Friday, June 17, 2011

Victoria Kovalenchikova debuts solo U.S. show as Russian market heats up

Painting by Victoria Kovalenchikov

If not out of the attic or KGB vaults, Russian art is coming out and gaining increased commercial vitality among Russians and western collectors.

London's MacDougall's Fine Art Auctions may be an accurate barometer s its profits from sales of Russian art has catapulted from about 2.5 million pounds in 2005 to an estimated 25 million last year, according to Isabel Gorst of the Financial Times.

About 90 percent of MacDougall's sales are Russian works. 

It's no joke about Russians secreting unapproved images, especially during Soviet times.

When I was there twice in the USSR, when underground Samizdat newspapers challenged the regime with considerable risk, artists, unless they worked for some state organ, likewise went underground and in some cases had their works confiscated or suffered personal repression or imprisonment.

Think Ai Weiwei.

Beginning in the 1990's these discarded works started to emerge. Fat cat Russians, the new rich, bought up lots of it on the cheap.j 

That was then, this is now.

Russian tastes grew to nclude Old Masters but more recently, turned to the contemporary Russian genre. The only problem, and a big one, says Gorst, is there are as many fakes as originals circulating on the secondary market. 

Buyer beware.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, U.S.A., starting 18 June (Saturday), Russian painter Victoria Kovalenchikova, who lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, opens her first solo show in the United States at the Museum of Russian Art, Jersey City, which runs through 26 June. New Jersey and New York are traditional homes for large concentrations of Russian immigrants.

Dr. Abbas Daneshavi of California State University, Los Angeles, desribed her work in a news release: "The transofrmtion of the concensual forms through perilous amalgamations, make for fantastic dimensions." (ArtSpeak, anyone?)

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler™

Consider art traveling to Andalusia for a week-long sculpture or mosaics workshop or walking holiday. See: and

"Andalusia Spring," photograph by Stefan van Drake (2007)

Contact me at or by calling (34) 951 067 703 or from the UK at BT landline rates, 0844 774 8349.

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