A painting from the collection of Russian emperor Alexander III was sold at Sotheby's auction June 15 for nearly 2 million pounds.
Talking to RIA Novosti, a spokesperson for Sotheby's press center noted that quite a few 19th century paintings had been sold in London the other day.
All in all, 389 lots, including paintings by German, Austrian, Hungarian, Polish, Czech, Scandinavian and Finnish artists were offered for sale on New Bond Street. European paintings depicting life in the East were auctioned off separately.
The painting "Great Basin" by French artist Jean-Leon Gerome became the main lot, which was even depicted on the auction catalogue's cover. This painting was eventually sold for an all-time high of 1,909,600 pounds; in fact, none of Jean-Leon Jerome's paintings has ever netted such an impressive price before, the spokesperson went on to say.
This painting has a rather interesting history, a Sotheby's art expert, who supervised the trading session, told RIA Novosti.
The painting was completed in 1885 and subsequently bought by a Paris dealer, who sold it to Russian emperor Alexander III several days later. The painting was stored in his private collection until 1918. The Bolsheviks decided to donate it to the Hermitage museum after the revolution, eventually selling the picture elsewhere in 1930. Many other works of art suffered the same fate. The painting, which was owned by two private collectors, is now being displayed in public for the first time in 70 years, the art expert noted in conclusion.