NEW YORK—On Dec. 16, Auktionsverk, Stockholm, held the first of what it hopes will become an annual sale of Russian art. The auction realized about $5 million, with more than 200 lots offered. Highlights of the sale: nearly a dozen works by Ivan Aivazovsky, in private European collections for over a century, and five works by Leonid Pasternak, father of writer Boris Pasternak.
Nine works by Aivazovsky (1817-1900) found buyers. The highest price paid was $251,500 for A View from a Vine-Covered Pergola on a Terrace Overlooking Naples Bay and Capo Miseno Towards Ischia . . ., painted in 1840 when the artist was in Italy. Also selling well was the artist’s Clouds Over the Calm Sea, an 1891 oil on canvas that fetched $188,665.
“I was very satisfied with the sale,” specialist and Auktionsverk consultant Ivan Samarine told ARTnewsletter. He estimates that the Stockholm sale, combined with Sotheby’s and Christie’s large Russian art offerings in late November and early December, resulted in a volume of art on offer that was far higher than usual. “You’re really asking the market to absorb about twice as much material” as compared with previous years, Samarine notes.
Christie’s realized $17.5 million with a Nov. 30 sale of “Important Russian Pictures” in London, while Sotheby’s “Russian Sale” on Dec. 1 took a near-identical $17.8 million. Samarine says the market “showed a bit of sophistication. With very few exceptions, if you look at all three catalogues [of Russian art], there was not a single important or interesting picture that was not sold.”
Among the top-selling lots at Auktionsverk was an oil on canvas,, A View of Palace Square, with the Arch of the General Staff Building, the Alexander Column . . ., circa 1838-42. The work, attributed to Adolphe Ignatievich Ladurner (1798-1855), fetched $155,300. The best price was $303,000 for Winter Troika, 1933, by Philip Andreievich Maliavin (1869-1940).