Russian artist’s painting breaks record for highest online-only sale

A painting by the Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky has sold for £2,295,000, becoming the highest value painting sold in an online-only sale.

The Bay Of Naples more than doubled its lower pre-sale estimate of £800,000 and broke the online-only painting record set by Giorgio Morandi’s Natura Morta (Still Life) last week.

At two metres wide, the 1878 work is one of the largest paintings by the Russian Romantic painter, who lived between 1817 and 1900, to appear on the open market.

Passing Ship On A Moonlit Night by Ivan Aivazovsky also sold for £435,000 (Sotheby’s/PA)

Aivazovsky’s painting sold during auction house Sotheby’s first flagship sale of Russian Pictures to be held online.

The session, which closed on Tuesday, brought in a total of £5.6 million and saw more than 57% of lots achieve above their high estimates, with 32% more than doubling their pre-sale low estimate.

The sale also saw a second work by the artist, Passing Ship On A Moonlit Night, sell for £435,000.

Works by artists including Petr Konchalovsky and Igor Obrosov also featured.

Many of Sotheby’s auctions have been forced online during the coronavirus pandemic.

The event follows the auction house’s Russian Pictures sale in November 2019, when Ivan Kliun’s Spherical Suprematism made £4.9 million, among the highest prices in such a sale.

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