Graduation oil painting by artist who worked on Diaghilev set designs soars to six figures

'Adam and Eve', an oil on canvas of 1909 by Boris Anisfeld – $105,000 (£91,305) at Shapiro Auctions.

An early work by Boris Anisfeld titled ‘Adam and Eve’ made one of the highest prices in the Russian paintings and works of art auction at Shapiro (25% buyer’s premium) in New York

Extracted from Antiques Trade Gazette | Anne Crane

The large signed oil on canvas, 8ft 9in x 10ft 5in (2.67 x 3.17m), had been estimated at $20,000-30,000 but realised no less than $105,000 (£91,305).

Theatre set designer

Russian-born Anisfeld (1878-1973), who received his artistic training in Odessa and St Petersburg, was an artist and a set designer for the theatre. In the early years of the 20th century he met the impresario Diaghilev and worked in Paris on set designs for his ballets before he moved to the US in 1918 where he lived until his death in 1973.

Adam and Eve was a popular subject with Anisfeld.

This particular painting, which is included in the catalogue raisonné on the artist, was the actual work Anisfield submitted as his graduation piece to the Imperial Academy of Arts in St Petersburg in 1909 and featured in the High Art School exhibition at the Academy in that year.

The painting had a provenance to the artist’s estate and then a private New York collection. The auction house reckoned that there were around 30 bidders on the lot before it was finally sold to a private buyer.

The sale took place on March 21.