Kate Swan described the auction of Russian paintings and works of art as very successful and said Vasily Vereshchagin's "Solomon's Wall," a painting of Jerusalem's Wailing Wall, was the top seller.
Painted in 1885 in Paris and estimated at between $3 million and $5 million, the picture went for $3.6 million to an unnamed Russian collector. The painting was first acquired by a wealthy American businessman and senator, George Hearst.
The second most expensive lot was a Faberge dwarf statue, which went for $1.4 million to an anonymous collector.
"Grand Canyon, Arizona" (1921) by Nikolai Roerich, most famous for his depictions of the Himalaya Mountains, was estimated at about $400,000 and was also bought by a Russian, as was his "Sanctuaries and Citadels" (1925), depicting a Buddhist monastery in northern India, for about the same price.
Boris Grigoryev's "Russian Peasant Woman" (1923) estimated at between $300,000 and $500,000 was sold to Britain.
Other pictures put up for auction in New York included "The Portrait of Emperor Paul I" attributed to Dmitry Levitsky from the family collection of Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia and valued at $100,000-$150,000, and Konstantin Makovsky's "Three Dancers" valued at $500,000.
Christie's put up Russian paintings for sale following the unprecedented success of Russian art sales at Sotheby's, its longtime rival, in New York Monday and Tuesday. Sales at Sotheby's yielded $51 million, which equals almost their entire sales for 2006.
Alexis Tiesenhausen, who heads Christie's Russian department, said Thursday the yield had well exceeded the house's pre-auction expectations of $10 million, and he and his colleagues looked forward to the next auction in London June 13.
Christie's has held the greater market share against Sotheby's for several years and is currently the world's largest auction house by revenues.
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