News-Antique.com - Apr 21,2009 - New York -- Sotheby’s spring sale of Russian Art in New York will take place on April 22, 2009, and include a wide variety of modern and contemporary Russian painting and Works of Art featuring an exceptional selection of Icons and decorative items with Imperial lineage. The pre-sale exhibition will open to the public on April 17.
19th and Early 20th Century Painting
Among the fine art highlights are works by 19t h and early 20t h century masters such as Ivan Aivazovsky, Nicholas Roerich, Alexandre Iacovleff, Vasili Polenov and David Burliuk, among many others. Ivan Aivazovsky is represented by his Columbus Sailing from Palos (est. $1/1.5 million*, seen on page 2), one of his colossal canvases depicting the life of Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America, included among the works he brought when he journeyed to America to represent Russian artists at the World’s Fair in 1893. Sotheby’s previously sold two other works from this series in 2006 and 2008, but Aivazovsky’s stunning portrayal of Columbus’ departure from Palos, Spain, on August 2, 1492, is among the finest of such compositions to ever appear at auction. Also offered for sale is Aivazovsky’s Ship in a Stormy Sea Off the Coast (est. $650/750,000).
Boris Grigoriev painted Portrait of a Young Girl with Toys (est. $700/900,000, seen on page 1) in 1920, at the outset of a period that was extremely productive for the artist. Above all, the beginning of the decade marked his introduction to the world outside of Russia; he spent extensive time in Germany, France, and the U.S. At once both conservative and evolutionary, his canvases reflected both German Expressionist and French post-Impressionist influences, while his reliance on contour line and elasticity has been linked to icon and Renaissance painting. This painting has been held privately since 1920 when it was acquired directly from the artist. Another notable Grigoriev, Preparing Crepes: A Pair (est. $500/700,000) was a large portrait the artist gave as a gift to Giovanni Pramaggiore, the owner of Giovanni’s, a popular Manhattan restaurant frequented by Russian émigrés. The portrait depicted Giovanni preparing Crepes Suzette, a ritual that Grigoriev often visited the restaurant to witness. He later divided the single canvas into two unique masterpieces at the subject’s request. The larger of the two compositions hung in the restaurant until its close in 1980, and arrive here fresh to the auction market from the subject’s descendents.
The sale also includes a large selection of works by Nicholas Roerich, highlighted by the cover lot, St.Mercurius of Smolensk (est. $500/700,000, at right on page 1), picturing the courageous soldier and holy martyr of Russian Orthodox tradition who was, as prophesied, beheaded in battle while defending Smolensk from the Mongol army. Also on offer is Roerich’s Mystery, (est. $300/500,000, seen at left), which has been extensively throughout the U.S., and Monhegan, Maine (Hope) from the Series Ocean, 1922 (est. $250/350,000 seen at right). In 1922, Roerih traveled to Monhegan, a secluded island off the coast of Maine, which