November 2014
Welcome to the November Newsletter!
Добро пожаловать в бюллетень ноябрь! 


Mikhail V. Akinshin, "On the Rest"
18¾'' x 29¼'', 1961, Oil on Board
Estimate $4,000- 5,000, Current Bid, $1,250 by C. Nielson



For our November silent auction, we present this wonderful painting, "On the Rest", by the premier landscape artist Mikhail Vasilievich Akinshin. 


In this work, Akinshin combines the spontaneity of a one-time plein-air outing together with the bright, particularly Ukrainian, colors that are noted in many artists of the period. Mikhail Vasilievich Akinshin brings a vibrancy of spirit to this piece. For Akinshin's collectors, his work with local landscapes provides a special touch--capturing the particular light and landmarks of nature. Finding the local peculiarities and uniqueness of landscapes--became the main genre of his creative work.



Ken Spencer, "Still Useful"
30'' x 24'', 2014, Oil on board, $3,200




We are pleased to be featuring an exhibition of  new works by one of our few non-Russian artists, Ken Spencer.  Mr. Spencer is an avid plein-air painter who thrives on the challenges and joys of painting under the skies in nature. "Painting on location gives me a chance to see new things, to see different light conditions and to regularly feel the creative juices. When I paint in plein-air I see the subtle colors of nature, and the hidden details of the subject." 
Ken recently traveled to France, Italy and the Czech Republic to paint on location and many of the new works in the exhibition are a result of these travels.

Ken Spencer is a native of Northern Utah and currently resides in Blackfoot, Idaho. He has exhibited his work throughout the United States, won numerous awards and has been featured in Southwest Art Magazine's "Artists to Watch", SkyWest Magazine and in American Art Collector Magazine.

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Christie's presents Abram Arkhipov's
"Peasant Woman in a Green Sarafan"

Estimate £350,000 - £550,000
London, November 21-28
This week, London's premier auction houses of Bonhams, Christie's, Sotheby's, MacDougall's and newcomer Chiswick are set to welcome the fifth Russian Art Week. Auctions of rare and valuable Russian paintings, icons, Fabergé and works of art will be held at the major auction houses, alongside a series of exceptional exhibitions of paintings by Russian artists at galleries throughout London.


There also will be a series of independent events coinciding with the November 2014 Russian Art Week, including Russian Avant-garde Theatre: War, Revolution and Design at the Victoria &Albert Museum, the English National Ballet's Swan Lake and Nutcracker, and a concert by pianist Alexei Volodin at the Southbank Centre. Other listed events range from theatre performances and talks on translating Russian literature, and curating Russian art, marking  this as an important week supporting the program of the UK-Russia Year of Culture 2014.
A remarkable exhibition--- Russian Icons: Spirit and Beauty, comprising of a collection of forty Russian and Greek icons dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries, will be staged by Jan Morsink Ikonen of Amsterdar. Exquisite items such as Russian dinner services and an Imperial silver table will be on show at Mayfair Gallery for their special Russian exhibition Masterpieces of Imperial Russia.


Palace Square and The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
May 11th to 23rd

With Dr. Vern Swanson


There are numerous tours to Russia and many people who can take you there. However, there are very few who know the splendor of Russia like Dr.Vern Swanson, America's preeminent Russian art scholar and the principals of Thomas Kearns McCarthey Gallery. We have been leading small private tours to Russia since 1981. We know Russia--and we know Russian art.


It has been a couple of years since our last tour and we are organizing a small private group of Russian art enthusiasts for a behind the scenes view of Russia and its astonishing art. We will visit the imperial Capitol of St Petersburg, and today's powerful Capitol of Moscow and travel to the village Prislonikha, the birth place of Arkady Alexandrovich Plastov. While there we will be hosted by Plastov's grandson, Nikolai Plastov and Dr. Swanson will present a lecture on the life of the great Russian master

Full details and itinerary in December's Newsletter!

The art market just saw the biggest two weeks in its history. Since Nov. 4, collectors have flocked to the world's chief auction houses in New York to spend more than $2 billion on art, a historic high in which 23 works sold for more than $20 million apiece. (In 2009, Christie's International sold only six artworks for that much all year.) 


To win, bidders often had to splurge: billionaire investor Steve Cohen paid Sotheby's $101 million for an Alberto Giacometti bronze chariot sculpture; other bidders at Christie's paid $82 million for an Andy Warhol silk-screen of a gun-toting Elvis Presley and $65 million for Édouard Manet's portrait of pretty woman with a parasol.

Dozens of debutantes dance the Waltz of the Flowers as the tradition of the grand Russian Ball is revived in London
The Return of the Russian Ball


The traditional Debutante opening ceremony was the main attraction with fifty pairs dancing the Waltz of the Flowers. The participants were carefully selected in London and Moscow. 


The organizers brought together famous artists, cultural professionals, businessmen and all the people who are passionate about Russian culture and history.
The event was co-organized by Princess Olga Andreevna Romanoff, a descendant of the House of Romanov, Ola is the granddaughter of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna. 


