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Records of Auction Sales in Russian Art: 20 Most Expensive Russian Paintings, Part 3
January 7, 2015 18:13

Previous: Records of Auction Sales in Russian Art: 20 Most Expensive Russian Paintings, Part 2

No 13. Vladimir Borovikovsky — Portrait of Countess L.I. Kusheleva with Sons Alexander and Grigory (1803) – £ 2.99 million (about $ 5,1 million at Christie’s, 2014
It is the oldest painting on this list of recent art auction records. Really, gala portraits by Vladimir Borovikovsky, such as portraitist of Catherine the Great and Pavel the First, are art works of museum level and can rarely be found at the auctions. It is amusing that they probably did not know at the Christie’s about Valery Borovikovsky’s high value, since its initial price was just around £ 50 - 70 thousand. In spite of that it was sold at 3 million! By the way, his couple portrait with the countess' husband was sold twice cheaper and that is an obvious proof of the fact that ancient portraits of elegant women are always more interesting than those of men.
No 14. Ilya Kabakov — The Bug (1985) – £ 2.9 million (about $ 5 million) at Phillips de Pury, 1998
This work by the legendary conceptual artist is, on the contrary, the freshest on this list. The record was set at the Phillips de Pury auction house, which specializes in modern art. The record could not be broken for many years already.
No 15. Alexander Yakovlev — Portrait of Artist Vasily Shukhayev in his Studio (1928) - £ 2.82 million (about $ 4.8 million) at Christie’s, 2007

The artists Alexander Yakovlev and Vasily Shukhayev were great friends, and the well-known Double Self-Portrait as Arlekin and Pierrot is their friendship monument kept in the Russian Museum. The same portrait depicting Vasily Shukhayev wearing his working clothes looks somewhat dull. Alexander Yakovlev’s previous auction record, the painting Titia and Narange, Daughters of Leader Eki Bondo ($ 2.5 million) created after his trip across Africa is way brighter. 
 No 16. Ivan Aivazovsky — American Vessels at Gibraltar Rock (1873) – £ 2.7 million (about $ 4.6 million) at Christie’s, 2007

 The well-known marine painter has left such a great number of canvasses and is so popular among copyists that only really reliable works by him can get to auctions. This canvass was a wedding gift to ancestors of its last owner in 1919.
No 17. Pavel Kuznetsov — East City of Bukhara (1928) - £ 2.37 million (about $ 4 million) at MacDougall’s, 2014
The painting by the gentle Soviet romantic Pavel Kuznetsov, who found poetry in the Central Asian heat, is one of the breakthroughs of this year. By the way, according to comments of auction houses, such high results of the Russian art week held in June were a good indicator, especially as compared to spring slack due to fear of sanctions.
No 18. Boris Grigoriev — The Shepherd in Mountains aka Klyuev the Shepherd (1920) - £3.72 million (about $ 6,3 million) at Sotheby’s, 2008
The painting from the series Russia dedicated to the frightening Russian peasantry depicts the country poet Nikolay Klyuev as a herdsman. The previous record by the satirical artist Boris Grigoriev was 3.2 million dollars for the painting Breton Pipers from the series dedicated to the French province of Brittany, where he lived in the 1920s.
 No 19. Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin — Still Life. Apples and Eggs (1921) - $ 3.6 million at MacDougall’s, 2012

This still life is painted in the very peculiar manner of Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin. Its sale at the MacDougall's auction house specializing in the Russian art exceeded the result of 2010 for almost 1 million. The portrait of the boy named Vasya was sold at $ 2.66 million.
No 20. Yury Annenkov — Portrait of A.N. Tikhonov (1922) - £ 2.26 million (about $ 3.9 million) at Christie's, 2007
Yuri Annenkov is greatly favored by fans of the Silver Age literature due to his well-known series of graphic portraits of writers and poets of that time. The artist painted the portrait with unusual collage technique: it has glass and plaster over oil and even a real doorbell fastened to it. This is also the portrait of a writer, namely Tikhonov-Serebrov.  However, he was not that famous as compared to other models of Yuri Annenkov, such as, for example, Anna Akhmatova, Boris Pasternak or Maxim Gorky. Had he been more popular, the portrait would have certainly been sold at a much higher price. 


Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Culture Russian painters    

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