Auction houses stop Russian art sales as Russia-Ukraine war drags on: ‘Strict compliance’

In light of the Russia-Ukraine war, leading auction houses are pausing their Russian art sales and don’t have plans to participate in Russian Art Week this summer.

The business decision has been made largely to comply with the sanctions that have been put on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

“Sotheby’s conducts business in strict compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, including global sanctions,” a spokesperson for Sotheby’s wrote in an email to FOX Business.

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“We are absolutely rigorous about following the present sanctions, and are monitoring closely for any updates to the lists.”

In this file photo from Oct. 19, 2011, a security guard (far left, foreground) sits next to a Tamara de Lempicka painting at a Sotheby’s Russian art preview, which took place at the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow. (REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov)

The British-founded fine art auctioneer went on to note that it maintains “a small administrative office in Moscow,” which is now closed. 

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Russian Art Week takes place in both June and November.

It’s a semi-annual art fair that’s held in London by Russian Art + Culture, an international platform that promotes Russian art and culture. 

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In addition to the message from Sotheby’s that it is pausing its Russian art sales, a spokesperson for Bonhams Fine Art Auctioneers & Valuers also told FOX Business that it has canceled the Russian art sale it had planned for Russian Art Week.

In this file photo from Nov. 27, 2009, a Sotheby’s auction house worker in London holds a Faberge jewelled gold and enamel cigarette case by Michael Perchin, which once belonged to Imperial Highness Maria Pavlovna and Grand Duchess Vladimir. (REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett)

Similarly, staff at Christie’s Fine Art Auctioneer will refrain from selling Russian art as the war drags on.

“While the current sales market for Christie’s in Russia as a whole is relatively small, we have a responsibility to respond to our clients’ needs and to geopolitical events that are out of our control,” Christie’s told Reuters.

So far, the June fair for Russian Art Week will still be held, according to Russian + Culture’s social media posts and website.

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The company is accepting submissions from Russian artists for its upcoming exhibition.

Countries around the world have placed trade sanctions on Russia as a means of discouraging the attacks on Ukraine. 

“During times like today artists express their views and emotions most vividly,” Russian Art + Culture wrote in a blog post on Friday, March 18. 

“We would like to announce an open call for works created as a response to the current situation in the world and the war in Ukraine.”

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A week earlier, the art and culture publication shared a post about a fundraising campaign called “True Russia — Support for Ukrainians,” which aims to raise money for humanitarian aid.

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and the war has forced more than 3.2 million people to flee Ukraine, according to data published by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Countries around the world have placed trade sanctions on Russia as a means of discouraging the attacks on Ukraine. 

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The U.S., Canada, U.K., European Union (including Germany, France, Italy), Iceland, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the Bahamas have placed sanctions on various Russian industries, including finance, private wealth, energy, technology and airlines. 

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These sanctions have been placed to target Russian oligarchs, companies, entities, military complexes, central banks and the government, according to Reuters.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/auction-houses-russian-art-sales-russia-ukraine-war

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