-Unknown-, "Antique Bust",
17¼'' x 23¼'', 1970, Oil on Board $950

Black Friday Holiday Gift Gallery Stroll- Friday November 28th
Featuring many new works under $1,000!
Get your Christmas shopping done early at this month's gallery stroll. We will be featuring a fresh delivery or Russian Christmas ornaments and several new works under $1,000 such as "Antique Bust" (right) which was recently acquired in Kiev Ukraine and added to the Treasure Chest. The artist is unknown, but the work has a striking resemblance to other famous works by the legendary master Geliy M. Korzhev. Who knows, perhaps the work truly is a hidden treasure by the great master? The stroll is from 6 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy the newsletter and have a fantastic Thanksgiving Holiday!

Stephen Justesen, Gallery Director


Geliy M. Kozhev, "Venus's Head"
31½'' x 27½'', 1990, Oil on Canvas, SOLD $35,000
Korzhev, Geliy M. Korzhev, "Antique Bust"
40¼'' x 22¾'', 1990, Oil on Canvas SOLD $29,000





November Silent Auction!auction

Congratulations to Kathie Marriott-Manangan who placed the winning bid of $2,000 for our October auction work, "New Bicycle" by Sergei A. Grigoriev, estimated at $4,000- $5,000.


For our November silent auction, we present this wonderful painting, "Autumn is Coming", by one of the premier landscape artists of the second half of the twentieth century, Mikhail Vasilievich Akinshin.  Akinshin had a unique ability to capture people as well as the beautiful landscapes of village life. He painted the countryside with emotion and reverence, always full of truth and integrity. Akinshin captured the gentility, vastness and living breath of the countryside of his native Ukraine and Uzbekistan where he studied.  


In this work Akinshin combines the spontaneity of a one time plein air outing together with the bright, particularly Ukrainian, colors that are noted in many artists of the period. Mikhail Vasilievich Akinshin brings a vibrancy and spirit to this piece which marks it as a classic. 


Don't miss this rare opportunity to add a great work by a highly acclaimed artist to your collection! The current high bid is just $1,250. The next bid is $1,500 followed by minimum bidding increments of $250. 


We invite you to participate in this month's auction and thank everyone who placed bids last month. Please note that you may place a maximum bid and the Gallery will bid on your behalf up to your maximum. By placing a maximum bid you will be assured you are not out bid at the last minute. Bids will be taken via telephone, fax, or e-mail until the auction ends at 6:00 pm, Sunday November 30th. Follow all the bidding updates on the Gallery's web site.

Mikhail Vasilievich Akinshin, "On the Rest"
18¾'' x 29¼'', 1961, Oil on Board
Estimate $4,000- 5,000, Current Bid, $1,250, C. Nielson

Mikhail Vasilievich Akinshin, (1927- 1980) Zaporozhye, Ukraine

Translated from the original Russian


Mikhail Vasilievich Akinshin was born on February 18, 1927 in the village Lomovo, Kursk Region into a peasant's family. In 1951 M.V. Akinshin finished the Tashkent Art School. For a year he taught drawing at school. In 1953 he moved to the town of Zaporozhye and since this time has worked as a professional artist.


The artist travels often and has visited many places of our country. Everywhere, he tries to see and reproduce characteristic features of the terrain and its coloring. At the same time, M.V. Akinshin emphasizes skillfully his creative projects and in doing so retains peculiarities of his pictorial vision. The artist is especially carried away with diversity of our life, with fast rhythms and dynamics of contemporaneous. Probably, because of this, the local landscape became the main genre of his creative work.


Among landscapes created by M.V. Akinshin from 1968 to 1970, it is necessary to mention the picture titled "A Northern Little Town - Velikiy Ustyug". Here the artist's beloved composition device is used -- high horizon. It gave the artist the opportunity to show the place from the bird's eye view. The attention is attracted to the originality of the old town.


However, the artist does not consistently repeat this skillfully found method. For example, in the other landscape "Evening", the same place is represented in a different way. Here the view is from below with sharp color contrasts of bright red and orange buildings against the blue sky background. The artist shows a close-up of several buildings in major optimistic combinations with the Old Russian architecture.


He gives much attention to the work on studies during yearly trips over towns of our country. His paintings are not simply enlarged studies, not merely a mechanical transfer of a motif but laborious work on assertions of his views, image bearing executions of reality filled with personal feelings, emotional experiences and thoughts.


The landscape "Summer" which is in Zaporozhye Art Museum should also be attributed to the best of his works. Having reached the creative maturity, Mikhail Vasilievich Akinshin peers into life fixedly and represents it more truthfully and deeply.


Akinshin, Mikhail Vasilievich  (1927-1980)


- Born in Kursk, studied at Tashkent Art College. Active in Zhaporozhe, Ukraine from 1953. Specialized     
   in landscapes.

- Since 1968 he has been a member of the USSR Union of Artists and takes an active part in regional and    
   republican exhibitions.

- Mikhail Akinshin is listed in "A Dictionary of Twentieth Century Russian and Soviet Paintings, 1900

   -1980", by Matthew Cullerne Brown.

