Results of an auction of photography and antiques held on 2 June 2012


The two auctions held by AHR – of photographs and antiques – brought in a total sum of 37 million rubles. Of the 345 lots, 125 were sold, which was 36% of the total number of lots that were put up for sale at the two auctions.

The auction of photographic works was the first in Russian auction practice. Of the 88 lots, 55 were sold, i.e. 62% of the total number of photographs that were put up for auction. The total sum of the sale came to 5.5 million rubles.

The highest-priced work sold at the photograph auction was Alexander Rodchenko’s “Yard” (1928), which was sold for 460,000 rubles, with an estimate of 450,000 – 600,000 rubles.
There was heated bidding for “Dance of the Little Swans” by Valery Gende-Rote (1961). The bidding took place in 14 steps, and in the end the winner bought the photo for 100,000 rubles, exceeding the upper estimate (60,000 rubles).
There was expected interest from the recognized masterpieces by Max Alpert, “Combat” (1942) and Dmitry Valtermants “Light Keeper (1945), which were sold within their estimates of 190,000 and 180,000 rubles respectively.

The section of post-war photography was successful, represented by works of Yakov Ryumkin and Olga Lander.

All three works by the classic of Petersburg photography Boris Smelov were sold at the auction, and also a number of the photographs by Vladimir Fridkes and Andrei Chezhin put up for auction. All the works were sold at the lower estimate, apart from “Still Life with sausage and clock” by Boris Smelov, which was sold for 170,000 rubles (with an estimate of 170,000 – 200,000).At the fourth antiques auction that was held later, 70 out of 261 lots were sold. One of the lots, three etchings by Yemelyan Korneev (1780-1839), was removed before the start of the auction at the request of the management of the Pavlovsk Museum Sanctuary.
The most expensive lots among the paintings were A.N. Schilder’s “After the Rain. Woman by the Window”, and A.V. Makovsky’s work “After the Rain”. The canvas by Schilder, dating from 1917, was purchased slightly above the estimate, for 4,300,000 rubles. Makovsky’s painting (1910) was also sold above the estimate, for 2,000,00 rubles. Stable interest was shown in Russian painting of the 19th century. A number of works were sold at the higher estimate, or considerably above the estimate. V.D. Orlovsky’s “Landscape” (late 19th-early 20th century) was sold at the higher estimate of 550,000 rubles. S.F. Fyodorov’s “Forest River” (late 19th-early 20th century) was sold for 500,000 rubles.

There was expected interest in the graphic works, especially the works by N.E. Charushin and Yu.V. Vasnetsov. The auto-lithograph by N.E. Charushin “Emu” was sold for twice the estimate, at a price of 45,000 rubles.

The highest-priced icon was “Jesus Christ blesses the Children” (2nd half of 19th century), sold for 500,000 rubles.

In the decorative and applied art, the greatest interest was shown in the selection of agitprop porcelain. Plates with portraits of S. Kirov and V.I. Lenin were sold considerably higher than the estimate. The first was sold for 100,000 and the second for 60,000 rubles. The old books section also drew considerable interest. Of the 8 books on sale, 6 were bought. There was a bidding war for the rare edition “Liebe” with erotic illustrations by M.A. Zichi. The book was eventually sold for 300,000 rubles.

A distinguishing feature of the jewelry section was the active involvement of telephone and Internet participants. The highest-priced lot in this section was the bracelet from “Tiffany & Co”, sold for 2,350,000 rubles.

In summing up the results of the auction, the general director of the Auction House of the Russian Federation Andrei Stepanenko noted:
“The total result of the two auctions was the sale of 36% of the lots. We are very glad that our lots have once more drawn interest from museums. This time, at the request of the Pavlovsk Museum Sanctuary, we removed three etchings by Yemelyan Korneev from the auction. This shows that we are on the right track in selecting lots for the auctions.
The favorite of the auctions was the photography section, which confirmed the undoubted interest of potential collectors in this section of the art market. We were able to sell 62% of the total number of lots. I think that this is a very good result both for Russian auctions in general and for the first auction of photographs in Russia. The auction showed the price preferences of collectors for works costing up to 300,000 rubles. And undoubtedly, the greatest interest was shown in works by Russian masters.
The results of the auction session are more modest this time. Perhaps this reflected the general unstable situation on financial markets and the deficit of cash funds in the country. However, the final results are still being summed up, as we expect post-auction sales. We have another two months from the moment the auction was held for this. If we are to discuss trends, the greatest interest, as was expected, was shown in items in the middle price category.
The next auctions of antiques and photographs will be held in the second half of October 2012.”