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The first ever Russian art and NFT auction at MacDougall’s: Ivan Shishkin, Petr Konchalovsky, and Erik Bulatov


On June 10th, 2021, MacDougall’s are holding the first ever Russian art and NFT auction. With over 200 lots on sale, available with associated NFTs, this will lead to a dramatic expansion in the number of NFTs available for Russian art. Buyers of all lots at the sale have the option of acquiring an NFT confirming ownership and provenance, for an extra fee. Of course, buyers who prefer a traditional approach may purchase their lot as before, without acquiring the NFT.

This move towards the technologically advanced securitisation of ownership and provenance will undoubtedly expand the audience for Russian art to include the many NFT investors in the West. The NFT certification of ownership and provenance on the blockchain will make the market considerably more investor orientated.

William MacDougall, Director, said: ‘Three centuries of Russia art are now available on the NFT market. MacDougall’s sale is the first auction to initiate blockchain for this art market, advancing Russian art into the global art arena’.

Recently, there has been considerable discussion and excitement in the art world about NFTs, or Non-Fungible Tokens. An NFT is a digital record of ownership and provenance that is recorded on a blockchain. This is a technological innovation that allows data to be securely recorded in a database that is impossible to change and which is distributed across a network of computers, thereby preventing it from being subsequently corrupted, manipulated or destroyed. Using what is a known as a smart contract (software running on the blockchain), details of the NFT and the asset to which it refers, are recorded on the blockchain. This way an immutable, trusted record of ownership and provenance is maintained.

Top lots in the auction include major works by Ivan Shishkin, Erik Bulatov, Petr Konchalovsky, Robert Falk and Mikhail Nesterov. All will be available with NFTs for the first time.

Online bidding on the website MacDougall’s.

To see all lots

Ivan Shishkin (1832–1898).
Ivan Shishkin (1832–1898).
Forest Road.
signed and dated 1896.
Oil on canvas, 110,5*83,5 cm
More images here.

“Forest Road” by Ivan Shishkin (estimated at 370’000 – 500’000 GBP) is a canvas dating from the artist’s final years. During his lifetime, the artist returned again and again to producing variations on the forest road theme, creating a whole gallery of landscapes for different seasons and different moods. This theme enjoyed huge popularity during Shishkin’s lifetime and, notably, his paintings depicting a forest road were frequently reproduced on postcards. Accuracy of the image is combined here with broad generalisation and typification, and composition is based on the relation between the shape and colour. In 1896 Shishkin spent much time painting from nature at Preobrazhenskoye and Siverskaya near St Petersburg. The work was executed in the artist’s studio with one of such plein-air sketches, and may be considered a splendid example of the Shishkin oeuvre.

Provenance:

  • Collection of Sizinio Pontes Nogueira (1920–2008), Brazilian Ambassador to the USSR in 1980–1986, Brazil.
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1988.
  • Important private collection, Brazil.
Petr Konchalovsky (1976-1956).
Petr Konchalovsky (1976-1956).
Ponte Rialto, Venice.
Signed and dated 1924, also further signed, titled, numbered "553" and dated on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 75*102,5 cm.
More images here.

Petr Konchalovsky’s “Ponte Rialto, Venice” (estimated at 400’000 – 600’000 GBP) belongs to the famous cycle of six Venetian views painted in the late autumn of 1924. A sketch of this composition done in pencil on a large, wide sheet was shown at the Konchalovsky exhibitions held in 1929 and 1960. Venice hugely impressed Konchalovsy, who even felt emotional while working on this canvas. The period when Konchaovsky was at his best an artist is also the time when this work was made, so it can be considered one of his most important masterpieces.

Provenance:

  • Private collection, USA.
  • Russian Sale, Bonhams London, 9 June 2008, lot 29.
  • Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
  • Private collection, Switzerland.

Exhibited:

  • Exposition Pierre Kontchalovsky, Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 4–9 March 1925, No. 66, listed.

Literature:

  • Exhibition catalogue, Pierre Kontchalovsky, Paris, Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosite et des Beaux-Arts, 1925, No. 66, listed as Ponte Rialto (Venise).
  • M. Naiman, P. P. Konchalovsky, Moscow, Sovetskii khudozhnik, 1967, p. 300, listed.
Erik Bulatov (b.1933).
Erik Bulatov (b.1933).
The Vault of Heaven,
signed, titled in Russian "Nebosvod" and in French "La voûte céleste", and dated 2007 on the reverse.
Oil on canvas, 200*200 cm.
More images here.

Erik Bulatov’s masterpiece, The Vault of Heaven (estimated at 400’000-600’000 GBP), presented for auction belongs to a series of paintings inspired by the texts of Vsevolod Nekrasov (1934–2009), a minimalist poet and a close friend of the artist. The idea behind the painting goes far beyond “Soviet/anti-Soviet” dialectic, and is based on the searching for the meaning of life and pure freedom.

Provenance:

  • Collection of the artist, Paris.
  • Galerie Pièce Unique, Paris, 2008.
  • Private collection, Switzerland.

Note:

  • Certificate of authenticity from the artist.

Literature:

  • A. Mathias, R. Kristin (eds.), Nashe Vremya Prishlo. Catalogue Raisonné of Erik Bulatov's Works 1952–2011, Cologne, Wienand Verlag, 2012, p. 211, illustrated.

Exhibition:

  • Erik Bulatov, Galerie Pièce Unique, Paris, 17 January–5 April 2008.
Mikhail Nesterov (1862–1942).
Mikhail Nesterov (1862–1942).
Ballad.
Signed, also further signed, inscribed in Cyrillic with a dedication and dated 1941 on the reverse, also further titled and inscribed “leto Iiun” on the stretcher. Executed in the 1920s.
Oil on canvas, 75*78,5 cm.
More images here.

