RARE RUSSIAN MASTERPIECES, FRESH TO THE MARKET, TO BE SOLD BY BONHAMS

10:50, 26 May 2009
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Rare works by top Russian artists Konstantin Somov, Alexei Harlamoff and Nikolai Bogdanov-Bel’sky are just some of the lots at the Russian sale at Bonhams New Bond Street on Monday 8 June. One important piece set to go under the hammer is Repose at Sunset by Somov, dated 1922. The painting is characteristic of the artist’s “evening” compositions, using a setting sun to compose a symphony of colour on the plane of the canvas. This piece alone is expected to fetch between £500,000-£700,000.

Other highlights within the catalogue include portraits by Alexei Harlamoff – Young Girl Before a Blue Background and Young Girl with Grapes, one of which is expected to fetch up to £250,000; whilst a portrait of Mikhail Benois, by Konstantin Korovin is estimated to reach £260,000. Known predominantly as a landscape painter, this painting sees Korovin draw on the style of the popular portrait painter of the époque Kees van Dongen to depict his subject.

Canvases aside, a silver-gilt, jewelled and enamelled miniature icon made by Fabergé with an Imperial Warrant between 1908-1917 is a lot with a colourful history. The piece is inscribed in Cyrillic with partly effaced ink to read “Blessings from a father, to Elevferiy, born 27 June 1916, Tsarskoe Selo” and is thought to have been presented by Prince Yussupov to commemorate the birth of his illegitimate son. On the basis of inscribed photographs of the Prince dedicated to his illegitimate children, it seems that he maintained close contact with his second family throughout his years in exile. The miniature is expected to reach £90,000.

The theme of family plays an important part in Young Boy with a Balalaika by Nikolai Bogdanov-Bel’sky. The artist’s oeuvre is predominantly preoccupied with the theme of children, though until now the subject of this particular painting has remained anonymous. Claire Wrathall, in a piece written for Bonhams Magazine, researched the piece in more detail and identified the Young Boy with a Balalaika as likely to be Klaus Erkhardt, the artist’s stepson. The portrait is expected to achieve around £90,000 in the sale.

Evgenia Teslyuk, Head of the Russian Department at Bonhams comments that: “Our June sale offers a selection of wonderful paintings and works of art. We are confident they will appeal to our clients because of their quality and the fact that most of them come from private collections and have never been on the auction market before.”

Enquiries: Evgenia Teslyuk:

 

Tel: +44 20 7468 8338

Fax: +44 207 447 7434

Email: russian@bonhams.com

Web: www.bonhams.com/russian

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