J. Ken Spencer- New Workssport


The Pleasure of Viewing- "I have always enjoyed the statement that "Art exists so that we may say the unsayable".  I hope that a person viewing one of my paintings will not only find the painting interesting to look at, but will have a personal and emotional connection to the work of art.  I hope that when my painting is hung on the wall that it functions as a window that will carry the viewer to another time or place and allow them this experience for a lifetime."-   Artist Statement

Ken Spencer, "Prague Morning", 12'' x 24'', 2014, Oil on Board, $2,200
Ken Spencer, "Hues of Dusk", 12'' x 24'', 2014, Oil on Board, $2,200
Ken Spencer, "Cesky Krumlov", 30'' x 24'', 2014, Oil on Board, $3,400
Ken Spencer, "In the Shelter of the Hills", 12'' x 2", 2014, Oil on Board, $2,200
Ken Spencer, "Late Bloomer", 30'' x 40'', 2013, Oil on Canvas, $6,800
Ken Spencer, "Prague's Last Shadows", 30'' x 40'', 2013, Oil on Canvas, $5,800
J. Ken Spencer was born in Northern Utah. He began painting at the age of 14, studying with local artists and teachers. Spencer pursued his interest in art at Utah State University (Logan, Utah) where he gained fundamental knowledge in composition and form, he also developed skills such as draftsmanship and paint application while working from live models. He graduated in 1993 earning a Bachelor's Degree of Illustration.


After finishing his work at the university, he moved his family to the New York Metropolitan area where he worked as an illustrator for book publishers and magazines. It was at that time when Mr. Spencer began developing his fine art career by painting for exhibition in galleries and juried shows. He has exhibited his work in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming, and California. He has been included in such shows as the Oil Painters of America (2004 Award), Scottsdale Artist's School- Best and Brightest, The Harrisburg PA Art Association (winning Best of Show), and National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society (Monteverde Award). After living on the East Coast for seven years he moved his family back to the West where he now pursues his fine art career full time. He and his family reside in the small town of Blackfoot, Idaho.


Mr. Spencer is an avid plein air painter where he faces the challenges and joys of painting in the open air. "Painting on location gives me a chance to see new things, to see different light conditions and to regularly feel the creative juices. When I paint in plein air I see the subtle colors of nature, and with all the information out there, I can make the best design choices for the subject I am working on." Spencer also works on larger scale paintings in the studio.


Ken has traveled to France, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic to paint on location and gather reference to paint. He spent time in Paris, Brittany, Normandy, Florence, Venice, Tuscany and the Cinque Terre, Bavaria, Prague and Bohemia. These areas are rich in visual textures and imagery. He spent time painting the small villages, large cites, coastal regions, and the people of Europe. All of these trips have generated many wonderful images and strengthened his abilities as a painter. Mr. Spencer continues to travel and search out new locations.


Ken was featured in Southwest Art Magazine's "Artists to Watch" column of the December 2003 issue. An article was done about Ken and his work in the May/June (2006) issue of SkyWest Magazine and in November 2007 an article was published about Ken in the American Art Collector Magazine.


Figurative Honorable Mention, Oil Painters of America National Show 2013
Artist's Choice Award- Driggs Digs Plein Air 2013
Merit Award- Inspirational Art Association 2013
Honorable Mention for Artistic Excellence- Salon International 2012
Inspirational Art Association- 1st Place - Thanksgiving Point, UT 2012
Best of Show, Scottsdale Artists School - Best and Brightest show 2006
William Schneider Award of Excellence, Oil Painters of America National Exhibit 2004
Awarded Signature Member statis- Oil Painters of America 2004
Monteverde Award, National Oil & Acrylic Painters' Society 1999


Dunnegan Museum- Bolivar, MO
LDS Museum of Art and History- Salt Lake City, UT


Southwest Art Magazine- "Artists to Watch" December 2003
SkyWest Magazine- May/June 2006
American Art Collector- November 2007

From Fabergé to Avant-Gardeartweek


The current political tensions between Russia and the West may have put a strain on the UK-Russia Year of Culture, but you wouldn't know it from the amount of events scheduled for Russian Art Week. Throughout the year there has been a sharp increase in the number exhibitions devoted entirely to Russian art. Tate Modern recently held a landmark exhibition dedicated to the Russian modernist Kazimir Malevich and the Science Museum is in the final stages of organizing a major show focused on Russian space. This autumn London will once again see a vast array of Russian culture in galleries, theaters and concert halls. 


A market that defies expectations


This will be the fifth Russian Art Week in the capital, which has grown year on year. Back in November 2012, when Russian Art Week was launched, the sales total reached £44.4 million. Earlier this year in June 2014 Russian Art Week reached a staggering total of £64 million with the Russian avant-garde and classical painting fetching records sums.


The Russian art market has so far defied expectations and has not been too affected by financial sanctions imposed on rich Russians and their businesses. The Sotheby's June sale saw several Russian paintings sell for over a million pounds in the first few minutes of their evening sale, as collectors competed to acquire museum quality works with excellent provenance. 


A report just out by Deloitte and Art Tactic, "The Art and Finance Report 2014", concludes that the Russian art market rose 21% from 2012 to 2013. Sotheby's June 2014 sale raised £23.8m and Christie's £24m. The report states that while sales in Moscow are slow  due to sanctions and the weakening economy, international sales during the first half of 2014, "reveal renewed confidence in this market ... and this is likely to highlight the advantages of art as a tangible and movable asset for collectors."