Mikhail Nesterov’s “Ballad” (estimated at 380’000-500’000 GBP), painted in the 1920s, continues a remarkable gallery of elegiac images begun in the 1890s, wherein nature blends harmoniously with a lyrical human figure. This painting was subsequently given to his elder daughter Olga in January 1941, just after her return from exile. “Ballad” also came into being as the continuation and development of an old theme. It is based on a landscape that Nesterov had painted near the farm at Knyaginino near Kharkov in 1910s, where he had one of the happiest times of his live. A typical “Nesterov’s girl” in a traditional Russian dress crowned with flowers and gazing pensively at the sky, and a man rowing a boat across a lake depicted on the painting create the mood of silent sadness and spiritual search.

Provenance:

  • A gift from the artist to Olga Nesterova-Shreter (1886–1973), his eldest daughter, in 1941 (inscription on the reverse).
  • Thence by descent.
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner in the 1980s.
  • Private collection, Europe.

Note:

  • Authenticity of the work has been confirmed by the expert Yu. Chaikina.
  • Authenticity has also been confirmed by the expert I. Shibanova.

Literature:

  • P. Klimov, Mikhail Vasilievich Nesterov. Catalogue raisonné: zhivopis, grafika, Moscow, Simvoly, 2019, p. 342, No. 2063, illustrated and listed.
Robert Falk (1886–1958).
Robert Falk (1886–1958).
“Still Life with Peppers and a Pot”.
Executed c. 1930s. Still Life with Peppers and a Pot, signed.
Oil on canvas, 60*81 cm.
More images here.

“Still Life with Peppers and a Pot” (estimated at 150,000–200,000 GBP) by the famous Russian painter and one of the most brilliant members of the Moscow “Jack of Diamonds” group Robert Falk is one of the best works of the artist’s Parisian period. The painting’s expressively textured treatment harmonises surprisingly well with the deep umber background, and the contrast with shining red and green culminate in the wealthy variety of hues.

Provenance:

  • Private collection, Paris.
  • Acquired from the above by the present owner.

Literature:

  • A. Uspensky, Robert Falk, Moscow, Isskustvo – XXI vek, 2020, pp. 185, 186-187, illustrated.
Aleksandr Bogomazov (1880–1930).
Aleksandr Bogomazov (1880–1930).
By the Riverbank.
Oil on canvas, 61*51,5 cm.
More images here.

“By the Riverbank” (estimated at 120,000–180,000 GBP) is one of those rare early works by the outstanding artist and avant-garde theorist Aleksandr Bogomazov. Bogomazov began to seek inspiration in the work of post-impressionists and symbolists – this painting comes exactly from this early period. Later his interest turned towards Italian Futurism, and having had tried various techniques from impressionist to abstract, the artist found his unique style, and described it in his “Painting and Elements”.

Provenance:

  • Private collection, USA.
  • Russian Art, Sotheby's New York, 15 April 2008, lot 59.
  • Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
  • Private collection, Switzerland.
Alexander Shevchenko (1883–1948).
Alexander Shevchenko (1883–1948).
“Still Life with Wine Bottle and Tray”.
Signed with initials and dated 1919.
Oil on canvas, 84 by 68 cm.
More images here.

“Still Life with Wine Bottle and Tray” (estimated at 120,000–180,000 GBP) by the avant-garde painter and one of the most remarkable Russian painters of the first quarter of the 20th century Alexander Shevchenko. The artist’s works are noted for their impeccably structured composition, stylistically refined vision of form and a magnificently luminous colour, renowned for its unique “Shevchenko” grey-silver shade.

Provenance:

  • The Russian Sale, Sotheby's London, 18 November 1999, lot 270.
Koshlyakov Valery (b. 1962).
Koshlyakov Valery (b. 1962).
The Duomo, Florence Cathedral.
Diptych. One part signed with initials and dated 2002, also further each part signed, one twice (once with initials), each inscribed in Cyrillic "Dom in Florense [sic]" and "Katedral [sic]" respectively and dated on the reverse.
Tempera and collage with tape on corrugated cardboard. 276*212 cm (overall size).
More images here.

An impressive diptych “The Duomo, Florence Cathedral” by Koshlyakov Valery (estimated at 50’000-70’000 GBP) measures more than two metres and a half in length, and is executed in an unusual technique with with tape on corrugated cardboard.

Provenance:

  • ARCO Art Fair, Madrid, 2003.
  • Acquired at the above fair by the present owner.
  • Private collection, Spain.
Gurianov Georgy (1961–2013).
Gurianov Georgy (1961–2013).
Sailor.
Signed on the reverse.
Pencil and acrylic on canvas, 194*142 cm.
More images here.

Measuring almost two metres in height “Sailor” (estimated at 60,000–90,000 GBP) by the renowned musicial and painter Gurianov Georgy.

Grigoriev Boris (1886–1939).
Grigoriev Boris (1886–1939).
Landscape in Brittany.
Signed.
Oil on canvas, 60,5*73,5 cm.
More images here.

Laconic and luminous “Landscape in Brittany” by Grigoriev Boris (estimated at 60,000–90,000 GBP), who spend almost all his life in emigration.

Provenance:

  • Russian Art, Christie's New York, 18 April 2008, lot 74.
  • Acquired at the above by the present owner.
  • Private collection, Switzerland.

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Photos and information: courtesy of MacDougall’s


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