Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sotheby's holds "solid" Russian art auction

LONDON (Reuters) – Sotheby's raised 7.9 million pounds ($12.5 million) at its Russian art auction on Monday, a total the auctioneer called "solid" in uncertain economic times and within pre-sale expectations.

The sale is the main event during a week of Russian auctions in London which will provide the latest indicator as to the strength of the international art market.

Russians were key to booming art prices in the first part of the decade, and their continued interest is seen as instrumental in underpinning a market hit hard by the economic crisis.

At Monday's sale, the top lot was "The Village Fair" by Boris Kustodiev, which fetched 2.8 million pounds including buyer's premium, an auction record for the artist and above estimates of 1.0-1.5 million pounds not including the premium.

Another oil painting, "Nanny With Children" by Isaak Brodsky dated 1912, also set an auction record for the artist when it sold for 937,250 pounds, around twice its estimate.

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