CONTEMPORARY RUSSIAN ART AUCTION Monday, 25 November 2019, 14:30IMPORTANT RUSSIAN ART AUCTION Wednesday, 27 November, 2019, 10:30Asia House, 63 New Cavendish St, London W1G 7LP
MacDougall’s has announced exciting auctions for London’s Russian Week. Russian contemporary art will be featured on November 25th and while classic Russian art will be auctioned on November 27th.
MacDougall’s celebrates its 15th anniversary this year with an elegantly curated selection of artworks that span the leading movements within Russian art. A highlight of the sale is Boris Kustodiev’s elegiacally beautiful Autumn. The Student’s Farewell, painted in 1923 (estimate £1,500,000–2,000,000), which originates from the collection of the famous physicist and Nobel laureate Pyotr Kapitsa. Kustodiev and Kapitsa had a long-standing friendship, and Kapitsa treasured the work, lending it to many exhibitions on the artist. Imbued with a gentle nostalgia, the painting presents an exquisitely idealised view of Russian provincial life, depicting a world far removed from the political turmoil of the 1920s. The work was included in the large Kustodiev retrospective exhibition of 1928 and in the landmark exhibition on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kustodiev in 1978. It also featured in the first monograph on Kustodiev, written during the artist’s lifetime, by Vsevolod Voinov in 1925.
Masters of the Russian avant-garde will be represented by several leading names. The two-metre canvas, L’Espagnole by Natalia Goncharova (estimate £800,000–1,200,000) belongs to the series that can without exaggeration be called the symbol of the artist’s oeuvre. The Spanish theme became the most significant one in the work of Goncharova during the 1910-1930s. The best features of her talent are combined, including the tendency to monumentality and sophisticated decoration.
The group of seven graphic works by the master of the Russian avant-garde, Ivan Kliun, originating from the collection of the granddaughter of the artist Svetlana Kliunkova-Soloveichik and published in the catalogue raisonné prepared by her, is set to become an absolute sensation of the “Russian week”. The rare appearance at auction of several works at once, covering the two main decades of the artist’s career from the 1910s to the 1930s, and having impeccable provenance, is an event of extraordinary significance.
One of the highlights of the collection, Poster for the Film The “Battle of the Giants” of the 1920s (estimate £60,000–90,000), is a unique example of the movie poster aesthetics of the avant-garde era. This poster design may be the only surviving example of Kliun’s work for the film industry and, as such, should be considered to be of immense importance.
A masterpiece by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Bathing Boys (estimate £500,000–1,000,000), will undoubtedly attract attention. This painting is an extremely characteristic and recognisable example of the artist’s work from the late 1910s – early 1920s. Created in September 1921 in Samarkand, during the artist’s journey through Central Asia, it clearly reflects his development away from the abstract spaces of earlier years towards a more metaphysical world of “planetary reality” full of colour and light.
A specialized auction on November 25 will offer more than 120 lots of contemporary and non-conformist artists. The auction will be led by Mikhail Shvartsman’s iconic work Krepost Glavy (estimate £70,000–90,000) from an important European collection. Executed over the course of a decade – 1978 to 1987 – the composition effectively chronicles the artist’s creative journey during this period amidst the atmosphere of intoxicating intellectual ferment. Like many of his works, Krepost Glavy was conceived by Shvartsman as an image-sign, a figure representing a constant divine presence.
Pavel Pepperstein’s “Empty Icons” Series will occupy an important place within the auction (estimate £70,000–90,000). In this series, some meditative searches of the artist are manifested as part of his work as a member of the group of artists known as “Inspection Medical Hermeneutics”, of which he was the founder.
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