An exceptional portrait by Boris Kustodiev will be among the highlights of London's June 2011 Russian week. Painted in 1911 while Kustodiev was undergoing treatment in the Swiss resort town of Leysin, this intimate portrait of his daughter Irina was included in the 1912‐1913 World of Art exhibition in St Petersburg, Moscow and Kiev, as well as the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö in 1914. In 1924 it was shown at the Russian Art Exhibition in New York and was subsequently acquired by an American collector. Offered for the first time at auction, Portrait of Irina Kustodieva is estimated at £1,200,000-1,800,000.
Nicholas Roerich's The Palace of Tsar Berendey is another painitng which was shown at both the World of Art exhibiton and the Baltic Exhibition. A prime example of Roerich's work for the theatre, this set design for Ostrovsky's Snegurochka is now offered with the estimate of £290,000-400,000.
Russian Classic and Contemporary Art auction will also feature Rue d'une ville caucasienne (Tiflis) by Martiros Saryan, a particularly rare work from the artist's Parisian period. The painting was exhibited at Saryans solo exhibition in Paris in 1928, which marked the culmination of the artists stay in the French capital. After the exhibition, most of the paintings were lost on the way back to Saryans native Armenia in a fire on board a ship. Rue dune ville caucasienne (Tiflis) was among the very few works he had left behind in Paris with the hope of selling them. Known until recently only through black and white photographs, the rediscovery of this true masterpiece is extremely exciting for collectors and scholars alike. Rouzan Saryan, grand‐daughter of the artist and Director of the Saryan Museum in Yerevan, hopes to find the funds necessary to acquire this unique work for the museum. The painting is estimated at £200,000-300,000.
Another rediscovery of art‐historical significance is Genrikh Semiradskys The New Bracelet (est. £250,000-300,000). Alongside Victorian artist Lawrence Alma‐Tadema, Semiradsky was one of the most significant neo‐Classical painters of the late 19th century. A particularly fine example of the artists oeuvre, The New Bracelet was acquired by the great‐grandfather of the present owner and remained in the same North American collection for more than a century. Illustrated in a pre‐revolutionary monograph, the painting was until recently believed to be lost.
Portrait of My Father by Russian‐American artist Nikolai Fechin (est. £380,000-450,000) is a work of outstanding quality with an exceptional provenance. Executed in Russia, the painting was among the first Fechins sent to the United States, the country which he would later call home. It was acquired from the 1910 Carnegie International by William S. Stimmel, Fechins first American patron who would later facilitate the artists emigration to the United States.
Another highlight of the sale is a rare work by Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani. Shepherd in a Felt Cloak Against a Red Background (est. £600,000-800,000) was formerly in the collection of David Kakabadze, another eminent Georgian artist.
MacDougalls Russian Classic Art sale on 8 June 2011 is followed on 9 June by three auctions: Russian Contemporary Art, Russian Works on Paper, and Russian Icons and Works of Art. Overall, more than 500 lots will be on offer, totalling £15m. The sale will be on exhibition in London 3‐7 June.