If the market holds up, and it probably will, then prices will be strong for any of the classics, and they will continue to strengthen for the art of the Soviet period, which is the fastest-growing area of the market.  Since there is very little early 20th-century Russian art on the market, and even less Avant Garde, some of the leading collectors are now focusing on the Realist school of the 1950's and the Severe Style artists of the 1960s.


Major Auctions 


Note: Currently £1 British Pound = approximately $1.6 US Dollars


Highlights this autumn presented at auction continue to be of exceptional quality including Fabergé, nineteenth century landscapes, seascapes and contemporary art. Bonhams are presenting another work by Nicholas Roerich, Ecstasy from 1918, whilst further down Bond Street Sotheby's are offering a Kustodiev painting for £1.2-1.8 million in their important evening sale.




This November, Sotheby's London will present one of its strongest offerings of Russian paintings in recent years. Led by Konstantin Makovsky's final masterpiece, last publicly exhibited over 80 years ago, the sales will comprise a series of little-seen, rare works by giants of Russian Art: Boris Kustodiev, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Ivan Aivazovsky and Alexander Deineka. The paintings will be unveiled for the first time in London on Friday 21st November, ahead of the Evening Sale of Important Russian Art on 24th November 2014.


Further highlights of the season include Soviet artworks from the collection of the Union of Artists, led by Georgy Nissky's superb Soviet landscape En Route. The sale comes in the wake of the record-breaking sale of another work from the collection of the Union of Artists at Sotheby's in June, Nissky's Over the Snowy Fields, which established a new auction record for any post-war Soviet work of art (£1,762,500).


Alongside these traditional auctions of Russian art, Sotheby's has announce the second installment of 'Contemporary East', a sale dedicated to showcasing ground-breaking contemporary art from Russia, Ukraine, the Caucasus and the Baltics, often underrepresented on the international market.


The auctions follow hot on the heels of Sotheby's sales of Russian paintings in June 2014 which realized the highest total in this category for six years - £21.4 million.

Konstantin Makovsky, "Ivan Susanin", (1914) Oil on canvas, Estimate, £1,500,000-2,500,000

Makovsky's last great masterpiece: a monumental six-metre canvas celebrating the life of Russia's legendary hero Ivan Susanin. Last exhibited publicly in 1926, the painting was recently rediscovered in the home of an American private collector who acquired the work at Sotheby's New York in 1976 for $4,800. 

Ivan Aivazovsky, Venice (1882), Oil on canvas, Estimate £600,000-800,000
Boris Kustodiev, Bakhchisarai (1917), oil on canvas, Estimate £1,200,000-1,800,000

Without doubt the most impressive and exciting pre-revolutionary painting by Kustodiev to come to light in recent memory. Last exhibited over 50 years ago, Bakhchisarai has remained in the same family for three generations. 

Petrov-Vodkin Kuzma, "Bathing Boys" 1921, Oil on Canvas, Estimate £600,000-800,000

The most important painting by the artist ever to appear at auction, Bathing Boys comes from the artist's celebrated 'Samarkand series', painted during the summer of 1921 in Uzbekistan and regarded by many as the acme of his artistic career.

Georgy Nissky, "En Route", Oil on canvas, Estimate £500,000-700,000

Georgy Nissky's "En Route" comes to the sale directly from the Union of Artists. This superb large-scale painting begun in the late 1950's was published at least twice during the artist's lifetime. Few Soviet landscapes can compare in terms of provenance, quality or size. "En Route" follow's Nissky's "Over the Snowy Fields", from the same collection, which sold in June for £1,762,500, establishing a new auction record for any post-war Soviet work of art.


"En Route" captures the harsh beauty of the winter landscapes and of the heavy machines that conquer them. Locomotives cross the vast, sparsely populated country, passing the stations of provincial stations without stopping on their way from one of the big urban centres to the next. Nissky shows progress and industrialization in harmony with nature, and he saw beauty in the way human intervention changed the environment. A naïve view certainly, but not unusual for the 1950's and 1960's, when the Soviet Union was recovering from the war years and Stalinism. But even today, one cannot escape the romantic aspects of railway travelling in Russia, where it has preserved a certain spirit of adventure long lost in other places.

Alexander Deineka, "Evening at the Kolkhoz" (Tea on the Terrace)
1949, Oil on Canvas, Estimate £1,000,000-1,500,000

Alexander Deineka's "Evening at the Kolkhoz", painted during a period of intense collectivization, presents a Soviet 'brigade' at rest. Athletic, healthy and rosy- cheeked, this group is the product of a perfectly functioning state.

Nicholas Fechin,"Portrait of Duane von Vechten"
Estimate £900,000-2,000,000


MacDougall's Russian Art Auction


A number of important masterpieces lead MacDougall's Russian Art Auction, starting with Portrait of Duane von Vechten, painted by Nicholas Fechin at the peak of his fame (estimate £900,000-2,000,000). The sitter was the adopted daughter of a wealthy Chicago banker, Ralph Van Vechten, who became Fechin's early friend and patron after the artist had moved to the USA. For many years it was kept in the Van Vechten estate in Taos, New Mexico.


