The Russian Pictures sale achieved a total of £6.8 million, the highest result of Russian Week in London and more than double that of the nearest competitor. New auction price records were established for seven artists, including Abram Arkhipov, Dmitry Levitsky, Tair Salakhov and Dmitri Stelletsky.
Sotheby’s sold the three most expensive Russian pictures of the week: Peasant Woman in a Red Dress by Abram Arkhipov (£905,000), View from Cap Martin with Monaco in the Distance by Ivan Aivazovsky (£545,000) and De l’aube à la nuit by Dmitri Stelletsky (£401,000).
The December Russian Pictures sale will be led by a single-owner collection of over 250 works on paper by Natalia Goncharova, originally belonging to the Lefebvre-Foinet family, which together provide a comprehensive overview of the career of one of the most important artists of the Russian avant-garde. Lefebvre-Foinet was a family-run firm who for more than a century supplied materials to generations of artists in Paris, including Goncharova and her lifelong partner Mikhail Larionov. Among the highlights will be Goncharova’s groundbreaking set and costume designs for Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, her work for the couture house Myrbor, interior design projects, studies for paintings and a number of sketches by Larionov.
The sale will also feature a number of important works from private collections which have never before been offered at auction. The earliest work in the sale is a rare painting by Dmitry Levitsky, the 18th-century painter of the aristocracy, whose magnificent Portrait of Princess Varvara Golitsyna dates from 1779. Also offered for the first time are Winter in Abramtsevo by Valentin Serov, depicting the celebrated artists’ colony and estate of the great patron Savva Mamontov. Boris Grigoriev’s unique Ramayana, a Boris Kustodiev watercolour of a Merchant’s Wife and Dmitri Stelletsky’s De l’Aube à la nuit, which was first exhibited at the 1920 Venice Biennale.