Topic: Alexander III
Photo Credit: Stair Galleries
An attic treasure soared to a record price in 15 minutes during intense bidding in a packed sales room in Hudson, New York, on October 26th. The rare Fabergé Imperial figure ultimately sold to a phone bidder for $5.2 million (hammer price; $5,980,000 with fees) against a pre-sale auction estimate of $500,000 to $800,000. The last of such hardstone figures sold for $1.8 million in 2005, at Sotheby’s, New York.
Nicholas II commissioned Fabergé to produce the portrait figure of N.N.Pustynnikov, the personal Cossack bodyguard (Kamer-Kazak, or Chamber-Cossack) to the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, and also a second figure, of the Kamer-Kazak to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, in 1912.
Discovered in an attic by the executor of a Rhinebeck, NY, estate, the figure was purchased at Hammer Galleries, in Manhattan, by Mr. George Davis in December 1934, and had been in the same family ever since. The figure was known to collectors, but the whereabouts was unknown until 2 months ago.
The total number of Fabergé hardstone carvings of human figures produced by Fabergé is probably no more than fifty. They are therefore extremely rare, on a level of rarity with the Imperial Easter Eggs, and the portrait figures, depictions of known historical persons rather than simply "types," are rarer still. Very few portrait figures were produced by Fabergé.
The piece was purchased by Wartski, the famed London based jeweler, who are the jewelers to the Queen of England. They specialize in Russian pieces, most notably Fabergé. It’s not clear if they were purchasing it for stock or a private client. According to the London firm, “the purchase of the figure is a continuation of our long running tradition of acquiring Imperial Russian Works of Art. Wartski were Armand Hammer's prime rivals in the 1920's and 1930's in buying the confiscated Imperial treasures from the Soviet government. We have over the years owned twenty of these rare hardstone figures, as well as a dozen of the legendary Imperial Fabergé Easter Eggs.”
© ARTFix Daily. 30 October, 2013
For more information and photos on this exhibition, please refer to the following article on our blog;
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 29 October, 2013
Progress on the fifth issue of our official magazine, Royal Russia Annual is well under way and scheduled to go to the printers in January 2014.
Included in this issue will be the following full-length articles:
A Life of Servitude: Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna of Oldenburg
- Irene W. Galaktionova takes an in-depth look into the life of Grand Duchess Alexandra Petrovna (1838-1900), wife of the Grand Duke Nicholas Nikolayevich, Senior (1831-1891), and the mother of the Grand Dukes Nicholas Nikolayevich, Junior (1856-1929), and Peter Nikolayevich (1864-1931). After the breakup of her marriage, she retired from Court life to become a nun in 1889. Alexandra Petrovna died at Kievo Pechersky Monastery in Kiev on 25 April 1900, when she was 61.
Finland Under the Tsars. An Uneasy Relationship
- Coryne Hall writes about the association between the Tsars of Russia and Finland from the reign of Alexander I to Nicholas II, with particular emphasis on the visits the Tsars paid there (both official and on their holidays).
My Russia: The Petrovsky Travelling Palace, Moscow
- Paul Gilbert writes about the history of the Petrovsky Travelling Palace in Moscow. The palace has a fascinating history as the final stop for Russia’s sovereigns before their entry into Moscow for their coronations. Seven emperors and empresses of Russia (Catherine II to Nicholas II) stayed here, and one unwelcome emperor of France, Napoleon Bonaparte in 1812. Contemporary notes on the restoration of the palace are based on the author’s recent visit to the palace in October 2013. Richly illustrated with photographs by Paul Gilbert.
Remnants of Empire: The Estates of Russia and What Became of Them
- Jason Grant writes about the history and fate of the country retreats of Russia’s aristocracy, and includes many of his own photographs.
The Lilacs of Tsarskoye Selo
- Ekaterina Eparinova offers a charming history of the lilac at Tsarskoye Selo, the favourite bloom of the last Russian empress, Alexandra Feodorovna.
Note: this is just a partial list of the full-length articles scheduled to be published in this issue and is subject to change without notice.
Royal Russia Annual No. 5 will also include 2 collections of rare and vintage photographs:
Frozen in Time featuring photographic memories of the Russian Imperial family
The Lost World of Imperial Russia featuring vintage photographs of Imperial Russia before the Revolution
Royal Russia Annual No. 5 (Winter 2014) will be available in February 2014. Watch for our advertisements in upcoming issues of Majesty and Russian Life magazines.
Please NOTE that we are NOT accepting any pre-orders for this title at this time.
© Gilbert's Books. 27 October, 2013