Sotheby’s June sale of Russian Pictures achieved £5.2 million, the highest total of the season in its category. At the Edge of the Pine Forest, one of Ivan Shishkin’s final masterpieces which had not been seen in public since the 25thItinerant Art Exhibition in Moscow in 1897, sold for £1.3 million, well in excess of its pre-sale estimate of £500,000-700,000 and the highest price of the week. Roe Deer by a Stream by Niko Pirosmani performed similarly well, eventually selling for £629,000, more than triple the pre-sale estimate. High prices were also achieved for ballet and theatre material, in particular Boris Anisfeld’s exquisite set design for the 1911 Ballets Russes production of Sadko.
The June sale will feature a number of works by leading 19th-century Russian artists such as Ivan Aivazovsky, Vladimir Orlovsky, Nikolai Sverchkov and a major oil by Ivan Shishkin. Also among the highlights will be a strong selection of ballet and theatre material, including early designs by Boris Anisfeld and Léon Bakst for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and a design for Le Coq d’or by Alexander Benois.