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Yusupov  «
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Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Olivier Coutau-Begarie to Auction Yusupov Treasures
Topic: Yusupov

This article was written by Paul Gilbert, Founder of Royal Russia © 2016

Personal items from the collections of Prince Felix Yusupov (1887-1967), and his wife Princess Irina Alexandrovna (1895-1970), granddaughter of Emperor Alexander III and only niece of Emperor Nicholas II, will be auctioned in Paris this Fall.

More than 120 items preserved for nearly 60 years in Mexico by Victor Manuel Contreras, one of Mexico's best-known sculptors. Of particular note is the regalia worn by Prince Felix Yusupov at the Eglington Ball, held in London on July 11, 1912 - seen in the photo above.

In 1958 Contreras met the Countess Ksenia Sheremetyeva in Paris, the granddaughter of the famous Russian aristocratic couple. She invited him to lunch, where the aspiring Mexican sculptor met Prince and Princess Yusupov for the first time.

The young artist was invited to live at the Yusupov's home in the 16th arrondissement of Paris, and he spent the next five years there. He described his relationship with the prince as that of an adopted son and his father. The family used to introduce him to friends as "the son who fell to us from heaven."

For more information on Victor Conteras, please refer to the following article:

From Mexico, With Love: Russian Art and Rasputin

The auction will take place in Paris, November 4, 2016

Click on the link below to read an 8-page press release (in French) which includes a selection of the items up for auction:

Olivier Coutau-Begarie Press Release

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 26 July, 2016


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:37 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2016 8:25 AM EDT
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Saturday, 6 June 2015
Arkhangelskoye Presents Two 18th Century Ceremonial Carriages from the Yusupov Collection
Topic: Yusupov

One of the two Yusupov carriages currently on display at Arkhangelskoye
On May 16th, the Arkhangelskoye Museum-Estate near Moscow presented two 18th-century ceremonial carriages from the Yusupov collection. During the past three years, the restoration of these historic carriages was carried out for the very first time. The restoration included state of the art engineering innovations and unique decoration - gold leaf, wood carving. 

One of the coaches was made in the 1720s in Germany, the other in the 1770s. The latter belonged to the Empress Catherine II, and later by Emperor Nicholas I. After the coronation of Nicholas I in 1826, the emperor presented it to Prince N. B. Yusupov. The beautifully decorated carriages reflect the excellent workmanship of the 18th century, which restorers referred to as the “beauty of art in motion.” Their beauty and craftsmanship rival those seen in museums in Europe.

During the Soviet years, the carriages were exhibited in the carriage house pavilion on the estate. Sadly, however, the building fell into disrepair, and is now under threat of roof collapse. The museum has plans to restore the carriage house pavilion, among other buildings on the vast Yusupov estate.

The Yusupov carriages will be on display in the halls of the palace at Arkhangelskoye until June 2016 

It is interesting to note that in the past week, the founder of the Museum of Technology Vadim Zadorozhniy was appointed as the new director of the Arkhangelskoye Museum-Estate. Former director Andrei Gagarin resigned as director on June 2 for health reasons. Zadorozhniy welcomes his new appointment of one of Moscow’s most promising private museums, vowing to turn the former Yusupov estate into “a new Versailles”. 
© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 06 June, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:11 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 6 June 2015 7:55 AM EDT
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Saturday, 14 February 2015
Prince Felix Yusupov Archives Return to Russia
Topic: Yusupov

Opulent jewels, letters and historic photographs collected by the family of Prince Felix Yusupov have been donated to the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow by Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg. The collection was bought at the Coutou-Begarie auction house in Paris last November for 500,000 Euros ($570,000 USD). In 2004, Vekselberg established The Link of Times Cultural and Historical foundation, a non-profit charitable organization. In 2013, he established the Fabergé Museum in the former Shuvalov Palace, situated on the Fontanka Canal in St. Petersburg. 

The Yusupov Archives will be on display at the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg beginning Sunday, February 15th. The exhibit will run until April, at which time it will be transferred to the State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF) in Moscow. Unique photos, documents and valuables never before exhibited, moreover, their existence does not know even the scientists. The exhibition will run until March 29. Then all the exhibits will join the imperial collection of the State Archive of Russia.

