Russian Cottage in the Woods Sold in Sweden

Alexei Savrasov. «Cottage in the Woods». Oil on canvas. 84 x 61 cm. Estimate €330,000. Sold for €1,100,000. Stockholms Auktionsverk. Stockholm. March 15

The Stockholm Auction House (Stockholms Auktionsverk), the oldest auction house in the world, held its third sale of Russian art on March 15.

Over 400 lots, worth an estimated total of 5 million Euros, were put up for sale, including paintings by Aivazovsky, Bogoliubov, Levitan, Polenov, Shishkin, and Somov. The sale also included Imperial and Soviet porcelain, silver works of art, works by Faberge, bronzes and furniture.

Highlights of the sale featured Konstantin Somov’s, «The Lovers», (1920), which had a top estimate of 430,000 Euro, and which was being sold by a European royal household (sold for staggering 844,000 Euro; Alexei Bogoliubov’s, «The Avenue», (1867), originally coming from the collection of Tsar Alexander III in the Anichkov Palace, and which had a top estimate of 110,000 Euro (sold for 222,000 Euro).

There was also a masterpiece by the member of the Itinerants movement Vasiliy Maximov, «The Widower’s Morning», (1883). The painting had been thought to be lost, but had been discovered in a private Scandinavian collection, and had a top estimate of 60,000 Euro at the auction (sold for 420,000 Euro). The top-lot of the sale was Alexei Savrasov’s (1830–1897) «Cottage in the Woods», estimated at €330,000. The important painting was purchased by an anonymous buyer for stunning €1,100,000, over three times exceeding the pre-sale expectations of the experts.

Ivan Samarine, director of Russian Art Consultancy in London, was chief organizer of the auction. In the 1980s, he was part of the team led by John Stuart that began the Russian art sales at Sotheby’s.

Bell-push. Faberge Company. Moscow. 1899–1908. Silver. Height 10,0 cm. Estimate €49,500. Sold for €49,500. Stockholms Auktionsverk. Stockholm. March 15

Stockholm Auction House was also happy to announce that Mr Samarine would now work with the London-based expert Martyn Saunders-Rawlins, the longest serving and most experienced Russian auction expert in the world. Mr. Saunders-Rawlins’ move from London to Stockholm is yet another indication that the Swedish capital is gaining stature as a major centre of Russian art sales.

The strengthening of the Mr. Samarine’s team will allow Stockholm Auction House to hold Russian sales twice a year. The second sale in 2007 will be held in Stockholm on September 28. Sweden’s advantage is not only in its proximity to Russia, but also in the rich historical relations with its neighbor.

«It has been so exciting to look for Russian works of art in Scandinavia», said Mr. Samarine. «The closeness of Sweden to Russia, and their long historical relation, constantly throws up long forgotten masterpieces. Sweden is an extremely fertile hunting ground for Russian works of art, and unlike some of the London auctions, the material in our sale is mostly from private consignors not linked to the international art market. Many things have been owned by one family and are untouched since they were acquired in Russia between 1900 and 1930».

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