Slow-burn sales and an update on Russian avant-garde enquiries; the latest art market news

Slow-burn sales and an update on Russian avant-garde enquiries; the latest art market news

Slow-burn sales
In the age of the fast-selling contemporary art fair, it can be forgotten that, for dealers handling older stock at a fair or exhibition where the market is less frenzied, sales can take a while to materialise.

News is still coming through, for instance, of sales made by participants in the London Art Week winter edition, held at the beginning of December. Trinity Fine Art has just concluded the sale of a fine drawing by Regency artist, Richard Cosway, to The National Gallery of Art in Washington.

A Man trapped between a Lion and a Serpent, Richard Cosway

The drawing, «A Man trapped between a Lion and a Serpent», is taught with energy and drama and it comes as no surprise to learn that it once belonged to the sculptor, Jacob Epstein.

«We are delighted, and this piece will join a beautiful Cosway of his wife Maria and daughter which we also sold to Washington a few years ago» said Alexandra Toscano, director of Trinity Fine Art. The price was a shade under £10,000.

Another example is an animated painting of a female nude disrobing by the Victorian master of the genre, William Etty, which was on display at the Tomasso Brothers gallery in St James’s. Priced at £20,000, its sale has just been concluded by the gallery with a private collector.

Russian avantgarde enquiries, an update
Following our report last week that a number of art historians and dealers were questioning the authorship of 26 works, purportedly by well-known early 20th century Russian avant garde artists, at the SMK, Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent, the Flemish Minister of Culture, Sven Gatz, has told the Belgian press that there will be a ‘laboratory investigation’ into several paintings as part of an independent research project to establish the authenticity of the works.

An installation from the Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent exhibition of Russian Modernism

In response to enquiries to substantiate authenticity by The Daily Telegraph, the owner of the works, Igor Toporovski, replied: «Chemical analysis is only required when there are scientific (artistic) doubts or in case of judicial trial. In the international museum practice neither certificates of authenticity, nor chemical conclusions are required.»

However, he has now agreed to both share his confidential documents to establish provenance and allow the paintings and objects in the exhibition to be subject to scientific laboratory analysis to establish whether the dating of the works could be correct or not. The exhibition will continue to run until further notice.