No less important is the provenance of another top lot, Reclining Nude by Mikhail Larionov (estimate £1,500,000-2,000,000), coming from the collection of Aleksandra Tomilina, the artist's second wife and muse. This rare painting belongs to the remarkable series of Larionov's life works of the 1900's. Executed after the artist's first trip to Paris, it is an important example of Postimpressionism in Russian art.






Mikhail Larionov, Reclining Nude, 1902. Estimate, £1,500,000-2,000,000

Collectors of works by Nicholas Roerich will be delighted at the inclusion of three unique paintings from the artist's different periods. The earliest is the astonishingly dynamic The Doomed City (estimate £800,000-1,200,000), from the collection of the famous writer Maxim Gorky. Roerich finished it just a few months before the outbreak of the First World War. The painting was perceived as a prophetic image which greatly impressed Maxim Gorky, the work's first owner, and the Strugatsky brothers, who borrowed the painting's title for their famous novel. 

Nicholas Roerich, "The Doomed City", Estimate £800,000-1,200,000
Nicholas Roerich, "The Treasure", Estimate £1,400,000-2,000,000

It took Roerich two years to paint The Treasure (estimate £1,400,000-2,000,000), and the work became the summation of the artist's spiritual and artistic quest during his sojourn in Karelia and Finland in the late 1910's. 

"The Treasure" was the summation of the artist's spiritual and artistic quest during his sojourn in Karelia and Finland in the late 1910's. The work is conceptual and carefully constructed, with every inch of paint being symbolic and representative of the Roerich's inner philosophies.
Nicholas Roerich "And We Continue Fishing", 1922, Estimate £1,000,000-1,500,000
 "And We Continue Fishing" belongs to the most significant of Roerich's pre-Himalayan series. The painting depicts the "catchers of the human souls" and shows an important transition in Roerich's own spiritual thinking, which later led him to Tibet. Only two works in the series of six are still in private hands, with the rest being in the Roerich Museum in Moscow.
Ivan Shishkin, "Pine Forest (Sukhostoi)"
1897, Estimate £1,200,000-1,800,000


This week's sale will also feature works by Ilya Repin, Boris Grigoriev and Vladimir Makovsky, from the important collection of a British gentleman whose love for all things Russian was ignited when he learned Russian during his military service. 


As has been a tradition at MacDougall's, a separate section of the auction will be devoted to the sale of icons and works of art. One of the most valuable lots there is a rare large carved nephrite model of an elephant by Fabergé, offered in the original box (estimate £250,000- 300,000). Speaking before the auction, Catherine MacDougall, Director, said "I am confident that Russian art will continue to be one of the most safe and secure investment options, as well as bringing emotional satisfaction, prompting the owners to seek out beauty in the world against all odds."


Bonhams: The Russian Sale


The works of Ivan Aivazovsky and Nicholas Roerich will be the main lots of  Bonhams auction.


One of the key lots will be Aivazovsky's "Arrival of the Columbus flotilla to the American coast" (1892), estimated at 700-900 thousand pounds.


This work of the great Armenian marine painter is from the series of the five works, devoted to the life of Columbus and was launched in 1888. The work is considered to be one of the most outstanding works of this series.

Ivan K. Aivazovsky, "Arrival of the Columbus flotilla to the American Coast"
1892, Oil on Canvas Estimate: £700,000-900,000

In 1892, celebrated artist Ivan Aivazovsky embarked on a trip to the United States for the first and only time in his life. Invited to represent fine art at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the seventy year old artist embraced the opportunity to showcase twenty of his finest paintings. His participation was well received and ensured the success of his contribution to the Columbian Exposition.


The present masterpiece was among the most celebrated works exhibited at the Exposition. Arrival of the Columbus flotilla to the American coast belongs to a series of monumental paintings on the life of Christopher Columbus that Aivazovsky began as early as 1888. It is among the grandest and most beautiful of the paintings in the series, depicting the final and most significant stage of Columbus' challenging journey to the New World: the moment at which the flotilla finally arrived on the shore of America.


Nearly a decade prior to beginning work on his Columbus series, Aivazovsky travelled to Genoa and Florence to research the explorer's discovery of the New World. Taking note of the master Karl Briullov's technique of extensive preparatory study of the scenery depicted in his legendary painting The Last Day of Pompeii, the artist closely studied Fifteenth Century ship design, as well as costumes and weapons from the era of Columbus, in preparation for his series of paintings on the subject of the eminent explorer. It is suggested that even as Aivazovsky embarked on his trip to Genoa and Florence in 1879, he was already dreaming of making a future trip to the United States.


Aivazovsky finally completed five large scale paintings on the life of Christopher Columbus in anticipation of the opportunity to exhibit them at the 1893 Columbia Exposition.


The work Columbus, encircled by his retinue disembarks at the shore in San Salvador Island' (originally the largest of these monumental works), was later cut into two parts and sold as two separate paintings by an international auction house in 2006 and 2008. When the second part of the painting was offered at auction, it was incorrectly given the title 'Arrival of the Columbus flotilla to the American coast.' It is evident that more accurately, this title as it appeared on Aivazovsky's handwritten list refers instead to the present painting, recently discovered in a private American collection.


