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Records of Auction Sales in Russian Art: 20 Most Expensive Russian Paintings, Part 1
December 29, 2014 21:04

The list of the most expensive paintings according to results of world auctions opens with Paul Cezanne’s work and goes on with Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon. Russian paintings are presented in the top list with one work by Kazimir Malevich.

Here goes the rating of the most expensive works by Russian artists according to the site 

No 1. Kazimir Malevich — Suprematist Composition (1916) - $60 million at Sotheby’s, 2008
In 1927 the Soviet avant-garde artist Kazimir Malevich intended to organize his exhibition abroad and brought nearly one hundred works, which remained with the architect Hugo Hering in Berlin. The latter preserved them through the era of Nazism, and sold them in the 1950s, after the death of Kazimir Malevich. Not long ago nearly 40 people of Malevich' inheritors quite proved to the court that Hugo Hering did not own the paintings and so had no right to trade in them. Therefore one of the buyers — the Stedelek state museum in Holland was compelled to give away the masterpiece, which was immediately put up for auction by Malevich’ heirs. The procedure of returning his other works from the Berlin exhibition is under way.
No 2. Vasily Kandinsky — Study for Improvisation 8 (1909) - $ 23 million at Christie’s, 2012.
The color study for one of the paintings from the Improvisation series was displayed in the Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow for three days shortly before the auction. It depicts a hero with a gold sword: it might be Saint George, or one of Sts. Boreas and Gleb. The subsequent sale broke Vasily Kandinsky’s auction record kept from 1990, when his Fugue was sold for $ 22.9 million at Christie's. However, the price difference is not that big. Besides, taking into consideration dollar inflation in the passed quarter-century, Fugue was, after all, more expensive.

No 3. Marc Chagall — Anniversary (1923) - $ 16.3 million at Sotheby’s, 1990
The painting by the Vitebsk dreamer belonged to the glorified Guggenheim Museum and turned to be on the art market through folly. Once the museum director Thomas Krents put up Kandinsky’s Fugue, this canvass by Marc Chagall and Modigliani’s work for an auction. The profit was used by the museum to purchase a collection of 200 works by American conceptual artists. The director was naturally reproved; however, what is done cannot be undone. 
No 4. Nicholas Roerich — Madonna Laboris (1931) – £7.88 million (about $13.5 million) at Bonhams, 2013
It was one of the most unexpected records of last year: the painting was pre-estimated at around £ 800 thousand — 1.2 million, and was sold 7 times more expensive. The canvass depicts Virgin Mary holding her scarf down from the Paradise wall and secretly takes in those human souls that were debarred by Peter the Apostle, the Paradise gatekeeper. For a long time this painting was stored in one American family, which had no idea of what an outstanding figure Nicholas Roerich was.
No 5. Nikolai Feshin — Little Cowboy (1940) – £ 6.95 million (about $11.9 million) at MacDougall’s, 2010
Nikolai Feshin, Ilya Repin’s student who immigrated to the USA in 1923, had won certain art reputation in his homeland; however, it was not so big as to be remembered in the Soviet years. Fortunately, a large-scale exhibition held in the Tretyakov Gallery in 2012 helped his compatriots to remember him. The Little Cowboy was painted in the American period of the artist’s career: he stayed in the State of New Mexico for a long time and portrayed lots of locals, including both cowboys, and Native Americans. 
No 6. Natalya Goncharova — Spaniard (1916) - £ 6.43 million (about $ 11 million) at Christie’s, 2010
Natalya Goncharova is one of the most popular Russian artists on the market. Her large-scale exhibition was held while ago in the Tretyakov Gallery and included a lots of paintings from the Spaniards series. Her works could have made an entire list of most expensive auction sales. Thus, her painting Flowers was sold for £ 5.5 million at the Christie’s in 2008, and Apple Harvesting was sold for £ 4.9 a year before.


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian painters     

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