Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Man sells 'worthless' painting by Russian artist Ivan Aivazovsky for more than $1m

A RUSSIAN painting considered worthless by its owner, a former lumberjack who almost donated it to charity, sold for $1.1 million at a Swedish auction. The painting, which had been left to the man by his wife and was hanging on his wall for almost a decade, turned out to be an 1858 work by Russian master Ivan Aivazovsky entitled "The Battle of Bomarsund", reported The Local yesterday.

The Local reported the unidentified elderly man, a onetime lumberjack who earned his education through correspondence courses, was downsizing to a new home and sent a small Stockholm auction house several boxes of unwanted goods, along with a large canvas.

On a note he had written, "Will you accept these things? Sell what you can and leave the rest to the Red Cross!"

The painting was put up for auction on the internet with a starting price in the $1,200-$1500 range, but when activity around the painting exceeded expectations, the head of the auction house decided to seek expert advice.
Enter the Uppsala Auction House, known for selling a number of Russian objects, which in turn contacted its own specialists.

When the painting was authenticated as a genuine work by the Russian master, Knut Knutson of the auction house, went to see the owner in person to deliver the news that the expected price would be a bit higher than originally thought.

Knutson, who has traveled the country as part of the Swedish version of "Antiques Roadshow," began by saying, "We are thinking of a starting price of five or six... " he told The Local, and the owner interrupted him saying "surely, you don't mean five or six hundred thousand (kronor) do you?"

When Knutson replied, "No, actually I mean five or six million…", the atmosphere in the room turned "electric," he said.


  1. Wow... Wish I got a bit of luck like this lol

  2. never know what treasures you have hidden away amongst your garbage