Auctions: Israeli on-line auction

Take a good look at the local Internet site, on which 230 paintings, drawings, items of Judaica and tapestries will be auctioned entirely on-line on December 17.

somov art 88 298 (photo credit: )
somov art 88 298
(photo credit: )
Take a good look at the local Internet site, on which 230 paintings, drawings, items of Judaica and tapestries will be auctioned entirely on-line on December 17. The on-line catalog is remarkably effective, with easy access to all the lots; enlargements of details can also be viewed. Details of pricing, and info about the artist accompany each image, as well as a simple layout to enable you to bid for the lot. Well designed, it beats Christie's Lotfinder. Most of the works are Israeli and date from decades back. Worth consideration are lots by Raffi Lavie (the top lot at $5,000), Arie Aroch, Aviva Uri and many others. There is also a great deal of dross. But prices often start at just a few hundred dollars. LONDON sales of Russian Pictures and Russian Works of Art last week realized 28,202,420, the highest combined sales total ever achieved for Russian pictures and works of art category worldwide. Six new artist records at auction were established and nine works sold for more than $1 million. Bidders were 43 percent from Russia (including Ukraine), 29% from the UK, 16% from Europe (excluding the UK) and 12% from the Americas. The most expensive painting sold was Konstantin Andreevich Somov's Pastorale Russe, 1922, at 2,696,000 the most expensive Russian painting ever sold in a Russian auction. Pastorale Russe, a naive and erotic yet strangely innocent composition of young lovers by moonlight, was one of a group of nine works by the artist that collectively sold for more than 4m. Paintings by much celebrated marine artist Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovskii were in demand, including View of Constantinople,which sold for 1,632,000. The oil by Lev Samoilovich Bakst sold for 624,000. A portrait of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, nee Princess Charlotte of Russia (1798-1860), wife of Emperor Nicholas I was purchased by the Tsarskoe Selo Museum (Summer Palace Museum), St. Petersburg for 48,000. The portrait will go on public exhibition and will complete the museum's collection (the other known portrait of the same sitter is in the Winter Palace Museum, St. Petersburg). The total for the Russian Works of Art sale was 9,848,700 and was 71% sold by lot and 60% by value. CHRISTIE'S BRITISH Art Week realized 32m. from six auctions dedicated entirely to British art and furniture. The five sales of paintings, drawings and watercolors realised a total of 29,127,840, the highest ever total for a week of British picture sales at Christie's, and set 46 new artist records, including those for David Bomberg, E.W. Cooke, Philip de Lazslo, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Terry Frost and William Scott. A total of 64 lots sold for more than 100,000 and the sale of 20th Century British Art on November 17 realized a total of 12.5 million, breaking Christie's own record from June 2006 for the highest ever sale total anywhere for the category. The top lot of the week was Portrait of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, K.G., K.B., M.P. by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P.R.A. (1769-1830) which sold at the auction of British Pictures 1500-1850 for 2m., more than doubling the previous record price for the artist. Together, the sales of British Art Week in June and British Art Week Autumn in November have realized a combined total of 64.9m. ASIAN CONTEMPORARY artists are now much in demand at auctions and the European bidders for top lots are outnumbered by Asian collectors. At Christie's Hong Kong sales of 20th Century Chinese Art and Asian Contemporary Art held on November 26, the combined take was $67,978,560, the highest total ever achieved anywhere in the world and doubling Christie's Hong Kong spring season's result. Numerous world auction record prices were set, with an oil Slave and Lion by Xu Beihong selling for HK$53,880,000/ US$7m. Tiananmen Square by Zhang Xiaogang brought HK$18,040,000/ US$2.3m. Top-selling lots were by Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Indian artists. The Chinese topped the list. THE BRONZE Pr paration la danse, pied droit en avant by Edgar Degas (1843-1917) and Begonias by Sir William Nicholson (1872-1949) have been negotiated to the UK by Christie's. The works were offered in lieu of tax from the estate of the late Lillian Browse C.B.E. (1906-2005) on the condition that the Nicholson painting be allocated to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Degas sculpture be allocated to the Samuel Courtauld Trust. The "duchess of Cork Street," Lillian Browse was a distinguished art historian and art dealer during a time when the profession was still very much a man's world. She helped found Roland, Browse & Delbanco in Cork Street, which later became Browse & Darby in 1977. An accomplished writer, her pioneering book Degas Dancers (1949) is still today considered a seminal work and her William Nicholson: Catalogue Raisonn (1956) remains the only published catalogue.