MOSCOW - As the global tour of the Victorian Masterpieces from the Leverhulme Collection continues, the distinguished works by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, William Holman Hunt and James Tissot arrived in Moscow to great acclaim. Prior to the Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale, to be held in London on 4 December, Moscow played host to these prominent paintings for just three days.

Not far from the Red Square and the spiral domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, Sotheby’s hosted its exhibition of forthcoming auction highlights at the Russian Academy of Arts, which included works by Canaletto, Rubens, Picasso, Giacometti and Falk. Amongst these masters the paintings by Rossetti, Holman Hunt and Tissot sang out. Visitors were seduced by the sensual and heavenly vision of A Christmas Carol, the vibrant splendour of A Tuscan Girl and the sophisticated glamour of A Visit to the Yacht.

William Holman Hunt's Tuscan Girl Plaiting Straw. Estimate £3,000,000–5,000,000.

A month prior to our exhibtion, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts concluded the touring exhibition of Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant-Garde, which had opened at Tate Britain last year. Including over 80 works from British and American museums and private collections, such as Ophelia and Mariana by John Everett Millais, this extraordinary show has thrilled crowds in each of its destinations, with the response in Moscow being no less enthusiastic.

Dante Gabriel Rossetti's A Christmas Carol. Estimate £4,000,000–6,000,000.

The opportunity to follow this with the Leverhulme pictures was timely, particularly given the rarity of such exceptional works remaining in private hands. It was moving to see visitors fall under the spell of these great Victorian visions once again. This hugely positive response to the exhibition was evident in press coverage, on national televeision, newspapers, radio stations and websites. It was with some pride and delight that I witnessed the crowds still surging through the exhibition space as it came to a close on Friday, continuing the trend set by the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at the Pushkin.

James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot's A Visit to the Yacht. Estimate £2,000,000–3,000,000.

After two delightfully busy evening receptions and daily viewings, it was time for the Leverhulme works to begin the final leg of their international tour in New York and Los Angeles. The reverence these Victorian masterpieces still hold is evidently clear, and their ability to continually captivate a global audience is breath-taking.


Tags:Auctions, London, 19th Century European Paintings, Moscow, Exhibitions