Click on the link below to read the full article in Royal Russia News, plus watch a video of the opening of the exhibit at the Fabergé Museum in St. Petersburg on Friday, February 13th + view 30 photographs from the exhibit and the Yusupov archives: 


© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 14 February, 2015


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 3:34 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 15 February 2015 4:43 AM EST
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Tuesday, 28 October 2014
Correspondences & Archives of Prince Felix Yusupov to be Auctioned in Paris
Topic: Yusupov

The Coutou-Begarie auction house in Paris will host an important Russian art sale on Friday, November 14, 2014. Featured are an important set of more than 1300 letters and historical documents, coming from the Prince Felix Yusupov (1887-1967) and his wife the Princess Irina of Russia (1895-1970), concerning the death of Rasputin, the end of the Romanovs and the exile of the Imperial Family of Russia. 

Our next historical sale will take place as part of the Centenary of the Great War and will showcase a famous and macabre historic page of Imperial Russia. It concerns the murder of Gregory Rasputin (1869-1916), orchestrated by Prince Felix Yusupov (1887-1967), Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich (1891-1941) and three accomplices, on the evening of December 30, 1916.
The archives that we offer for sale come directly from the Prince Yusupov and were recently found in a cellar of a Parisian apartment, where they slept for 45 years. This set traces the precise proceedings of this event and its consequences on the Imperial Family and on Russia, by highlighting new details remained unknown until then. 

In addition to the story established by Nicholas Sokoloff (judge in charge of the investigation on the execution of Nicholas II and his family), collected from the mouth of the Prince on May 16, 1921, about its role and the reasons for his involvement in the murder of Rasputin (est: 3/5 000 €), we find the correspondence between the Grand Duke Dimitri Pavlovich and Prince Felix Yusupov (est. 2/3 000 €) ; the handwritten statement of the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, signed March 15, 1917 (est. 2/3 000 €) and that of his brother, the Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, dated March 16, 1917 (est. 2/3 000 €) ; the complete correspondence consisting of several hundred letters between Prince Felix and his wife Princess Irina of Russia, niece of Emperor Nicholas II, dating from 1914 to 1960 (est. 4/6 000 € per lot) ; all the correspondence of the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (1875-1960) and of her husband Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich of Russia (1866-1933) with their daughter, Princess Irina, dating from 1912 to 1960, referring to the political events of this period, the Russian Revolution, the imprisonment and murder of the Imperial Family, the departure into exile of the Romanovs, the disappearance of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, etc. (est. 3/6 000 € per lot) ; several handwritten diaries including that of Prince Felix Yusupov and that of his mother Princess Zenaida Yusupov, about the life and tragic death of Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovna, massacred by the Bolsheviks in 1918 (est. 2/3 000 € per lot ) ; but also a large number of letters exchanged by members of the Imperial Family, including the Empress Maria Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna, Grand Duke Kyril Wladimirovich and several members of the branch of the Mikhailovich (est. 4/600 € each). Will also be on sale albums of photographs highlighting this period (est. 2/3 000 € each), several autographed photographic portraits of members of the Imperial Family (est. 4/600 € each). One of the most touching lot is undoubtedly this book reported by judge Sokoloff, used by Emperor Nicholas II during his captivity in Ekaterinburg in the last weeks of his life, before he and his family were horribly murdered on the night from 16 to 17 July 1918 (est. 3/5 000 €). But the most important souvenir of all is the unique Bible of Empress Maria Feodorovna, entirely annotated with her own hand (est. 15/20 000 €). 
Furthermore, the sale will include several important works of art belonging to the Imperial Family, as the silver-gilt seal of Princess Irina (est. 3/5 000 €), a rock-crystal seal with the Yusupov arms (est. 4/6 000 €), and an important and rare enamelled silver icon by Ovchinnikov, gift to the Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna for her wedding in 1894 (est. 80/100 000 €). 
© Coutou-Begarie Press Release. 28 October, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:46 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 28 October 2014 3:37 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 13 August 2014
The Yusupov Palace on the Moika: In the Shadow of Rasputin
Topic: Yusupov

The Yusupov Palace on the Moika is a reminder of St. Petersburg’s opulence during tsarist times
Copyright Notice: The following article was originally published in the August 13th, 2014 edition of the The St. Petersburg Times. The authors Irina Titova and Gus Peters, own the copyright of the work presented below.

