MacDougall's Sells $22.3 Million in Art as Russian Week Ends

MacDougall Arts Ltd., a London auction house specializing in Russian art, sold 10.85 million pounds ($22.3 million) of such artworks yesterday and today. They were the last of
five days of Russian art sales at three auction houses that grossed a total of 88.65 million pounds.

MacDougall’s total presale estimate was 10 million pounds to 14 million pounds. All 454 lots, most of which came from American and European collections, were 19th- and 20th-century paintings, with a large selection of Soviet-era non-conformism. MacDougall’s said 90 percent of the buyers were born in the former Soviet Union, and half are Moscow-based.

On Nov. 26 and 27 Sotheby’s sold 38.7 million pounds of Russian paintings, Orthodox icons, and Faberge works. On Nov. 28 Christie’s sold 39.1 million pounds of Russian art, including the Rothschild Faberge Egg for 8.98 million pounds, setting a record for the highest-grossing Russian sale ever.

“We’ve doubled the 6.5 million pounds sold at our June sale, and confirmed ourselves as the third-largest auction house on the Russian market,” said William MacDougall, general director at MacDougall’s, which was founded in 2004. “The Russian art market is a market where a specialty auction house can thrive.”

The top lot was Petr Konchalovsky’s “Malvy” (1921), a floral still life that sold for 1 million pounds, more than twice its top estimate and a record for the artist at auction. The top postwar lot was “Yalta Conference, Judgement of Paris,” (1985- 86), by the duo Komar and Melamid. It sold for 185,000 pounds, just under its high estimate of
200,000 pounds and also a record for them at auction.

Yalta Recast

The 3-by-1.5-meter canvas casts the Yalta Conference that divided Europe after World War II in the context of ancient Greek mythology. The painting shows Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt as semi-naked Greek goddesses with female breasts. Adolf Hitler is a muscular Paris.

Konstantin Makovsky’s “The Murder of False Dmitri” (1906), sold for 976,000 pounds, on a top estimate of 1 million pounds. The 2-by-3-meter canvas came from an American collection and depicts the riotous murder in 1606 of an impostor who claimed to be Czar Dmitri, son of Boris Godunov.

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Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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