Author Archives: Konstantin Akinsha


High Court Drama: Scholars, Christie’s, and the Russian Oligarch

A judge decided it was a fake, but some scholars say that a Russian painting sold at Christie’s is genuine Read More


Where the Pictures Don’t Always Match the Labels

Experts say that many of the works attributed to Russian masters in a Venice exhibition are not what they're claimed to be. Read More


Resurrecting Stalin?

Russians debate the future of old monuments to the leader and their meaning for the present. Read More


Art in Russia: Under Attack

With trials, harassment, and other forms of intimidation, Russian authorities are striking out against curators and artists—who are, in turn, organizing projects that are increasingly provocative and political. Read More


The Mauerbach Scandal

An exhibition in Vienna brings to light new evidence of Austria’s reluctance to return art looted by the Nazis. Read More


The Mysterious Journey of an Erotic Masterpiece

Femme nue couchée, one of several Courbets owned by the Hungarian Jewish collector Baron Ferenc Hatvany, disappeared after World War II from a Budapest bank vault. The painting resurfaced 50 years later in Slovakia, setting off a cat-and-mouse game that resulted in its restitution to Hatvany’s heirs—who loaned it to the Courbet retrospective at the Grand Palais in Paris. Read More

ARTnewsletter Archive

Rostropovich Collection Comes Home to Russia

On Sept. 14 billionaire Alisher Usmanov acquired the entire art collection of legendary cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (1927-2007) and his wife, Galina Vishnevskaya, for more than $70 million. Usmanov immediately announced plans to return the trove—which includes paintings by Boris Grigoriev, Nikolai Roerich and Vladimir Borovikovsky—to Russia. Read More


More Demand, More Questions

As the market grows for Russian and Eastern European art, forgeries proliferate. Read More


The Scandal Sweeping Russia’s Art Market

Forgers have been retouching hundreds of works by minor European artists, putting the signatures of major Russian artists on them and selling them for many times their worth. Read More

ARTnewsletter Archive

Disputed Larionov Painting Stays Close to Its Russian Roots

Despite serious concerns about the provenance of a Russian artwork—raised just days before the work went on the auction block—it sold for £420,000 ($722,400) to a Russian buyer.
The picture In the Dukhan, Imaginary Journey to Turkey, by Mikhail Larionov (1881-1964), was a highlight of the Russian art sale on Nov. 28 at the MacDougall auction house, London. Estimated at £250,000/350,000, the painting had been authenticated by art historian Anthony Parton, Larionov’s biographer and compiler of a forthcoming catalogue raisonné, who wrote that the work was “one of Larionov’s most significant paintings from 1910.” Larionov and his wife, Natalia Goncharova, were major figures of the Russian avant-garde. They settled in Paris in 1917. Read More

Kulik’s photo of a dead Chechen terrorist, Madonna and Child (detail of Bus Stop), 2005, from “Russia 2.” COURTESY GUELMAN GALLERY, MOSCOW

Provocateurs, Ghosts, Accomplices, and Starz

Whether the first Moscow Biennale accomplished its aims—to legitimize contemporary art in Russia and to thrust contemporary Russian art onto the international stage—is debatable, but it was certainly the most important art event in the city in many years. Read More

Vandals sprayed “Vermin” and “Scum, you are devils” over works by Alisa Zrazhevskaya and Alexander Dorokhov at the Sakharov Museum. COURTESY SAKHAROV MUSEUM AND PUBLIC CENTER, MOSCOW

‘Orthodox Bulldozer’

Artists whose works deal with religious themes are reviled by the Russian Orthodox Church, while the vandals who destroy their works are hailed as martyrs. Read More