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MacDougall's Announces Top Lots of Its Russian Art Auctions to Be Held in December

Ivan Aivazovsky, Venetian Lagoon by Night, 1842, oil on canvas, 68 by 100.5 cm, 800,000-1,200,000 GPB.

LONDON.- MacDougall's Russian Art Auctions in London on 1-2 December 2010 will present a superb selection of significant works by important Russian artists from the 19th and 20th centuries, including Natalia Goncharova, Robert Falk, Petr Konchalovsky, Nicholas Roerich, Ilya Repin, Ivan Shishkin and Ivan Aivazovsky. In total the three sales consist of over 600 lots, with a total estimate of over £17 million. Catherine MacDougall, Director, comments: “I believe the current auctions represent Russian art truly well: from Icons to Classic masterpieces of Aivazovsky and Shishkin to avant-garde artist Natalia Goncharova, to Works on Paper to Contemporary Russian art – all the periods and styles are represented and there is something for every collector’s taste.”

MacDougall's Russian Classic and Contemporary Art Auction includes a very strong offering of rare 19th century masterpieces. Returning Home (est. £750,000–1,200,000) is an exceptional painting by Ilya Repin, depicting the artist’s return to his parents’ house, thirteen years after he had left it for St Petersburg to study at the Imperial Academy of Arts. The painting demonstrates the artist’s gift for conveying different states of emotions and psychological nuances, and occupies without doubt an important place in the artist’s oeuvre.

Painted in 1860, View of Valaam Island, Kukko (est. £900,000–1,200,000) is Ivan Shishkin’s first true masterpiece of his highly successful career as a landscape artist. Shishkin exhibited two versions of the composition at the Imperial Academy of Arts exhibition in 1860, for which he was awarded the large gold medal. The smaller of these two paintings is now at the State Russian Museum in St Petersburg, while the larger version will be offered for auction on 2 December.

The sale also features two particularly fine paintings by seascape painter Ivan Aivazovsky, Venetian Lagoon by Night (est. £800,000–1,200,000) and Moonlit Night on the Dnieper (est. £500,000–700,000). Like no other artist, Aivazovsky excelled in rendering the effects of moonlight on water, and both pictures are prime examples of his skills.

In response to the strong demand for early 20th century works, the sale also includes some exceptional paintings by representatives of the Russian avant-garde. Among the highlights is Natalia Goncharova’s compelling Espagnole in White (est. £500,000-700,000), one of the best examples from a series depicting Spanish dancers. Goncharova had first visited Spain in 1916, while working on costume designs for Sergei Diaghilev. She was immediately fascinated by Spanish costumes and started to incorporate the theme of Spanish dancers into her work. Another important variation on this theme is in the collection of Italian actress Sophia Loren.

Three works by Robert Falk are led by Still Life with Clover (est. £600,000–900,000), a rare painting from the artist's early Jack of Diamonds period. Falk was a founding member of this important artistic society of the early Russian avant-garde, uniting artists influenced by the work of Cézanne, the Fauves, the Cubists as well as Russian folk art. On the reverse of the canvas is a fragment of an earlier composition, showing a lady in a hat. In 1928, Falk left Soviet Russia for France, where he worked until his return ten years later, in 1938. The auction includes two important works from the artist's French period. Falk painted both Village Landscape with Tall Trees (est. £250,000–300,000) and Carousel. Brittany (est. £450,000–500,000) in 1934, when he spent the summer in Brittany together with his son Valery.

The sale also includes a picture by Petr Konchalovsky, another founding member of the Jack of Diamonds group. His Bathing at Midday (est. £500,000–700,000) belongs to the famous series of landscapes painted at the Abramtsevo estate in the early 1920s. In this characteristic work, the artist developed the iconic theme of bathing women, while depicting at the same time a beautiful light-flooded landscape.

Having sold several important works by Nicholas Roerich in the past, MacDougall's is pleased to announce another extraordinary picture by this outstanding artist. Dated 1927, Commands of the Teacher (est. £300,000–400,000) is one of the paintings that Nicholas Roerich completed while staying in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, where he was preparing for an expedition to Tibet. Before leaving Ulan Bator, Roerich sent his works to New York, and in October 1927, the New York Times Mid-week Pictorial had a full page report on their arrival with several reproductions, including Commands of the Teacher.

Following the success of its inaugural Russian Works on Paper Auction held in June 2010, MacDougall’s is delighted to announce its second sale comprising over 200 lots of drawings and watercolours both from the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the works on offer is Nubian with a Waterpipe (est. £40,000–60,000) a particularly refined watercolour by Mikhail Zichy. Hungarian by birth, Zichy spent a large part of his life in St Petersburg, where he was court painter to the Russian Tsars. Other highlights from the sale include works by Pavel Tchelitchew, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Boris Kustodiev as well as Zinaida Serebriakova.

On 2 December, MacDougall will hold its Russian Icons and Works of Art Auction consisting of over 150 lots. Among the most important pieces on offer is a magnificent pair of triptych folds of the Mother of God “It is Truly Meet” (est. £115,000–150,000) as well as an important 17th century icon of the Mother of God Hodegetria with the Archangels Michael and Gabriel (est. £100,000–150,000).

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