Sotheby's has seen excellent results for an important archive relating to the work of director Andrei Tarkovsky, which was sold in London yesterday (November 28).
The archive will return to Russia after a fierce bidding war that pushed it far past its �100,000 high estimate, achieving a 1,397% increase. It sold for �1.4m ($2.3m), as the only collection of Tarkovsky's work to ever have appeared at auction.
Tarkovsky (1932-1986) is considered the most important Russian filmmaker of the 20th century, next to Sergei Eisenstein (Battleship Potemkin). He is noted for his surreal productions that, according to Sotheby's, "marked a turning point in the history of world cinematography".
The British Film Institute included three of his works in its 50 greatest films list, and the Guardian newspaper named his Andrei Rublev the best arthouse film of all time.
Containing the filmmaker's theoretical writings, letters and photographs, the archive spanned Tarkovsky's career from 1967-1986. Consigned by Olga Surkova - his pupil and co-author of the book Sculpting in Time - it sheds new light on his working processes and includes autographed drafts of several chapters from the seminal work.
One of the most intruiguing items is a letter that Tarkovsky sent to President Leonid Brezhev, arguing his right to work within the Soviet Union. The letter had no effect and Tarkovsky left Russia in 1984 with his films banned under the Communist government. He died in Paris in 1986.
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