St. Petersburg’s Yusupov Palace is a gilded example of aristocratic St. Petersburg but it is best known these days for being where Grigory Rasputin, the Siberian monk who rose to prominence as a confidante of the Romanovs during the reign of the last Russia tsar Nicholas II, was murdered.

The royal family came under Rasputin’s spell when he began to minister to Alexei, Nicholas’s young son. Alexei suffered from hemophilia, a closely-guarded secret among the royal family, and Rasputin seemed at times miraculously able to control the child’s bleeding. The tsarina, Alexandra, soon came to believe that without Rasputin her son would die. At the same time Rasputin was accused of scandalous misdeeds, including rape, and of having too much political control over the royal family.

As a result, a number of people tired of Rasputin’s influence and conspired to murder him.

One of the leading conspirators was Prince Felix Yusupov, who belonged to one of Russia’s most recognized noble dynasties. The sole heir to a massive fortune, the young prince used to dress in women’s clothes and masquerade about the restaurants and clubs of St. Petersburg. One particular story about his cross-dressing exploits claims that King Edward VII of England tried to make his acquaintance while he was dressed as a woman. Despite his feminine behavior, he married a niece of Nicholas II.

The basement room in which Rasputin was entertained in the Moika palace,
as well as a waxworks exhibit of Rasputin and Prince Yusupov is now part of a guided tour
On a cold December night in 1916, Yusupov, who hated Rasputin but faked a friendship with him, lured the healer to his palace on the Moika River under the pretext of meeting his wife, who Rasputin was curious to meet with. Irina was actually out of town at that time and instead there waiting for him was a group of Yusupov’s associates.

Felix Yusupov first offered Rasputin cakes and drinks laced with cyanide. However, Rasputin was unaffected by the poison, which was seen as another sign of Rasputin’s seemingly supernatural powers. Experts later said the sweet food most likely had a neutralizing effect on the cyanide. The conspirators then beat and eventually shot Rasputin several time, but this also did not kill the man. The desperate murderers then dumped the man into the icy water of the Neva River. Rasputin’s body was later found and autopsied; the results showing that the final cause of his death was from drowning.

The assassination happened in the part of the Yusupov Palace where the duke lived with his wife. Today those rooms are home to a historical exhibition that details the event, including wax figures of Rasputin, Yusupov and the four other conspirators, outlining the dramatic night.

In 1919, the remaining Yusupovs, Felix Yusupov, his wife, their daughter Irina and his parents, immigrated to Western Europe. In 1925, the palace, which had been owned by five generations by then (from 1830 to 1917), was given to the pedagogical intelligentsia of the city. Felix Yusupov would eventually die in Paris in 1967, nearly half a century after leaving Russia.

Today, the Yusupov Palace is a relic of the St. Petersburg nobility that has kept not only the grand apartments, picture gallery halls and a miniature home theater in pristine condition but also the luxurious dwellings of the family. 
© Irina Titova and Gus Peters / St. Petersburg Times. 13 August, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 5:46 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 13 August 2014 6:51 AM EDT
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Thursday, 2 January 2014
Russian Court Upholds Protected Status of Arkhangelskoye
Topic: Yusupov

View from the terrace of the Yusupov Palace at Arkhangelskoye estate
The Supreme Court has overturned a decision by the Moscow region government to allow construction on environmentally protected land of the Arkhangelskoye estate, an area that VTB and Sintez might want to develop.

The court ruling Friday marked the first lawsuit against the regional government won by local residents, Vedomosti reported.

"An attempt to seize protected land for construction has fallen through," said Yevgeny Sosedov, chairman of the Moscow chapter of the All-Russian Association for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Landmarks.

The Supreme Court upheld the ruling that the Moscow Region Court handed down in September to rescind three orders by former Moscow region Governor Boris Gromov that rezoned the land in question for construction. Those were some of the last orders that Gromov signed before he stepped down in May 2012.

The court acted on a complaint from 23 individuals who own parcels of the land.

One of the real estate developers that announced plans to build housing on the territory was Sinergo Development, which was going to build $3 billion worth of upscale apartments in a project it named Barvikha Island. It planned to start in 2007 but the company folded and, according to the RBC news wire, its assets passed to a company called Sintez Development.

