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Russian Art

Celebrating 10 Years in Moscow with Russian Art Exhibition

On 1 and 2 November Sotheby’s will continue the 10th anniversary celebrations of the opening of its Moscow office with an exhibition at The Schusev State Museum of Architecture featuring over 30 artworks from the upcoming London auctions of Russian art, many of which have not been seen in public for generations.

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TAIR SALAKHOV, GRANADA, £30,000-50,000. FROM ART OF THE SOVIET UNION.

The exhibition will feature the best portrait by Nikolai Fechin ever to come to auction; a group of works by Alexandra Exter; and highlights from the upcoming sale of Art of the Soviet Union (28 November), a new auction marking the centenary of the revolution that will include examples from the earliest years of the Soviet Union up until 1991.

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NIKOLAI FECHIN, PORTRAIT OF NADEZHDA SAPOZHNIKOVA, 1908. ESTIMATE £1,200,000–1,800,000. FROM RUSSIAN PICTURES.

The highlight of the Russian Pictures sale (28 November) is the finest portrait by Nikolai Fechin to come to the market. It depicts the artist’s patron, student, and possible romantic interest Nadezhda Sapozhnikova, who supported the artist with commissions when the outbreak of the First World War prevented the artist from exhibiting in Europe and America.

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IVAN POKHITONOV, SUNLIT LANDSCAPE IN WINTER, ZHABOVSHCHIZNA, CIRCA 1902-6. ESTIMATE £100,000–150,000. FROM RUSSIAN PICTURES.

Further Russian Paintings highlights include Ivan Pokhitonov’s beautiful depiction of a winter’s day on his estate at Zhabovshchizna, and a group of works by Alexandra Exter from the descendants of her close friend Ihnno Ezratty. The artist sheltered Ezratty, a Sephardic Jew, during WWII and, in gratitude for all she had done for him, Ezratty bought her paintings and even found her a studio enabling her to resume painting. On her death Exter bequeathed to him a number of artworks.

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ALEXANDRA EXTER, CARNIVAL IN VENICE. ESTIMATE £180,000–250,000. FROM RUSSIAN PICTURES.

Works in the exhibition from the Art of the Soviet Union auction include the first major work by Serafima Ryangina to appear at auction, and one of the few works from her early career remaining in private hands. Commissioned by the Association of Artists of the Revolution (AKhR) in 1930, it was exhibited at the XVIII Venice Biennale in 1932. The work responded to the propagandistic aims of the Soviet organisers who saw the Biennale as an opportunity to demonstrate the economic, industrial and moral strength of socialism.

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SERAFIMA RYANGINA, STUDENT EXCURSION TO THE BALTIC SHIPYARD, 1930. ESTIMATE £100,000–150,000. FROM ART OF THE SOVIET UNION.

A number of works from The Gekkoso Gallery, Japan will also be on view, including Andrei Mylnikov’s On the Veranda and Tair Salakhov’s Granada. This gallery held the first selling exhibition of Soviet art in 1970, a year after the head of the gallery Yoko Nakamura first visited the country, convinced there must be something worth exploring in Soviet art.

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ANDREI MYLNIKOV, ON THE VERANDA, £30,000-50,000. FROM ART OF THE SOVIET UNION.

The exhibition will be open to the public in the ‘Ruin’ Exhibition Space at The Schusev State Museum of Architecture on 1 and 2 November from 10am to 8pm.

The Russian Pictures, Art of the Soviet Union and Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons sales will take place in London on 28 November.

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