Gorbachev portrait hits $144,000 at Gene Shaprio sale An acrylic on canvas portrait of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, done in 1989 by Russian artist Semyon Faibisovich, sold for $144,000 at an auction held April 17 by Gene Shapiro Auctions, LLC.
WORKS BY RUSSIANS AND OLD MASTERS BRING BIG MONEY AT GENE SHAPIRO SALE
(New York City, N.Y.) - A stylized and historical acrylic on canvas portrait of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, done in 1989 by the Russian artist Semyon Faibisovich (b. 1949) and originally intended as cover art for an issue of TIME magazine, soared to $144,000 at an auction of important Russian art and other works held April 17 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan.
The sale was conducted by Gene Shapiro Auctions, LLC, a fine arts auctioneer of European and American art and a leader in the burgeoning field of Russian art. The auction date was timed so it would fit nicely between Russian art sales held by Sotheby's (on April 15-16) and Christie's (on April 18), also in New York.
“I am very happy that we are now holding our sales in New York,” said Gene Shapiro. “Many major buyers from Russia and Europe came and participated in the auction. It was great to see them physically there in person instead of only on the phones.” He added, “What was really interesting to see was that many of the Old Masters works were purchased by Russian clients as well.”
The Faibisovich painting was the top lot of the more than 250 works that crossed the block. About 90% of the offerings were by Russian artists, but the auction also featured works by European Old Masters, as well as 19th-Century European paintings and genre scenes. Phone and absentee bidding, boosted by the international flavor of the sale, was very strong. Internet bidding on EbayLive was facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com.
When asked about his firm's success, Mr. Shapiro noted, “We have established ourselves as an attractive auction house, both for consignors and bidders, through a combination of aggressive international marketing, strong results and well-chosen and vetted artwork on offer. We will definitely stick with this strategy, and I invite consignors to contact us and take advantage of our strong results.”
Following are other results from the sale. All prices quoted include a 20% buyer's premium.
Nine paintings by the highly collected Russian seminal futurist David Burliuk (1882-1967) were offered, and eight of them changed hands. Two were standouts: one was a 32” x 26” oil on canvas executed in 1945 and titled “Flowers by the Sea” ($57,600); the other was a 20” x 24” oil on canvas titled “Australia” ($48,000). Both works sailed past their high estimates; all were signed by the artist.
A pair of works by Russian-born American artists did quite well. One was a 25-1/2” x 34-1/2” oil on canvas by Boris Anisfeld (1878-1973), signed lower right and titled “The Three Gypsies” ($74,400); the other was a 15-1/2” x 10-3/4” charcoal on paper by Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955), signed lower right ($19,200). Both works drew intense bidder interest from buyers in Russia and the U.S.
The sale's second top lot was a 70” x 70” oil on canvas executed