Our inaugural Important Russian Art sale brings together a rich variety of works of the highest quality from collections across the world. Among the centrepieces of the sale is Yuri Annenkov's remarkable post-revolutionary portrait of the publisher Zinovy Grzhebin, which comes to auction with impeccable provenance having remained in the family of the sitter since its execution. The 19th century is strongly represented by two large and highly finished works by leaders in their fields: Ivan Aivazovsky's radiant seascape, Sunset over Ischia, dates from one of his most desirable periods while The Dark Wood by Ivan Shishkin is an impressive example of the artist's extraordinary ability to convey the immense scale of his native countryside. In contrast, two charming works by Ivan Pokhitonov from private European collections represent landscape painting at the opposite end of the scale.
Further highlights which appear on the international market for the first time include a vivid painting of Ai-Petri by Sergei Vinogradov, an elegant set design by Nikolai Roerich purchased directly from the artist in America in 1921, and Alexander Yakovlev's Titi and Naranghe, Daughters of Chief Eki-Bondo, the most significant painting from the artist's legendary Croisière Noire expedition ever to appear at auction. In addition to these earlier pieces, an extremely rare 1929 graphic work by Alexander Deineka provides an insight into the originality of early Soviet art, while the arresting Portrait of a Man by Pavel Tchelitchew is a meditative work from 1931 reflecting the corresponding achievements of Russian émigré artists.