London the global centre for Russian art


Boris Grigoriev (1886-1939), Portrait of Selma Alexander, to be auctioned at MacDougalls, estimate 200,000-300,000 GBP

London is the global capital for the Russian art market and its Russian auction market is no duopoly. Although Sotheby’s are clear overall market leaders, and Christie’s dominate the field of Fabergé and Works of Art, MacDougall’s and Bonhams together account for nearly one-third of all sales, according to first ever in-depth survey of London’s Russian art market, released today.

The report, published by Russian Art & Culture, a leading platform for Russian art and cultural events, has been released to coincide with the beginning of London’s Russian Art Week, a bi-annual event founded in 2012 by Russian Art & Culture editor Theodora Clarke.

Significant findings of the report include:

–              The last three Russian Weeks each yielded over £50m, a feat last achieved in summer 2008.

–              All four firms sold individual lots for over £1m in both summer 2013 and summer 2014, the last time this happened was summer 2008.

–              The most recent Russian Week (Summer 2014) generated an unprecedented number of prices over £1m – 18 in all.

–              In all, 98 £1m+ prices were achieved between 2007-14 – 91 of them for paintings, which account for 75% of all sales.

–              Unlike the global auction market, the market in Russian Post-War & Contemporary Art is almost negligible.

–              Although auction firms are now offering fewer lots during Russian Week, Works of Art (led by Fabergé and items of imperial provenance) are in increased supply (nearly 45% of all lots now offered).

–              The Icon market appears in sharp decline, with supply and sales plummeting over the last couple of years.

–              London has consolidated its status as the global capital of the Russian Art Market to the detriment of New York – exemplified by the burgeoning important of Russian Art Week as a cultural event of major international importance.

“The Russian art market is enormously lucrative, and since Russian Art & Culture first started publishing the Russian Art Week guide, in November 2012, sales totals have increased year on year,” said Clarke. “Today we are publishing an important report by Simon Hewitt where he tracks the developments in the market by the four leading auction houses in London and identifies significant trends. There is evidence that buyers’ confidence has remained high, despite the current international political difficulties between Russia and the UK.”

For further information or to obtain a copy of the report, please contact: [email protected]