At the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Arrival of the Columbus flotilla to the American coast was exhibited at the Russian Pavilion, a monumental architectural masterpiece in itself. Designed by I. Ropet to resemble traditional Russian wooden architecture, it was one of the largest and most impressive structures at the Exposition. Occupying nearly an acre of space, the Pavilion demonstrated a marvel of traditional carving technique and the fanciful decorativeness of Russian architecture. 'The Official Directory of the World's Columbian Exposition' described the Russian contribution to the Fine Arts pavilion as 'what is probably the best collection of Russian paintings ever shown at a foreign Exposition.' Aivazovsky's paintings were exhibited among the 'great works' of his contemporaries - Ilya Repin, Henrik Semiradsky and Konstantin Makovsky (Moses P. Handy, The Official Directory of the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago.


In addition to attending the 1893 Columbian Exposition, Aivazovsky planned to travel around the United States for approximately five or six months. On October 13, 1892, he arrived with his wife in New York, the first stop on his tour of the United States. The couple then visited San Francisco and Washington, D.C., among other cities.


Everywhere they travelled, the Artist was greeted with enthusiasm and great public interest. Unfortunately, the trip was cut short and Aivazovsky had to return to Russia before the Exposition opened. Nevertheless, the display of Aivazovsky's paintings at the Columbian Exposition became one of the most successful international exhibits of his life.

Nikolai K. Roerich, "The Offerings", 1910 20" X 29", Estimate £400,000 - 600,000


Christie's Important Russian Art Sale


Building on the record results of the Russian Art sale this past June, which established multiple new auction records and achieved over £24 million, Christie's London will offer a spectacular selection of Russian Paintings and Works of Art. With over 400 lots with estimates from £1,000 to £2,500,000, this sale presents exceptional works ranging from Avant-Garde masterpieces to exquisite Fabergé works with Imperial provenance. The sale is led by important pictures ranging from monumental views of the Russian landscape to exquisite early 20th century works on paper. 

Christie's headline lot is "Portrait of Aleksandr Tkhonov", by Yuri Annenkov (1880-1956), with a high estimate of £2.5-4.5 million the work represents the height of Russian avant-garde painting.
Yuri Annenkov, "Portrait of Aleksandr Tikhonov"
1922, Estimate £2.5-4.5 million

As a painter, graphic artist and designer for stage and screen, Yuri Annenkov (1889-1974) was both creator and chronicler of his time, living through the upheaval of the early 20th century and encountering some of the most influential artists of the age.


He began his career as a law student in St Petersburg but was attracted to the avant-garde movement and studied for a short time with Marc Chagall before moving to Paris in 1911. It was in the French capital that he found himself frequenting the same cafes and restaurants as such important painters as Cézanne, Braque and Picasso.


Like many of his Russian contemporaries who also worked in Paris during this dynamic period in art history, Annenkov was profoundly influenced by Parisian Cubism, with its geometric stylisation, emphasis on line and fractured planes. Following his debut at the Société des Artistes Indépendants in 1913, Annenkov returned to Russia filled with enthusiasm for the latest developments in art, and eager to explore his own personal style.


The portrait demonstrates Annenkov's ability to synthesise -isms into an original, harmonious whole.

Painted in 1922, Portrait of Aleksandr Tikhonov (1880-1956) was selected for exhibition at the 1924 XIVth International Biennale in Venice together with portraits of Trotsky and the journalist and historian Vyacheslav Polonskii.  


Annenkov was also the only Russian artist to complete a portrait gallery of the most powerful and influential political figures of the time, including Lenin and Trotsky, as well as the brightest literary and artistic talents, including Maxim Gorky and Boris Pasternak.

Painted in 1922, Portrait of Aleksandr Tikhonov (1880-1956) was selected for exhibition at the 1924 XIVth International Biennale in Venice together with portraits of Trotsky and the journalist and historian Vyacheslav Polonskii. 

Boris Grigoriev, "Rasseia", Oil on Canvas, 1920, 16¼" x 36¼", Estimate £600,000 - £900,000


Valentin Serov, "Portrait of Maria Zetlin", 1910 oil on board 41 7/8" x 28 7/8" Estimate £1,500,000 - £2,500,000


In addition to the auctions, a lively programme of cultural events will take place across London. Visual arts will be emphasized, with over fifteen exhibitions, ranging from fine Imperial objects, to contemporary Russian art. The headline exhibitions are at Gallery Elena Shchukina's two contemporary spaces. 'Lessons in Geometry' in Mayfair explores the works of Leonid Borisov. At Gallery Elena Shchukina's Knightsbridge space, 'Born in the USSR' takes us into the world of contemporary Russian designers.


Russian Art Week this year coincides with the Victoria & Albert Museum's new exhibition 'Russian Avant-Garde Theatre: War, Revolution and Design'. The show takes a look at the turbulent period in Russian history between 1913-33 through stage design. Over at Somerset House, the Courtauld Gallery will also be showing their Jack of Diamonds exhibition, dedicated to the influential avant-garde group. Other exhibitions include Pavel Brat at Erarta Galleries,Galyna Moskvitina at Hay Hill Gallery, and Dashi Namdokov at Halcyon Gallery.


