe and Americato great success upon its creation, with the proceeds donated by the artist to the poor of Vienna.

See more results from Russian art week with ourreport onChristie's Important Russian Art auction, which was also held yesterday (November 26) in London.

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