A 1931 painting by Russian artist and philosopher Nikolai Roerich has become the most expensive Russian painting ever after it fetched £7.9 million (equivalent to approx. $12 million) at an auction at Bonham’s in London on Wednesday. It is a Madonna Laboris which is part of a series of works depicting the Great Female Deities of the World. Roerich was spiritually obsessed and it resulted in this masterpiece. For a long time, the painting was believed to have been lost until it was rediscovered in a private collection in the US. Yelena Harbick, director of Russian Art at Bonham’s considered it a significant work of art and was confident that it will attract the interest of international collectors.
The Market for Russian Art has Grown Rapidly in the Last Decade
The painting was definitely the highlight of the day at the auctions and was acquired by an unnamed telephone bidder for a record price. The dominant color in the painting is blue as it shows Virgin Mary inside the blue, glowing walls of heaven. She has been shown lowering her scarf in order to help souls climb in. The experts and critics consider it to be one of the most balanced and harmonious compositions. The market for the Russian art has been boosted significantly by the growth in the Russian economy and the emergence of millionaires who would like to invest in art. There are special events, dedicated to Russian art, held by all the major auction houses. The growth has been phenomenal in the last decade.
Low Profile Artists are Also Able to Cross the Million Pound Mark
The recent trend has seen a boom in modern and contemporary Russian art. In another auction held by Christie’s ‘Still Life with Fruit’, by avant-garde artist Ilya Mashkov fetched as much as £4.7 million which was a record for the artist. More and more significant works have been making their way to auction due to increased demand. High net worth individuals are looking for a good alternative investment opportunity due to the Eurozone crisis. The trend is most likely to grow as more and more money will be chasing a limited supply of fine art work. Even artist who had a low profile in Western Europe are also doing well in auctions and fetching more than the pre sales estimates and several of them are crossing the million pound mark.