Two 'destroyed' masterpieces from Zinaida Evgenievna Serebriakova (1884-1967), one of Russia's highest selling female artists, will be sold at Bonhams' Russian Sale which is to be held on May 30 in London.
The monumental works were commissioned by Belgian nobleman Baron de Brouwer for his villa on the French border. The series consists of four murals, each representing a different aspect of de Brouwer's lifestyle.
The two examples in the sale are entitled Jurisprudence and Flora, to represent his career as a lawyer and his love of horticulture. Unfortunately, Baron de Brouwer would never see the finished panels after he and his wife died during the second world war. It was also thought that de Brouwer's house had been destroyed along with the murals.
The house had, in fact, remained standing with the paintings still present over 70 years later; the current owners believed that they were created by an unknown Flemish artist.
Serebriakova's brother and fellow artist Evgeniy Lansere summed the pieces up wonderfully after receiving photographs from his sister: "The panels are excellent in the simplicity of their execution, completeness of shape, and so monumental and decorative. You completely understand the form of objects."
Both paintings are expected to make £700,000-900,000 ($1.1m-1.4m) in the Russian Sale. Also featuring is another Serebriakova piece of a topless woman, following de Brouwer's request for the artist to "paint nudes of beautiful Moroccan women" on her travels. It is expected to bring £400,000-600,000 ($647,012-970,479).
Russian art has enjoyed great success at auction recently, stimulated by the growing wealth of the country since the collapse of communism. Sotheby's Russian Works of Art sale achieved $4.7m in New York on April 18. Be sure to check back with Paul Fraser Collectibles for the results of this sale and more news from the art world.