“Sold!”: the most high-profile Sotheby’s auction in 10 years

“Sold!”: the most high-profile Sotheby’s auction in 10 years

MOSCOW, may 24 — RIA Novosti, Anna Mikhailova. British auction house Sotheby’s is celebrating ten years of work in Moscow the exhibition “Sight collector”. In the Ivanovo hall of the Russian state library it is possible to see more than 40 works of art acquired by domestic collectors at auction at Sotheby’s, and the top lots of the upcoming auction of Russian art in London.

The number ten, of course, conditional. The history of Sotheby’s in Russia began much earlier — with the first auction of Soviet contemporary art in 1988. It was the debut international auction in the Soviet Union. Despite the enormous success of those sales, which gave the world a whole generation of Russian artists, it took another 20 years before it appeared in Moscow representative office of Sotheby’s.

In 2007 the auction house was brought here 20 exhibitions with the world’s masterpieces, and the number of new collectors from Russia, participating in international auctions at Sotheby’s, increased by 30%. As a result, the auctions of Russian art in London from exotics has turned into a prestigious and, importantly, profitable event. Prices of domestic artists increased significantly — in 1988, the top lot was the painting “Fundamental lexicon” Bruskin, pushed under the hammer for 500 thousand dollars, but today we are talking about six-digit figures.


One of the first Sotheby’s auction made a splash. The auction was canceled at the last minute, because literally the day before all the lots are purchased privately.

The collection of Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya of the 450 items were sold to entrepreneur Alisher Usmanov, who then gave the collection to the State complex “Palace of congresses” (Konstantinovsky Palace) in St. Petersburg. The exact amount of the transaction were not disclosed, we only know that it exceeded the original estimate, which was estimated at 26-40 million dollars.


Russian avant-garde remains the most popular segment of the Russian art. One of the record sales was the painting of Kazimir Malevich “Suprematist composition”.

Kazimir Malevich “Suprematist composition” (1916) pic.twitter.com/tVvzEPTtVQ

— Serg Fisun (@DJFisun) March 21, 2014

The painting was sold at Sotheby’s auction in new York to an unknown buyer for $ 60 million. The auction was preceded by a 15-year-old lawsuit between the heirs of the artist and the Amsterdam Museum “Stedeleyk”, where it was kept since 1958. “Suprematist composition” is still the most expensive work of Malevich’s ever gone under the hammer.


The mission of the Moscow Sotheby’s — not only to buy and sell art, but to promote Russian culture abroad.

At auction in 2011, dedicated to the fiftieth anniversary of the first flight into space, the excitement was caused by a unique lot — the capsule of the Soviet spacecraft “Vostok ZKA-2”. It is in her orbit went the dog Zvezdochka and mannequin Ivan Ivanovich. Thanks to the successful landing of the Vostok flight of Yuri Gagarin got the green light. The relic was purchased by an unidentified collector for almost three million dollars. Later, the capsule was returned to Russia.


Another victory for Russian culture and a record for Sotheby’s auction was the sale of the archive of Andrei Tarkovsky.

About the need to bring these documents home filmmaker said a few years at the state level, but on the acquisition of the collection, estimated at 80-100 thousand pounds, it required extra-budgetary funds. Through the efforts of the International festival named after Tarkovsky “the Mirror”, private sponsors and authorities of the Ivanovo region, the birthplace of the Director, the money was collected. After fierce bidding, in which the value of the archive has grown to 1.3 million pounds, the documents handed to the Museum of Tarkovsky in the town of Yuryevets.


Zinaida Serebryakova. “Self-portrait (Behind the toilet)”. 1909, the State Tretyakov gallery. Moscow. Of the Russian Federation. pic.twitter.com/wydNZcz2RV

— Artists and Poets (@Xudozhnikipoeti) may 8, 2017

Often auction record becomes a reference point not only for collectors but also for the Museum community. So, selling paintings Zinaida Serebryakova “Sleeping girl” for 3.9 million pounds triggered a surge of interest in creativity is almost forgotten in the Soviet period of the artist.

The amount was three times higher than the cost for which left the work of Serebryakova in previous years. “Sleeping girl” remains the most expensive work of the artist sold at auction. The painting went to an anonymous collector and, unfortunately, not represented on large-scale retrospective Serebryakova, which now is in the Tretyakov gallery.

Zinaida #Serebryakova. Sleeping girl, 70 x 98 cm, oil on canvas
Gallery Serebryakova in Archive: http://t.co/ZiFVc3QWoz pic.twitter.com/AYfGuuokss

— Archiv (@artchiveru) June 2, 2015