MacDougall’s Russian Art live auction, 15 October 2020, offers an exquisite collection of Russian art, from icons to contemporary. MacDougall’s have proven with the success of their May 2020 auction that there is still a great interest in high quality Russian paintings with attractive estimates. The full catalogue is now available online.

The sale is led by two masterpieces by Ivan Shishkin: the early Summer Afternoon by the River of 1870, and the late Pine Forest from 1892 (each estimated at £400,000–600,000). These encompass the whole range of the artist’s œuvre, splendidly representing Shishkin’s artistic development.

Ivan Shishkin. “The Early Summer Afternoon by the River”, 1870, estimated at £400,000–600,000.

Summer Afternoon by the River is one of the artist’s comparatively few genre landscapes. By portraying “genteel folk”, giving the outdoor images a refined, “gallant” tone, Shishkin depicted idyllic Russian life. On the other hand, in Pine Forest we recognise the celebrated mature Shishkin in his staple depiction of nature, so detailed and profound. Such works are of museum standard and are rare gems to appear on the market.

Ivan Shishkin, “Pine Forest”, 1892. Estimated at £400,000–600,000.

Another key work of the sale is Pechory – Entrance to the Monastery by Nicholas Roerich (estimate £400,000–600,000), which belongs to the artist’s “Architectural” series. With its acclaimed exhibition history (the painting has been displayed at the World’s Fair in Saint Louis USA in 1904), it is particularly interesting for the collectors of the Roerich’s oeuvre.

Lot 36. ROERICH, NICHOLAS, Pechory Monastery. Internal Exit from the Old Belfry. 400,000–600,000 GBP.

Other profound 19th and 20th century Russian masters in the sale include Korovin, Kustodiev, Kisling and many others. Collectors of contemporary art will be excited to see works by important artists such as Lanskoy, Tselkov, Shvartsman and Zhilinsky.

The contemporary art collection features exceptional works of museum quality with excellent provenance. Lotus by Mikhail Shvartsman (estimate £55,000–70,000) and Man with a Slain Dog by Dmitry Zhilinsky (estimate £80,000–120,000), were both exhibited at the international exhibition Forbidden Art: The Postwar Russian Avant-Garde and published in various volumes.

Lot 210. SHVARTSMAN, MIKHAIL (1926–1997). “Lotus”, signed, also further signed, titled and dated 1977 on the reverse. Oil on canvas, laid on wood, 100 by 75 cm. 55,000–70,000 GBP

Another star of the sale is a monumental work Baroque Interior by Valery Koshlyakov (estimate £60,000-90,000), depicting the inside of a Venetian palazzo. This lot has excellent exhibition and publication history, having been presented in Stuttgart and Moscow. Baroque Interior comes from a famous series of palace interiors, the works of which have been displayed and praised around the world.