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LONDON, June 5 (RIA Novosti) – Works by renowned Russian painters Nikolai Roerich and Ivan Shishkin were sold on Wednesday at two auctions in London for record prices as part of Russian Art Week.
Roerich’s “Madonna Laboris” fetched £7.8 million (over $12 million) at Bonhams, setting the highest-ever price for a Russian painter’s work sold at an auction anywhere in the world. Shishkin’s “Twilight” sold at MacDougall's for £2.1 million (over $3.3 million), the highest recorded price for his work.
The Roerich’s sale broke the world record set just two days earlier by Ilya Mashkov’s “Still Life With Fruit,” which sold for £4.7 million ($7.3 million) at Christie’s in London.
Roerich (1874-1947) is known for his dynamic landscape paintings and monumental historical sets.
“Madonna Laboris” was painted in 1931 as part of a series of paintings on the theme of “Great Female Deities of the World.” Having recently resurfaced, the piece is considered one of the most important of Roerich’s works to appear at auction of late.
Shishkin (1832-1898) worked predominantly in landscape and frequently turned to the subject of the pine forest, having grown up in a rural area of Russia. He was closely associated with the Peredvizhniki, or Wanderers, a group of Russian realist artists.
“Twilight” is considered one of the finest of his later works. It remained in a private Finnish collection from its original purchase in 1896 until 2006, according to MacDougall's.
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Russia is in the grip of a legitimacy crisis, hence all the protest we have been seeing. The authorities are trying to do something so as to establish a way of getting feedback from the people, either by reviving certain ideas or devising new ones. In all other countries, public television is one of these feedback channels; it is a mouthpiece, a rostrum, from which ordinary people can speak to both society and the authorities.