Russian Auctions in London 4-6 June 2018 Statistical Summary
BY SIMON HEWITT (INTERNATIONAL EDITOR)
AFTER A HEALTHY rebound last November, Russian auction sales jagged down 41% this week to total £23.9m. A lack of frontline consignments – rather than the absence of several heavyweight Moscow buyers due to visa difficulties – was the principal cause.
|LOTS OFFERED||LOTS SOLD||% SOLD||TOTAL||SHARE|
With the exception of Bonhams, who almost doubled their meagre takings of last Winter, sales were down across the board: by £5.1m at Sotheby’s, £6.4m at Christie’s and £3.2m at MacDougall’s. Sotheby’s share of the market remained stable at 38%, but Christie’s share fell 6%. After a 6% rise last November, MacDougall’s were up a further 2% as they came within £200,000 of matching Christie’s total. The number of lots on offer was down 11% but the overall buy-in rate remained stable at 33%. The percentage of unsold lots plummeted at Bonhams but festered at MacDougall’s.
|Yakovlev||Dancer in Spanish Costume||£1,112,750||£400-600,000||Christie’s|
|Shukhayev||Russian Landscape (1922)||£418,000||£250-350,000||Sotheby’s|
|Savelev Bros||Imperial Triptych Icon (1894)||£406,000||£80-120,000||Sotheby’s|
|Nesterov||A Lonely Woman (1922)||£370,000||£200-300,000||Sotheby’s|
|Grigoriev||La Mère Agathe (1924)||£369,000||£250-350,000||Christie’s|
|Soutine||Madeleine Castaing (c.1937)||£359,000||£300-500,000||MacDougall’s|
|Deneika||Woman in Yellow Dress (1955)||£345,000||£300-500,000||MacDougall’s|
There were just two prices over £600,000, compared to ten last November. Sotheby’s landed five of the Top Ten prices, including the only work of art – but their Yakovlev was trumped by Christie’s. There was again no major Avant-Garde offering nor, with the failure of MacDougall’s £1m-rated Shishkin, did a single 19th century painting make the Top Ten. Bonhams’ top price was an up-on-estimate £237,000 for a 1930s Fechin Still Life with Daisies. Contemporary highlight was the 1963 Tselkov that Igor Tsukanov snaffled for £187,500 at Christie’s.
The market failed to capitalize on the upsurge discernible last November after three lean years. Bidding was lively for many lots in the ‘middle-market’ (£200,000-500,000); the chief problem was an absence of major consignments. Whether this reflected a political climate affected by the Skripal crisis and Russia’s presidential election is hard to say; it may be that vendors increasingly prefer to sell pre-Christmas rather than midsummer. Sotheby’s comfortably retained their pre-eminence but MacDougall’s, selling in new premises on The Mall, mounted a stern challenge to Christie’s – and even outsold them when it came to pictures. Bonhams, meanwhile, arrested their recent decline.
A FULL REPORT ON RUSSIAN ART WEEK BY SIMON HEWITT WILL BE ONLINE NEXT WEEK