Alexis Tiesenhausen, International Specialist and Head of the Russian Art Department, London:
We are thrilled that the undisputed masterpiece, Valentin Serov's Portrait of Maria Zetlin, sold for the extraordinary sum of £9.2 million, smashing the auction record for the artist and setting a new world record for the most expensive painting ever sold in a Russian art sale. Portrait of Aleksandr Tikhonov by Yuri Annenkov sold for an impressive £4 million, marking the third time that this exceptional portrait has made a world record for the artist at Christie's. We are now seeing Russian masterpieces achieving the prices they deserve on the international stage. The Russian Works of Art section, led by a Fabergé study of cornflower sold for £314,500, performed very well across all categories, demonstrating the maturity and resilience of this market. Rare items with exceptional provenance continue to generate competitive bidding internationally. This sale demonstrates a 22% increase on November 2013, which had achieved £16.8 million; we look forward to our next sale in June 2015.