Russian Art

Overview

This November, Sotheby’s is holding three dedicated Russian Art sales. Following our sales of Russian Pictures and Russian Works of Art on 30 November, Sotheby’s will offer one of the most impressive private collections of Post-War and Contemporary Russian Art at auction on 1 December.

The Russian Pictures sale features a diverse selection of works by some of the best-known Russian artists from the 19th and 20th centuries. The highlight of the season is Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin’s Still Life with Apples from 1912, painted at the same time as his celebrated masterpiece Bathing of a Red Horse. Other highlights include a cubist work by Marie Vassilieff as well an early still life by Petr Konchalovsky, both dating from the early 1910s. The strong 19th century section includes a pair of Italian views by Ivan Aivazovsky from 1844, as well as a large-scale portrait of Maria Matavtina by Konstantin Makovsky, which has remained in the artist’s family until now. A large selection of Soviet-era pictures as well as contemporary works are also on offer.

The sale of Post-War and Contemporary Russian Art brings to the market a private collection of non-official Soviet art of museum quality. The star piece is Erik Bulatov's large oil Sky and Sea from 1985, with impeccable provenance and impressive exhibition history. The sale features exceptional works from the most collectible periods by artists such as Oleg Tselkov, Semyon Faibisovich, Oleg Vassiliev, Francisco Infante, Vladimir Weisberg, Oscar Rabin, Dmitry Krasnopevtsev and Ivan Chuikov.

The Russian Works of Art sale of nearly 300 lots is led by three exceptional Fabergé models of flowers, one of which - the model of an apple blossom - is apparently the largest known Fabergé flower outside of the Royal Collection and carries both imperial Russian and highly esteemed modern provenance, having been in the collection of the Rockefellers and Astors. Our selection of Fabergé jewels is highlighted by three pendants which showcase the modernity of Fabergé design. An impressive and fresh variety of works by Fabergé from Private Collections come to the market, including a jewelled bowenite box carved as a billy goat’s head, a guilloché enamel and dendritic agate clock by Perkhin, and a wonderful selection of Fabergé carved hardstone animals with exciting exhibition history.

Highlights of our selection of imperial porcelain include a rare and impressive vase, given to Emperor Nicholas I for Christmas in 1834, and military plates from the period of Nicholas I. The Soviet porcelain section is enriched by plates painted after the vibrant designs of Apsitis and Kobiletska, as well as a rare and impressive vase executed by Peshcherov after Kuznetsova. The impressively large icons section of the sale features the full spectrum of icon artistry, ranging from the traditional cloisonné enamelling of Ovchinnikov and Rückert, the bold Art Nouveau designs of Zharov, a finely painted triptych panel icon in the Cretan style and much more. We are delighted to also have on offer exciting works in cameo glass, silver and enamel. Following from their popularity in our June 2021 sale, we are thrilled to have a dazzling array of egg pendants.

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