SALE: Important Russian Art
LOCATION: Sotheby’s London
DATE: November 26
ABOUT: Nearly a half-million Russians have immigrated to London in recent years, and their presence is making itself known on the city’s art market. Sotheby’s has transferred its New York auctions of Russian art to London, and next week marks a three-sale series dedicated to Russian painting, Faberge and decorative art, and “important Russian art.”
The latter showcases the highest-value works, led by Vasily Vasilievich Vereshchagin’s sun-scorched panorama of soldiers retreating from battle, “Transportation of the Wounded,” an 11-foot-wide canvas estimated at £800,000 to £1.2 million. Tied for the top spot is a much gentler vision by Vasily Alexandrovich Kotarbinsky, who has strewn his “Roman Orgy” dreamscape with flowers, slumbering swans, and garland-draped nudes.
Land and seascapes comprise many of the 29 total lots, including Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky’s radiant moonrise over Constantinople, one of the artist’s most beloved cities, which he depicts in both sweeping, romantic grandeur and fine architectural detail. The painting is estimated at £700,000 to £900,000.
But whatever page buyers flip to in the catalogue, they’re likely to spot Russian warships battling with Turks, Imperial Army encampments, stony-faced portraits of women, sledgehammering laborers, and other examples of Russian torment at its best.
— Rachel Corbett
(Photo: Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, “Moonrise Over the Golden Horn,” 1817-1900, estimated at £700,000-£900,000 at Sotheby’s London)