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Russian Art Week - November/December 2015

Event preview

THIS autumn, the capital welcomes the seventh edition of Russian Art Week – from November 27 to December 4, 2015.

Auctions of valuable Russian paintings, icons, Fabergé and works of art will be held at all the major London auction houses, alongside a series of Russian art exhibitions, academic lectures and performances by celebrated Russian musicians.

The previous event in June 2015 resulted in £21.1 million of sales.

Bonhams, Christie’s, MacDougall’s and Sotheby’s will offer a variety of Russian works of art and decorative objects during the week.

Highlights at Sotheby’s include a collection of works on paper by Natalia Goncharova, the largest ever to come to the market, including her designs for Ballet Russes. Christie’s will present an intriguing Self-portrait with crows by the Kremlin by Vasily Sitnikov, estimated to fetch between £70,000 – £90,000.

Bonhams will offer a dreamy Romantic Encounter by Pavel Svedomsky, estimated to sell for £80,000 – £120,000, whilst MacDougall’s are offering landscapes by Isaak Levitan, High Water, and Ivan Shishkin, Pine Forest, at an estimate of £250,000 – £300,000 and £400,000 – £600,000 respectively.

Leading London galleries will also present the work of living Russian artists, presenting the diversity of contemporary art in Moscow and beyond. Peripheral Visions exhibition at GRAD gallery showcases works by Olga Chernysheva, while Erarta Galleries London, in collaboration with Maxim Boxer, presents the first UK retrospective of famed Moscow conceptualist Sergey Shutov, Russian Landscape.

The de Pury de Pury Gallery at Grafton Street presents the first comprehensive London exhibition of Erik Bulatov,BOT, since the artist’s debut in the capital in 1989. In November, Saatchi Gallery will reveal the results of the first ever open competition for all emerging artists from the UK and Ukraine in the exhibition UK/RAINE and later will present Revelations by Aidan Salakhova, an Azeri and Russian artist, featuring her new works alongside the iconic enigmatic veiled sculptures.

Coinciding with the Russian Art Week programme is the major exhibition at the Science Museum – Cosmonauts: Birth of the Space Age. The display brings together numerous objects, which have been declassified for this exhibition and have never left Russia before.

Several lectures will take place in Russian Art Week, including by world renowned Professor John Bowlt who will lecture on the origins of the Russian Avant-Garde. Dealer James Butterwick will speak on the panel to discuss the challenges of fakes and forgeries in Russian art at GRAD gallery and Gallery Elena Shchukina will host Gregoire Aslanoff’s lecture in Russian on Marc Chagall.

In addition, the Courtauld Institute of Art will host a screening of The Gospel Circle of Vassily Polenov followed by an academic round-table discussion.

London theatres and concert halls will also offer numerous performances of renowned Russian operas and ballets. In December, the Royal Opera House will stage an unmissable event – Eugene Onegin by Pyotr Tchaikovsky, conducted by Semyon Bychkov and performed by Dmitry Hvorostovsky.

Pushkin House together with Opera Coast invite the public to join them to hear some of Rachmaninov’s song repertoire, as well as excerpts from his diaries and letters at Rachmaninov: Reflections.

Traditionally, both the Royal Opera House and National English Opera will welcome young audience and families to admire the magical The Nutcracker, an eternal Christmas classics by Tchaikovsky, while the Royal Albert Hall presents a fresh approach to this work with The Nutcracker on Ice.

Sadler’s Wells Theatre will host a performance of another Tchaikovsky’s work, The Sleeping Beauty, directed by Matthew Bourne, as a gothic romance for all ages.

Theodora Clarke, organiser of the week, said: “We are excited to announce this year’s programme of events for Russian Art Week. Political tensions between Russia and the UK have increased in light of recent events. However, our event is a great reminder of how art can transcend politics and I think the range of culture on offer will appeal both to Russian enthusiasts and the general public alike.

“Some of the works being sold at auction are museum quality pieces and so there is a great opportunity for anyone to view pictures by these influential artists, who are often less well presented in British collections, for free”.

This year’s event is being sponsored by Knight Frank. Katya Zenkovich, Head of Knight Frank’s Russian Desk, commented on this initiative: “We are delighted to be involved with Russian Art Week 2015. There is an intrinsic link between property and art, with many of our clients looking for homes around the world not only to showcase wonderful collections, but also as an art form themselves.

“Like many art collectors, Knight Frank prides itself in its knowledge of the market and having access to the finest properties around the globe. Our Russian desk is able to understand the wants and needs of its clients, ensuring that they are looked after to the highest standard through one point of contact, whatever their property requirements.”

For a full listing of events and to download a guide visit www.russianartweek.co.uk/.