Setting a major house record at South London auctioneers Rosebery’s, this oil painting by Léon Bakst (1866-1924) drew eight interested parties at the West Norwood saleroom last week.
Estimated at £30,000-50,000,
Bathers on the Lido, Venice saw bidding from the UK,
Europe, America and Russia before selling to a buyer in the room at
The auctioneers said the buyer was "an
international art collector".
The 3ft 1in x 4ft 8in (93cm x 1.43m)
oil on canvas came from the deceased estate of a private collector
and had last appeared on the open market at Sotheby's in June 1975
where it sold for £4500.
It dated from c.1910-12 when the
Russian artist (who was also a set and costume designer with the
Ballets Russes) spent his summers in Venice with the great
choreographer and impresario Sergei Diaghilev and the famous dancer
Vaslav Nijinsky, both of whom are believed to be depicted here -
the dark-haired central figure in white and the figure in black
swimming trunks respectively.
Although unsigned, the picture had a
label for the collection of Madame Barsacq of Paris, an heir of
It was, in fact, one of four paintings
produced by the artist in Venice which were shown at The Fine Art
Society in London in 1912, the first time Bakst's works were
exhibited in England.
Two of these works have the same title
as the current picture, while the other was a full-length study
entitled Nijinsky on the beach at the Lido.
When the hammer finally came down
after a tense bidding battle there was a round of applause in the
saleroom. The price exceeded the £105,000 seen at Rosebery's for an
English delft portrait charger of Charles II which sold in December
2011 and was the previous house record.
The buyer's premium was