Theatre & Music 


For theatre lovers Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard will be showing at The Young Vic, and Silent Planet, set in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, will be showing at Finborough Theatre. A range of talks, hosted by Russian Art and Culture, will be taking place throughout the week on themes such as contemporary Russian art, translating Russian literature, and curating Russian art in London. The renowned pianist Alexei Volodin will also be making an appearance at Queen Elizabeth Hall during the week. With such a varied programme on offer, Russian culture looks once again set to dominate the arts scene this autumn.


Read all the results in December's Newsletter. The next Russian Art Week will take place in May, 2015. 

Record New York Sales of US$ 2.2 Billion 


The art market flexed its muscle over the past week, with Christie's and Sotheby's selling more than $1.78 billion in modern and contemporary art at their marquee auctions in New York.  While there was weak  demand for some blue chip pieces including an Alberto Giacometti sculpture purchased for $100.97 million by billionaire Steve Cohen-, and the extensive use of guarantees, the 1% are still willing to drop a boatload of dollars for high quality works.
Alberto Giacometti, "Chariot", Inscribed with the signature A. Giacometti, Conceived in 1950 and cast in 1951-52, Sold for $101 million.

Sotheby's, sold over $1.06 billion in nine days of auctions including the Impressionist, Modern and Contemporary Art sales, as well as the Bunny Mellon Masterworks sale. The Alberto Giacometti sculpture "Chariot" sold for $101 million at Sotheby's Modern sale, the highest auction price paid for a work across all auctions houses in the past year. The contemporary evening sale at Christie's grossed $852.9 million across 75 lots, making it the most successful single contemporary art auction in history. Auction records were set for Cy Twombly, Ed Ruscha, Peter Doig and Martin Kippenberger.   At Phillips, sales were lower, totaling $52 million, with an emphasis on works by young artists such as Dahn Vo and Rashid Johnson. In total, the sales in New York totaled over $2 billion. 


When it comes to what collectors want, Sotheby's chief executive Bill Ruprecht said they want "blue blue blue," meaning blue-chip masterpieces by name-brand artists like Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol who trade widely and often enough at auction to represent this market's version of a Dow Jones Industrial Average. Seconds after Christie's sold Warhol's "Triple Elvis" for $82 million to a phone bidder on Wednesday, the house sold another Warhol portrait of actor Marlon Brando, "Four Marlons," for $69.6 million. Both Warhols are wall-power large-"Elvis" stands nearly 7-feet high-and convey the Pop artist's signature silk-screen style


Mark Rothko, who painted hundreds of rectangular abstracts, also fared well in these sales, including an untitled indigo version that Sotheby's sold for $40 million on Monday, twice its high estimate. The following day, the same house sold another Rothko, "No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange)," for $45 million. (Estimates, unlike final sale prices, don't include the auction houses' commissions.)


Bidding Frenzy at Christie's


But collectors also snapped up rarely seen works that stood out like gems, like a placemat-sized Jasper Johns "Flag" from 1983 that Sotheby's sold for $36 million, over its $20 million high estimate. Manet's 1881 "Spring" portrait of a woman walking in a park also sold well in part because the work was the last painting Manet ever submitted to Paris's taste-making Salon. The J. Paul Getty Museum paid $65.1 million for it at Christie's on Nov. 5.

The art market cycles through good years and bad like the broader financial markets-art values notoriously crashed in 1990 and plummeted briefly in 2009-but in recent seasons, art prices have only gone one direction: Up. Dealers say that is because an influx of newly wealthy international buyers, from Chinese tech entrepreneurs to Brazilian bankers to Middle Eastern oil barons, have entered the art marketplace over the past decade. Most arrive seeking to store their extra cash in any art they can find at auctions and art fairs; others hope to reap the social cachet that comes with owning world-class art. Investors and speculators have also joined in, seeking to profit by buying and selling artworks like stocks.


Once the historic domain of merchant princes and popes, fine art has become attainable for the modern-day millionaire-an asset or currency that merits a place alongside stocks in an investment portfolio. Around 76% of art buyers surveyed earlier this fall by ArtTactic, a London-based auction watchdog, and auditor Deloitte Luxembourg said they are "increasingly acquiring art and collectibles from an investment standpoint," compared with 53% two years ago.


Unlike Europeans, U.S. collectors have long been comfortable discussing art in investment-grade terms, and Americans now buy more art than anyone else on the planet-particularly the trophy pieces in these major auctions. Last year, art sales in the U.S. totaled more than $22 billion, up 25% from the year before. Moreover, buyers in the U.S. also took home around half the million-dollar artworks offered at auctions world-wide.


Top Lots at Sotheby's and Christie's Contemporary Art Sales 


Edouard Manet (1832-1883), "Le Printemps", 1881

The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is the new owner of Edouard Manet's Le Printemps (Springtime), sold at Christie's New York for$65,125,000 (£41,028,750 / €52,100,000) after an epic bidding battle between private and institutional clients from the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The price set a new auction record for any work by Manet, nearly doubling the artist's previous auction record of US$33.3 million, set in 2010. Of the 30 paintings that Manet exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1882 over the course of his lifetime, Le Printemps was the last remaining in private hands. Proceeds from its sale will benefit a private American foundation supporting environmental, public health and other charitable causes.



















