The worst year of my life, thank God, is over finally.   It all started with the Art London Fair opening on Brexit day – with not a person walking in.   Then a couple of weeks later, the doctors discovered a brain tumour and failed to act promptly, leaving me waiting three weeks for a failed operation.   The rest of 2016 was spent being treated with chemo and Radiotherapy – with all its ups and downs.
The negative response to the questions about my survival time varied from 2 months to 6 months – so not the happiest time for my family.
It is now 2017 and I am still here.   I would like to thank everyone for their kindness, their thoughts, their cards and even their treatments. The shop is buzzing along well with help from John and the fantastic Olya looking after all of our Russian clients so well.

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Collecting Russian Art

IMG_1168With the downturn in the Russian Art market caused primarily by Sanctions, it will be interesting to look at the underpriced collectables from Russia.

As the”big-named” paintings and objects are now valued at about 50% less than pre 2010, what will be interesting to collect?

Icons were on a par with 19th century paintings in the 1970s and then slumped in price in the 1980s onwards. Now with a lack of supply there is a growing interest in collecting and prices are still fairly low. Faberge plain silver objects are out of fashion, so worth picking up at rock-bottom prices. The very interesting Pan-Slavic movement of the early 20th century coming out of Talashkino and Abramtsevo produced some wonderful decorative items ,mostly exported to Britain at the time. The careers of the artists living there blossomed after the Revolution, as many escaped to Paris to work with the ballet and opera. Very few items that were made were signed which has kept the prices very inexpensive. As Abramtsevo is now a “Museum” village and exhibitions are being held in Russia, this a collecting field well worth looking at.

We have noticed that the souvenirs made to celebrate the Soviet Space achievements have disappeared, so worth searching for.

Paintings from the 1940’s onwards will be promoted now by the London auction rooms, to make up for the loss of the 19th century market. The more decorative the better I expect.

Happy Hunting in 2016

In the shop at Iconastas

IMG_1087The shop is now showing over 70 Icons from 1600 to 1910, over 50 Antique lacquer boxes, 24 silver cigarette cases, over 80 porcelain figures, over 40 miniature Russian Icons, brass Icons, Palekh boxes, Soviet metalwork figures, boxes from Abramtsevo, over 100 Russian and Coptic crosses and many other interesting items.

Too many pieces to show on the web-sites

Gulag Art

The Gulag system in the Soviet Union was one of the most brutal forms of intellectual cleansing formulated by a regime evolved from the Marxist principles of “all Men are equal”. The art produced inside these camps showed the hell inflicted on the prisoners, the people who disappeared from normal day to day lives on the whim of the Stalinist brutalistIMG_9751 regime.

One artist Leonid Nedov (1924 – 2007), spent twenty years in a Gulag. He was mentioned in the “Gulag Archipelago” by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who persuaded Nikita Krushchev to grant him freedom. He was known for his camp scenes, painting in enamel onto a burnt and corroded metal base.