Go to main page   Art & culture   News   Russian Wife goes for millions  
"He that is without sin" by Vasily Polenov (image from 01.12, 12:36

Russian paintings fetch millions after Titanic escape

He is Guilty of Death – it sounds like a final court verdict but in fact, it’s a larger-than-life painting by celebrated Russian artist Vasily Polenov, whose monumental works made a stir among savvy art dealers at a Bonhams auction in London.

Sotheby's final tally exceeded everybody's expectations (AFP Photo/Timothy A. Clary) 30.11, 12:49

Ballets Russes art taps golden gavel

Artists are notorious for being desperate for success and money, which often come only after their death. Now, an entire selection of works by legendary Ballets Russes designer Alexandre Benois has sold out for a record price at Sotheby’s.

Petr Konchalovsky's Tatar Still Life 29.11, 12:24

Old Russian silverware worth a million

Silverware may be elegant and pretty, but it’s still a bit of a chore, as you have to give it a good clean every once in a while. But these items don’t need you to get out the baking soda and toothpaste, as they are made of… oils.

Marc Chagall. Synagogue in Vilna, the "Kloyz" of the Vilna Gaon (1931) 20.11, 17:55

Chagall’s synagogues up for sale

Three rare Marc Chagall paintings featuring interiors of synagogues are to be auctioned at Sotheby’s, prompting huge interest for the Russian-rooted artist.

Russian Wife goes for millions

Published: 02 December, 2011, 11:11

Merchant's Wife by Boris Kustodiev (image from

Merchant's Wife by Boris Kustodiev (image from

TAGS: Art, Russia, UK, Auction

How does a billionaire become a millionaire? By finding himself a wife, as the joke goes. Merchant's Wife by one of the towering Russian artists of the 20th century, Boris Kustodiev, has sold for nearly $3 million at a MacDougall's London auction.

­The painting with a pricey tag is said to be “undoubtedly among Kustodiev’s most iconic works."

The Merchant’s Wife, 1923, was first exposed at the celebrated Russian Art Exhibition at the Grand Central Palace in New York, where it was sold to a private collector. Soon after, it appeared in the pages of the popular German women’s magazine Die Dame. Then, sadly, it remained out of public view until 1998, when it sold successfully at Sotheby’s.

In fact, the celebrated Russian artist with an eye for female sensuality and ripe beauty created a series of portraits of merchant’s wives, depicting them drinking tea, taking a walk or sleeping.

His pictures of the early 1920s, painted at a time of tumultuous and dramatic events in Russia, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, play a far more symbolic role than would seem at first sight. Soaked in nostalgia for the dignified patriarchal society that had by then gone forever, these bright female portraits serve as a symbol of early 20th-century Russia.

Kustodiev had long strived to create a universal image of Russian beauty. When found it, he was already an established artist, recognizable for his creative energy and use of full-blooded colors.

+4 (4 votes)
Back to top
Views of town of Uglich, Yaroslavl Region (RIA Novosti/Alexey Kudenko)
01.12, 19:40 1 comment

Travel sick? Tourist tablets ready!

Obeying all of the Ten Commandments can be a real challenge, especially if you are on holidays in Russia. Now a new booklet entitled Commandments for a Foreign Tourist is expected to help travelers get around Russia without getting into trouble.

The Kennedy Center Today: 14:27 1 comment

Kennedy Center to turn Russian

Some gifts require imagination, others – an explanation. Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin has given… a $5 million gift to Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to mark its 40th anniversary.

New World Order December 02, 2011, 19:41

Merchant's Wife by Boris Kustodiev is an stunning painting because the Merchant’s Wife shows an image of celebration of a female body which is healthy and fertile as opposed to the current celebration of “sterile” and “hungry” and slender bodies of Russian models!