Collectors' Corner: Russian art comes in from the cold
Russia's super-rich elite are digging deep to buy all kinds of art from the motherland
Saturday 03 June 2006
The new-found wealth of Russia's elite is having a major impact on the international market for the country's cultural riches. Sotheby's has been holding dedicated Russian art sales since 1985, but the market has been booming in recent times.
"The political and economic changes in Russia over the last five to 10 years are driving the market," explains Jo Vickery, head of the Sotheby's Russian department. "The new clients are primarily wealthy Russians from Moscow and to some extent the Ukraine - they are wealthy and after a steady climb in prices, the cost of art has taken off in the last three years."
Martyn Saunders-Rawlins, a Bonhams consultant, points out that Russian art has a long and proud history. "There's always been a huge interest in art - even in the Soviet era there were people collecting, albeit clandestinely," he says. "However, it's only recently that Russian collectors have been able to actively compete against each other in the international market." That's had a major impact, Saunders-Rawlins says. "A work by Boris Kustodiev sold at another auction house for around £20,000 20 years ago, and was sold again last year for £1.2m."
Collectors are becoming more sophisticated and are starting to look at other areas of Russian collectables. "As the market has developed and matured, it has become so enormous that we are now splitting it into separate sales," adds Vickery.
Sotheby's held its Russian works of art sale this week, and also ran a separate sale of Russian books, manuscripts, maps and photographs. It also plans an inaugural modern and contemporary russian art sale in October.
"We will see areas such as Russian contemporary grow in importance," says Vickery. "If you look at the Chinese and Indian markets, they now have a strong contemporary side and it's inevitable that interest in contemporary Russian work will grow. There are a number of fantastic contemporary artists out there and the artists and collectors just need to become more used to selling and buying at auction."
Soviet porcelain is another area where prices are moving fast, although it remains accessible to less monied collectors. "Much of it was propaganda tools and it's become collectable, especially the good quality and well designed items from top artists such as Malevich," says Vickery.
Saunders-Rawlins also thinks porcelain is on the up. "We're already seeing 1920s and 30s post-Revolution porcelain rising and I think we will see a greater interest in collecting porcelain from the 1940s to 50s," he says. "Lomonosov State Porcelain animals could well rise substantially. They were very cheap a few years ago, but prices are going up and those which can be attributed to known artists or painters will do particularly well." He also believes that the market in religious iconography will grow, and highlights interest in Soviet propaganda posters.
The top end of the art market is out of the reach of most people, though with prices having risen so high, it's arguably not a great time to be getting in. However, areas such as porcelain, contemporary art, photographs and even books represent more affordable possibilities for would-be collectors.
"I feel optimistic about the market in general," says Vickery. "Russia is a nation of collectors - they value their art and there will always be collectors as long as the economic and political situation is stable."
Vickery also points to the growing Russian interest in other areas of world art. "There's a huge cachet to owning a painting in your own home that previously could only be viewed in a museum," she says.
* Sotheby's: 020-7293 5000
* Bonhams: 020-7468 8334
Phoenix Life: Chance of a refund for overcharged policyholders has risen
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Has your Premium Bond won the £1million jackpot?
There are 'dark corners' of the investment and pensions industry, says Pension Minister
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
- 1 Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads