7 Most Expensive Paintings By Russian Artists

Most Expensive Paintings By Russian Artists

Posted on January 29, 2012 by tim


Paintings by Mark Rothko are believed to be the most expensive, if compared to other Russian artists. Its White Center (1950) was sold for 72.8 million dollars plus it is the 12th most expensive painting in the world. However, Rothko was a Jew who left Russia at age 10. So, we will cross him out from our list of most expensive paintings by Russian artists.

№ 1. Kazimir Malevich – 60 million dollars.
Suprematist Composition, 1916 (Sotheby’s, 2008)
The painting was created in 1916 and stayed with the artist until June 1927. Malevich exhibited his work in the Grosse Berliner Kunstausstellung in Berlin, but was soon to leave for the USSR. The painting soon went to German architect Hugo Hering, who then sold it to the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. It stayed there for the next 50 years. After 17 years of legal battle over the painting’s ownership, the painting was returned to heirs of the artist. In November, 2008 they sold it at an auction. In 2012, they returned another painting by their prominent ancestor taking it away from a museum in Switzerland.

№ 2.  Wassily Kandinsky — 22.9 million dollars.
Fugue, 1914 (Sotheby’s, 1990)
This painting is exposed in a private museum in Switzerland and each person can enjoy it. It was lucky to skip the time when auctions were filled with reckless Russian buyers purchasing paintings for their private collections to never show them anyone.

№ 3. Alexej von Jawlensky — 9. 43 million pounds.
Schokko with Wide-Brimmed Hat, about 1910 (Sotheby’s, 2008)
The painting depicts a country girl living off Munich. Schokko is not her real name. It’s her nickname.  She was nicknamed so because the girl who posed for the painting would always ask the artist for a cup of coffee.

№ 4. Marc Chagall — 16.3 million dollars.
Jubileum, 1923 (Sotheby’s, 1990)
It depicts a flight with the artist’s wife, the story which may be found in many paintings by Chagall. The painting dates to 1923. However, in New York, there is a similar painting called Birthday and it was created in 1915.

№ 5. Natalia Goncharova — 6.43 million pounds.
Spaniard, 1916 (Christie’s’s, 2010)
The majority of her works are rather expensive (her Flowers was sold for 5.52 million pounds) but we decided to include just one painting of each painter into our list.
Recently, they found over 300 paintings by Goncharova unknown to the public and may be they will be put up for auctions.

№ 6. Nicolai Fechin — 6.95 million pounds.
The Little Cowboy, 1940 (MacDougall’s, 2010)
Born in Kazan, Nicolai immigrated to the USA in 1923. His works are displayed in different countries but the largest collection is situated at the Fechin Center in Kazan. It is unclear why the price for his painting skyrocketed (in spring 2010, this very painting was sold for just 600,000 dollars). Some say that it might have been done on purpose, to artificially inflate prices on his art in general.

№ 7. Ilya Repin — 4.52 million pounds.
Parisian Café, 1875 (Christie’s, 2011)
This painting was exhibited just three times since a collector from Sweden purchased it 95 years ago.

№ 8. Vasily Polenov — 4.07 million pounds.
Who Among You is Without Sin? 1908 (Bonhams, 2011)
This painting might have been lost forever because it was to be transported to the USA by Titanik. Luckily, it didn’t.

№ 9. Konstantin Somov — 3.7 million pounds.
Rainbow, 1927 (Christie’s, 2007)
The painting was purchased for this huge sum in 2007, the year before the economic crisis broke out. It became the most expensive painting bought during Russian Auction Week, several days when auctions sell Russian Art only.

№ 10. Ilya Kabakov — 2.9 million pounds.
Beetle, 1985 (Phillips de Pury, 1998)
Ilya Kabakov is the soul of Moscow conceptualism whose works have become the dream of any collector.

№ 13. Boris Kustodiev — 2.84 million pounds.
Country Fair, 1920 (Sotheby’s, 2009)
This painting sold for 4.5 million dollars saved the face of the artist. The point is that in 2005, at Christie’s, a Russian oligarch purchased another painting by Kustodiev which turned out to be a fake.

№ 12. Alexander Yakovlev — 2.82 million pounds.
Portrait of Vasily Shuhaeva in his Studio, 1928 (Christie’s, 2007)

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7 Responses to “Most Expensive Paintings By Russian Artists”

  1. OLUT says:

    Great works of art! My favorite is the first one, and No. 5 — all the paintings and/or prints I have look something like that first painting.

  2. Matt says:

    Most of those are garbage that you would have to pay me to put on my walls.. unbelievable what they sell for!

  3. ummm says:

    why is the last one censored? it’s ridiculous -.^

  4. Anatole says:

    Great selection, nice to see art on ER and I’m personally a huge fan of the futurists. However, I must take issue with your statement: “Rothko was a Jew who left Russia at age 10. So, we will cross him out from our list of most expensive paintings by Russian artists.”

    a) many of the other artists you mention left Russia.
    b) what difference does it make if he’s a Jew? He can still be Russian.

  5. Faith Gorodki says:

    “Lying Nude, 1929 (Sotheby’s, 2008)”

    This is not censorship, this rape of art.

  6. Buskowa Pierrick says:

    censoring art is worse than everything. It’s an enormous error. It must be forbidden…. It’s A.R.T. ….. during the second world war they burned books, it’s the same thing to do that. Sorry to say that but it’s true.

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