Vedomosti also earlier reported that some of the 430 hectares of the land ended up at state-controlled VTB, the country's second-largest bank. A spokesperson for the bank declined comment. 
© The Moscow Times. 02 January, 2014


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:33 PM EST
Updated: Thursday, 2 January 2014 12:38 PM EST
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Thursday, 19 September 2013
Famous Romanov Couture to be Relaunched in Paris
Topic: Yusupov

 Princess Irina Yusupova, daughter of Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna, with her husband, Prince Felix Yusupov

One of the oldest French couture houses, Maison Irfé, is making a comeback with a show during Paris Fashion Week. The house has been re-launched by a new creative director, designer Olga Sorokina, who discovered the house and was inspired by its history.

Maison Irfé was founded in Paris in 1924 by Prince Felix Yusupov and his wife Princess Irina - the irresistibly beautiful niece of Tsar Nicholas II and granddaughter of Tsar Alexander III.  The Yusupovs founded the couture house Irfé, named after the first two letters of their first names. Irina modeled some of the dresses the pair and other designers at the firm created.  The label expanded rapidly from its original Parisian atelier, opening three new branches in Normandy, London and Berlin. With Irina as brand ambassador and muse, the popularity of the fashion pieces increased and the label soon launched a line of limited-edition fragrances created for four categories of women - blondes, brunettes, redheads and silver haired women.

As a nod to the founders, this week’s debut show coincides with the 400th anniversary of the House of Romanov, the last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia, which began its reign in 1613. The show will take place at Paris Fashion Week on Thursday September 26 at 12.30 pm - and will be attended by Xenia Sphiris, Irina and Felix's granddaughter, whose blessing Sorokina obtained before reviving the label. 
© Vogue and Royal Russia. 19 September, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 8:04 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 19 September 2013 2:21 PM EDT
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Saturday, 8 June 2013
New Life for Arkhangelskoye
Now Playing: Language: Russian. Duration: 2 minutes, 24 seconds
Topic: Yusupov



After being closed for nearly 30 years, the palace-estate complex of the Yusupov family at Arkhangelskoye (situated about 20 km west of Moscow) has once again opened its doors to visitors.

Arkhangelskoye is a perfect example of an historical monument reflecting several eras of Imperial Russia. Rich in history, the estate has retained the main features of the old manor building, and various other buildings scattered throughout the vast park. The characteristic features of several artistic styles are united to reveal its classic foundation.

In the early 1980s, a decision was made to carry out a complex repair and restoration work around the manor complex, and therefore, in November 1985 the palace was closed to visitors, and the museum began work in preparation for the upcoming restoration. The work lasted only two years.  The staff was reduced to 18, the exhibits moved to temporary storage. The restoration costs were disproportionately higher than the funding received from government coffers. Therefore, the museum began to work on the restoration of the vast park surrounding the palace. Today, it is considered one of the finest parks not only Moscow but also Russia. 

A qualitatively new stage in the history of the museum began in January 1997 when, in accordance with a decree of the Russian Federation, "On measures for the preservation and further use of the historical and cultural monuments at Arkhangelskoye in the Moscow region," the Arkhangelskoye Museum-Estate was transferred from the Ministry of Defence to the Ministry of Culture, and received the new status and the official title of "Arkhangelskoye State Museum-Estate".

Views of the cermonial halls restored in 2007

After the restoration of several palace interiors in the spring of 2007 - the museum was able to open for the first trial show tour during the summer season. Visitors got their first look at three ceremonial halls - Entrance Hall, Antechamber and the Oval Room.

Since then there has been ongoing restoration of the state rooms located on the first floor of the palace, including: the State Dining Room, Tiepolo Hall, North Hall, Antique Hall, South Hall, front bedroom, and the Imperial Hall.

On May 31st, 2013, after years of restoration the Arkhangelskoye State Museum-Estate  unveiled the next room - the Main Dining Room. The multi-style decor which includes Egyptian frescoes and chandeliers, as well as a collection of rare Japanese and Chinese vases is both spectacular and elegant. 

