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Kustodeiv and Vasnetsov masterpieces lead MacDougall's Russian Art Auction
Lot 12. Boris Kustodiev, Bakhchisarai, 1917. Estimate: 1,200,000–1,800,000 GBP.

LONDON.- MacDougall’s 5 June 2019 auction offers 309 lots with the total estimate of £8.5 million including museum-quality works by Russia's most distinguished artists such as Kustodiev, Vasnetzov, Shishkin, Yakovlev and many others. The pre-auction exhibition will open in London on Saturday, 1 June.

Boris Kustodiev’s magnificent Bakhchisarai with an estimate of £1,200,000–1,800,000 leads the sale. It's an exceptionally rare and impressive Crimean view from 1917. This monumental work depicting a Tatar bazar remains the artist's only large-scale homage to an Oriental theme. The work was exhibited at the World of Art Exhibition in 1918 and the artist’s retrospective in 1959.

Viktor Vasnetsov’s Young Dreams. Tsesarvich, (estimate £650,000–900,000 is an iconic portrait of Dmitry, the last Tsarevich from the Rurik dynasty. It is reminiscent of Mikhail Nesterov’s St Sergius of Radonezh cycle that inspired the Russian Symbolist movement. Painted in 1918 after the upheavals of the First World War and the Bolshevik Revolution in Young Dreams, Tsesarvich the artist reflects on the country’s past and future. Murder of Dmitry Rurik echoes the fate of Nicolas II and his young son, executed in 1918. There was also a personal reason for this work - the artist's own son was involved with the White army and had to escape abroad at that time; the theme of a lost child is intimately and powerfully present in the portrait of the Tsesarevich. This masterpiece was exhibited at the Union of Russian Artists Exhibition in Moscow in 1923 and at the Russian Art Exhibition in New York in 1924. It is offered for auction for the first time.

Following MacDougall’s record-breaking $2m sale of Konchalovsky's The Game of Billiards last November, the artist is presented in the June sale with a group of five exceptional works from different stages of his artistic career. A rare Portrait of the Artist’s Wife, Olga Vasilievna Konchalovskaya, (estimate £200,000–300,000) was painted in the early 1900s when Konchalovsky was still looking for artistic identity while Santi Apostoli, Venezia (estimate £300,000–500,000), the dynamic cityscape was painted by the mature master during his 1924 Venice Biennale trip. The magnificent genre scene Woodcutters (estimate £100,000–200,000) is a 1930s reflection on human life and body.

The auction features a rare Portrait of Count Nikita Ivanovich Panin by Fedor Rokotov (estimate £200,000–300,000). Nikita Ivanovich Panin, a distinguished 18th Russian statesman and diplomat, member of Catherine II’s innermost circle, is depicted with the Order of St Andrew, the highest order of the Russian Empire. The portrait could have been painted by Rokotov in 1766–1767, while working on the Empress’s coronation portraits intended for Russian embassies abroad. In addition to its exceptional artistic merit, the work has splendid provenance. It comes from the collection of Sigvard Skov, Director of the Danish Military Museum, who acquired it in 1955 from Otto Andrup, director of the Danish Museum of National History. Andrup himself may have obtained the portrait directly from the Danish royal family in 1912.

Alexander Yakovlev and Georges Annenkov, two very sought-after Russian artists with record-breaking prices for graphic works, are presented in the 5 June sale with outstanding examples from their oeuvre. Yakovlev’s remarkable Portrait of a Chinese Man (estimate £150,000–200,000), measuring 1.5 m in height, is one of his very rare life-size works. This picture is a superb example of his precise and swiftly executed portraits from the first Far Eastern trip in 1917–1919, and its appearance on the market is particularly exciting.

Unlike Yakovlev’s exotic image, Portrait of Alexander Bozheryanov by Annenkov (estimate £250,000–400,000) is rooted in the revolutionary Russia. The work comes from the celebrated Portraits series created in Petrograd in 1921. The work’s appearance on the market will be of great interest to collectors, as Annenkov’s artistic output from the Russian period as well as the artist’s best-known cycle of works on paper is extremely rare.

The Russian Works of Art section will include several outstanding masterpieces. The highlights include an unusually large collection of over 60 dessert plates from the dowry service of Grand Duchess Alexandra Nikolaevna (1825–1844) for her wedding in 1844 to Prince Frederick William of Hesse Kassel (1820–1884) and which remained in the collection of Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel after Alexandra’s death (estimates from £2,000–3,000 to £10,000–15,000). Amongst other highlights from this section is a rare Imperial Porcelain Inkwell which was gifted to Empress Alexandra for Easter in 1836.

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