London Art Auctions Target Russia’s Growing Middle Classes

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Vasily Polenov - "Boat on the River" - Oil on canvas, 67 by 116 cm. - Estimate 450,000-650,000 pounds.

LONDON (REUTERS).-
Auctioneers are targeting the former Soviet Union’s growing middle
classes, as
well as ultra-wealthy oligarchs, at a twice-yearly series of Russian art
sales
in London this week. Business tycoons from Russia and Ukraine have been
among
the biggest bidders in salerooms around the world for several years,
helping to
boost values for contemporary, modern, impressionist and Russian art.
And with
fine art prices hitting new records after a relatively brief slump
caused by the
global financial crisis, auction houses are quietly confident that the
appetite
for Russian paintings, manuscripts and works of art will be strong.