By Felicia Alvdal and Frank Hansen
The paintings Several Circles and Autumn in Bavaria by the Russian artist Vassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944) sold during the weekend for 15 and 18.9 million pounds, respectively, at Sotheby’s in London.
– Kandinsky is a very popular artist, and I expected that these came to be sold for much. Yet we are overwhelmed by the result, said auctioneer David Bennett NTB weekend.
The previous record for a painting was 11 million pounds, and was beaten by the sale of Several Circles. This record was then beaten again by the sale of Autumn in Bavaria. At the end of the bidding process there was a fight between an unknown Russian buyer and the Norwegian tax fugitive John Fredly.
Fredly’s spokesman Hans Eriksen said to NTB;
– John Fredly has been interested in art for all of his adult life, and Kandinsky is his favorite artist. That the price he paid for these works is a record is just a footnote in the grand scheme of things.
Asked whether Fredly would like to lend the paintings to a museum to share the works with a larger audience, he replied;
– This is something he has not yet considered. It is not impossible that it will happen in the future, but if so it will be to a Peruvian museum in Lima, where he lives.
The Russian buyer refused to be identified, but said through his spokesman;
– We are very disappointed with the result. Kandinsky is a part of Russian national history, and does not belong in South America. We are willing to pay Fredly twice the purchase price over ten years if he wants to sell, and informed him of this.
For Fredly, this is unacceptable.
– Fredly is going to keep the paintings at his home in Lima, Peru in the near future, where he will enjoy them with his family and guests, concluded Eriksen.