Even before the latest Russian art sales in London started this week, the enormous sums of money being spent in this sector became evident when Sotheby’s announced the private sale of their two star lots in advance of their auctions.
Due to be offered on November 25, both Robert Falk's (1886-1958) Man in a Bowler Hat and Petr Konchalovsky's (1876-1956) Family Portrait in the Artist's Studio sold for sums in excess of their top estimates to an 'important private Russian collector'.
While the price of the Robert Falk was not disclosed (it had been estimated at £2.5m-3.5m), the sum for the Petr Konchalovsky was £4,674,500.
Sotheby's raised a further £16.1m hammer from their four Russian sales across the week.
Christie's meanwhile generated £14.1m from their single sale with the highest price coming for The Bathers by Ilya Mashkov (1881-1944) that overshot its £600,000-800,000 estimate and was knocked down at £3.6m to a private buyer.
The major sums continued through the week as MacDougalls' raised £6.77m hammer from their sale. Their auction on November 27 was led by Nikolai Dubovskoy's (1859-1918) Blagovest, a view of the monastery in Sergiev Posad, near Moscow that made an artist's record when it sold at £600,000. William MacDougall said afterwards: "The market continues to be exceptionally strong, with good works in all sectors - from 19th century to Soviet art - achieving record prices."
Bonhams' Russian sale on the same day made £4.83m and the top lot here was Kanchenjunga, a view of the Himalayan mountains by Nikolai Roerich (1874-1947) which was knocked down at £1.1m.
Excluding the private sales at Sotheby's, the hammer total for the week was £41.77m. This compared to £42.66m seen for the Russian art sales in London in June and £36.9m for the equivalent series last November.