Andy Warhol's 1963 silk-screen of a trio of overlapping, gun-toting images of Elvis Presley, 'Triple Elvis,' sold to an anonymous European telephone bidder for $82 million.


Seconds after selling 'Elvis,' Christie's sold Warhol's 1966 gridlike portrait of actor Marlon Brando, 'Four Marlons,' for $70 million.
Cy Twombly's untitled, lasso-like scribbles atop a blackboard-gray canvas sold for $70 million. 
Francis Bacon's 'Seated Figure,' sold for $45 million.
A mainland Chinese collector won this painting by Gerhard Richter, "Abstraktes Bild ", for $17 million.
At the Sotheby's auction Mark Rothko 's 1951 abstract, "No. 21 (Red, Brown, Black and Orange)"
sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $45 million.
Sotheby's reset Jasper Johns's auction record by selling a place mat-size version of the artist's signature U.S. 'Flag' for $36 million to an anonymous collector bidding by telephone.
Elsewhere in the sale, a mint-green portrait of Elizabeth Taylor by Warhol, ''iz #3 (Early Colored Liz)", sold for $31.5 million.
A cherry-red Gerhard Richter "Abstract Painting 747-4", sold for $21.4 million.
An untitled Robert Ryman from 1961 sold for $15 million at Sotheby's.
The Return of the Russian Ballball
The debutante ball started with a performance by The Russian Virtuosi of Europe chamber orchestra before the couples danced.

More than sixty debutantes from Russia, America, Malta and the UK turned out in their best outfits for the Russian debutante ball in London earlier this month reviving the tradition of the lavish Tsarist balls.


About 1,000 guests, who paid up to £790 a ticket for the prestigious event, were treated to performances from Russian opera singers and orchestras while debutantes danced the Waltz in impressive flowing gowns.

More than 100 debutantes took part in the Russian ball

The event aimed to recreate the lavish balls of Tsarist Russia marking the 'coming out' of young debutantes and giving them the opportunity to meet potential suitors. 


Sixty couples with Russian heritage opened the ball - including 25 from the UK who competed for the places earlier this year. Applicants had interviews where they were judged on their knowledge of foreign languages, literature, history and art.


Russian debutantes were required to be able to dance the waltz, while for the English attendees classes were held throughout the summer to ensure they perfected their steps for the main event.


Other debutantes at the ball came from America, Georgia, Malta and Estonia, and all danced the Waltz of the Flowers from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker. 


Venera Gimadieva, a soprano who sang at Glyndebourne Opera Festival this season and has previously appeared at the Proms, and Vasily Ladyuk, Russia's number one baritone, performed at the event held at Old Billingsgate Hall in London.


The Russian Virtuosi of Europe chamber orchestra, conducted by Felix Korobov, as well as the Vienna State Ballet also appeared at the ball.

Debutantes spent months preparing their dance moves and their dresses for the Russian ball.
A total of 120 debutantes from Russia, the UK, America, Estonia and Malta were at the event where tickets cost as much as £790. 

Among the attendees were Olga Kostyantynivna Kurylenko, a French actress, and Russian princess Olga Andreevna Romanoff, a descendant of the House of Romanov.


Dances included the Russian quadrille, Polonaise, Viennese waltz, cha-cha-cha and rumba. 


Debutante balls have been seen throughout history as a rite of passage for young upper class women.


The tradition of the debutante ball was first introduced by King George III in 1780 as Queen Charlotte's Ball to celebrate his wife's birthday. Up until 1958, young debutantes used to be presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace, until Prince Philip pointed out that it was 'bloody daft'.

A painting by Kardovsky Dmitry Nikolaevich of a ball At The Assembly Hall Of The Nobility in St Petersburg, to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Romanov family in 1913. Organizers tried to revive the tradition with last night's ball in Old Billingsgate Hall, London.
































Princess Olga Andreveena Romanoff, a descendant of the House of Romanov (left in blue) was at the event where attendees spent thousands on immaculate white dresses, as well as some more extravagant outfits (right) for the ball.

Girls taking part in the Russian ball had to be at least 16 and no older than 25. They also had to be single and either employed or enrolled in University. Men were required to be no older than 28.


Dr Elisabeth Smagin-Melloni, one of the organizers, said: 'My mission is to bring together people from different cultures and give them the opportunity to form lasting bonds through their appreciation and enjoyment of music and the performing arts.' 


Girls at the event stuck with the debutante tradition and wore white. But the event was not as strict as the Viennese Debutante Ball, held earlier this month, where all wore matching white gowns and lace gloves. This ball is one of the most highly anticipated in the social calendar in Rome.


The inaugural Russian ball was held at the Royal Albert Hall last December, where the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Prima Ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre, Evgenia Obraztsova, performed. 

Debutantes at the ball spent months perfecting their outfits and dance techniques.

contact    Thomas Kearns McCarthey Gallery  

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