While the palace is now officially open, the parmount task of the museum will now be the preparation and opening of more rooms, with several planned for this summer. Now comes the hard work: the restoration of paintings, frames, objets d'art and furniture which will fill the rooms of the palace-museum. Much of this work will be carried out by experts selected by an advisory board. Their restoration will be based on old photographs which depict the interiors as they looked before the Revolution. 

On a more personal note, I have been travelling to Moscow since 1986, a year after Arkhangelskoye closed its doors. I have visited the estate on several occasions over the years only to find it closed and falling into a sad state of disrepair. I look forward to my next visit to Moscow in which Arkhangelskoye will be on my list of places to visit. I look forward to seeing yet another fine example of the Yusupov legacy.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 08 June, 2013


Posted by Paul Gilbert at 7:54 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 22 December 2017 4:40 PM EST
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Tuesday, 15 May 2012
Court Blocks Efforts to Build at Arkhangelskoye
Topic: Yusupov


The Moscow Region Arbitration Court on Friday dismissed a lawsuit brought by Oblstroiuniversal against the Cadastral Chamber of the Moscow Region, a division of the Federal Service for State Registration, Cadastre and Cartography.

The company leases 20 hectares of forestland in the park attached to Arkhangelskoye Museum and wanted to deprive the land of its conservation status, which prohibits any construction on it.

The site dates to the 18th century and surrounds the well-known Gonzago Theater.

The park, which has a total area of 46 hectares, was leased to three private companies for "health and fitness purposes" in 2004. In 2008, the agreements were rewritten for "recreational purposes" with the right to build. Tenants planned construction, in spite of restrictions stemming from the site's historical status in cadastral records.

"To overcome that obstacle the tenants filed suit," said Yevgeny Sosedov, deputy head of the Moscow region branch of the All-Russia Society for the Preservation of Historical and Cultural Monuments.

"Removal of restrictions from the state cadastre … would really free their hands," added Alexei Konevsky, head of land law, real estate and construction practice at the Pepeliaev Group law firm.

In addition to Oblstroiuniversal, the other two tenants at Arkhangelskoye had filed similar suits. On March 1, the Moscow Region Arbitration Court ruled in favor of Erlik Group, which rents 20 hectares. But on March 11, the same court dismissed the suit brought by the Park Arkhangelskoye company, which rents the 6 hectares of forestland around Gonzago Theater. Park Arkhangelskoye has not appealed that decision.

Construction in protected historical and cultural areas is a frequent subject of dispute in Russian arbitration courts, Konevsky said.

"However, tenants rarely win in such disputes, only if there is something wrong with the documents establishing the land's conservation status," he said.

The owners as well as the tenants of Arkhangelskoye are fighting for the land. The Defense Ministry, which previously owned 20.67 hectares of land since 2005, sold it at auction to Gradostroi, owned by businessman Viktor Kiselyov, for 754.5 million rubles ($25 million).

A day later, Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev asked Prosecutor General Yury Chaika to halt the sale, since a 1996 government decree transferred Arkhangelskoye and the territory surrounding it to the museum in perpetuity.

In March, the Moscow Region Arbitration Court found the auction of the land in the protected area illegal. The Defense Ministry has filed an appeal.

© The Moscow Times. 15 May, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 6:31 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Illegal Construction Carried out in Arkhangelskoye Estate
Topic: Yusupov


A modern building is planned to be erected at the territory of the Arkhangelskoye memorial estate in Moscow.

Builders have dug a huge ditch just several hundred meters away from the Arkhangelskoye Palace, and drove heavy construction equipment and delivered building materials to the protected zone.

This has been reported by the editor-in-chief of Our Heritage magazine Vladimir Enisherlov. According to him, "This territory represents the neighbourhood of two establishments: the memorial estate itself and a military sanatorium. The military sanatorium appeared there after the revolution, when Lev Trotsky seized Arkhangelskoye. Later, in the 1960s, a sports base hotel of the CSKA football team was built in less than one kilometer away from the palace. This base was demolished at the end of the last year. So, we all thought that now the Ministry of Defense would restore that part of Yusupov’s Park, where the base had been constructed. But just three days ago new construction was started there. They say that the House of Receptions of the Ministry of Defense will be built there”, reports Radio Kultura.

© Oreanda.Ru. 25 April, 2012

Posted by Paul Gilbert at 11:24 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 28 April 2012 11:32 AM EDT
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