Gene Shapiro Auctions to Offer an Important Private Collection of Early Paintings by Nicolai Roerich
On November 16th, 2013, Gene Shapiro Auctions, a Manhattan-based auction house in business since 2007, will hold its annual autumn sale of Fine and Decorative Art. The auction house sells a variety of artworks by international artists, and is one of the few auction houses in the world to specialize in the sale of Russian artworks. The November auction will include over 600 lots of paintings, icons, rare books, Fabergé, silver, and other examples of Russian fine and decorative arts.
The auction will include 8 individual artworks by Roerich, an artist for whom several museums across the world are dedicated, including in New York and several in Russia, in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the last 15-20 years, due to the confluence of a revived Russian economy, a burgeoning Russian art market, and a renewed interest in spiritualism and theosophy by the Russian elite, Roerich has become a favored artist of the Russian art market. His paintings, often small in size, are full of symbolism and deeper meanings best understood in the context of Eastern religions.
While the amount of Roerichs being offered in one auction is by itself impressive, it is the quality and importance of the individual pieces which differentiates them from other Roerichs which have been offered at auction in the last several years. Four of the works, “The Offerings,” “Lake Hympola,” “Study of Arizona,” and “Mont Blanc,” are from a private American Collection and have never before been offered at auction. All of these works were in the collection of the Roerich Museum in New York from 1929-35. After the Roerich Museum closed in 1935, the majority of the paintings in the museum became part of the collection of Louis and Nettie Horch, who financed Roerich’s Asian expedition from 1925-1929. They stayed in Horch’s collection until 1957, at which point they were bought by Dr. Carlos Giro in Manhattan, where they would remain until 2003 and gifted to an anonymous US collector. Two other early Roerich costume designs for Tsar Saltan, also from the Horch collection and previously in the Roerich Museum in New York, are also included amongst the 8 Roerichs in the sale.
The most important of the works to be offered at Gene Shapiro is Roerich’s “Offerings”
The other three Roerich paintings from the same collection as the “Offerings,”
Two other Roerichs round out the Roerich paintings being offered at Shapiro’s auction on the 16th of November. One is an early and large painting of Tulola Island in 1918, last sold at Christie's in 2008, , and the other is a work also previously sold at Christie’s but only now identified by Gvido Trepsa, Head Researcher at the Roerich Museum, as from a series of works depicting the Tangla Mountain Range in the Himalayas, one of Roerich’s favorite mountain ranges. Finally, there is one lot being offered, that is from the same collection as the “Offerings”
The auction to be held in New York at Gene Shapiro’s is a large one, comprising over 600 lots. There is a very diverse group of property that makes up these lots, appealing to many different collectors, and numerous highlights. Early pieces include three small paintings by Ivan Aivazovsky, a portrait of the Princess Isabella Adamovna Gagarina from the 1850s by Sergei Zarianko, which was recently illustrated in a catalogue published by the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, and an early depiction of the historical Cruiser Minin by Leonid Blinov. A beautiful, large, and expansive view of Lake Sevan by the Armenian painter Georgy Bashinzhagyan is also on offer. In addition, a lovely landscape by Isaak Levitan is being sold entitled “View Near Yalta.” This painting was exhibited at the Sixth Exhibition of the Moscow Society of Art Lovers in 1886-87, and later at the Society of St. Eugene Exhibition of Russian Artists in St. Petersburg in 1913.
Works by influential 20th Century Russian artists populate the November 16th auction, such as paintings by the artists David Burliuk, Boris Grigoriev, Nikolai Bogdanov-Belsky, Robert Falk, Konstantin Gorbatov, Alexandre Altmann, Serge Soudeikine, Boris Anisfeld, and other artists of similar renown. In addition, Shapiro’s auction in New York remains one of the best sources in the world of Russian contemporary artists, specifically the non-conformist and “underground”
It should be noted, that Gene Shapiro Auctions’ November sale is entitled “Russian, European, and International Art.” In addition to the Russian works being offered, there are artworks by famous artists of other nationalities, including 4 beautiful gouache and watercolor paintings by the famous Chinese contemporary artist Fang Xiang (B 1967). Born in the Guangdong province of China, Fang Xiang is an artist whose paintings are in numerous Chinese museums, including the Shanghai Art Museum and the Guangdong Art Museum. He is represented in the auction with paintings depicting the lyrical interiors and garden views for which he is known. Likewise, there are numerous old master European paintings in the sale, a view upon Windsor Great Park by the British Watercolorist Paul Sandby dating circa 1782, an early flirtatious genre scene by the Spanish artist Juan Pablo Salinas y Teruel, and even a large and powerful abstract composition by the Belgian modernist Joseph Lacasse.
A full online catalog with high-resolution photographs of each item to be offered in the auction can be seen at www.geneshapiro.com. Bidders can likewise register for bidding at the website, and can participate in the auction live, by telephone, by absentee bid, and using the internet on third-party sites such as liveauctioneers.com. All items in the auction can be previewed in person when the exhibition opens on November 9th and extending until the auction date. Both the auction and exhibition will be held at Gene Shapiro Auctions’ Manhattan headquarters at 506 East 74th Street, New York, NY 10021. The auction house can also be reached by telephone at +1 (212) 717-7500, or by email at email@example.com.