Russian Premier in New York

April 21, 2005 Sotheby’s will hold its first combined auction
of Russian Paintings and Works of Art in New York. The auction
will feature a rediscovered masterpiece by Konstantin Makovsky
in addition to other newly discovered works by Boris Grigoriev
and Zinaida Serebriakova. Breathtaking Kremlin views by Vassili
Vereshchagin and Sergei Vinogradov, a strong selection of marine
scenes by Ivan Aivazovsky and Impressionistic vistas by Konstantin
Gorbatov will also be included. Highlighting the applied arts
in the sale is a group of four important Fabergé hardstone
figures from the Charles R. Wood Foundation, Glens Falls, New
York. Very rarely seen at auction, these figures range in estimate
from $400,000 to $800,000 each. Prior to the auction on April
21st, the works will be on public exhibition from April 16-20,
2005 at Sotheby’s galleries in New York.

Pictured above right:
Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky, Judgment of Paris Est. $750,000/1.1


Highlighting the section of Russian Paintings is a rediscovered
masterpiece entitled Judgment of Paris (pictured above right)
by Konstantin Egorovich Makovsky (1839-1915). At some point
in the 1920s, the present work entered the collection of the
Pabst Brewing Company, where it will have remained for 80 years
until its auction appearance at Sotheby’s this April. The canvas,
by the great 19th-century Russian painter Konstantin Makovsky,
measures an impressive 244 by 396 cm (96 by 154 in.). After
its creation, Judgment of Paris was exhibited at the 1889 Paris
World’s Fair, where it earned the artist a coveted gold medal
as well as the prestigious Legion of Honor. It captivated the
American jeweler Charles William Schumann, a longtime collector
of Makovsky’s work, who purchased the painting directly from
Makovsky and exhibited it alongside the artist’s famous Boyar
Wedding in his jewelry store on the corner of Broadway and 22nd
Street in New York City. Schumann intended his Russian and European
art collection to ‘promote the development of American culture’.
Estimated at $750,000/1.1 million, the present work is the largest
and most historically important composition by Makovsky to appear
at auction.

Also included is a striking canvas depicting sailors loitering
in a harbor café in the Mediterranean port of Marseilles
by Boris Dmitievich Grigoriev (1886-1939). After working tirelessly
on his monumental Faces of Russia cycle, Boris Grigoriev traveled
through France and turned his attention to the cafés
around Marseilles, populated by sailors, fishermen and other
members of the working class. Grigoriev created a captivating
series of drawings and paintings chronicling dislocated souls
passing their days playing cards, drinking absinthe, and partaking
in the local entertainment. Drawings and paintings from this
series were published in Boui Bouis, 1924. Sailors at a Café
is estimated to sell for $200/300,000.

A regal Portrait of Vera Fokine by Zinaida Evgenievna Serebriakova
(1884-1967) is another outstanding highlight. The present portrait
of dancer and wife of the profoundly influential choreographer,
dancer and artist Michel Fokine comes to auction directly from
the Fokine family. Mich el Fokine’s innovative choreography revolutionized
20th-century ballet. Vera Fokine was a character dancer with
the Mariinsky Theater before she married Michel Fokine. She
participated in Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes and taught in Fokine’s
studio in New York. Measuring 35 by 50 ins., the present work
is estimated to sell for $200/300,000. A further homage to Vera
Fokine by the great, Russian Impressionist Konstantin Korovine
is another outstanding highlight in the sale.

The Unknown Singer by Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947) appears
on the market for the first time in eighty-five years. Roerich
executed the present painting in England in 1920, and by 1924
it was featured in a Corona Mundi (the international art center
founded by Roerich in 1922) publication on the artist’s work.
The Unknown Singer belongs to a series of paintings in which
Roerich explores the spiritual journey of man. The poem that
accompanies the work was published in Tsvety Morii or The Flowers
of Morya in 1921. This small volume featured sixty-four poems
written by Roerich between 1907 and 1921. Having descended in
a Private Collection, The Unknown Singer is estimated to sell
for $120/180,000.

left: An Important Fabergé Hardstone Figure of an Officer
of the Imperial Horse Guards Est. $400/600,000

Works of Art

Sotheby’s Russian sale will also feature an impressive selection
of decorative and precious objects highlighted by four important
hardstone figures by Fabergé from the Charles R. Wood
Foundation. Pioneer of the American amusement park and noted
philanthropist from Upstate New York, the late Mr. Wood spent
a lifetime developing ways for people to have fun, but perhaps
his most lasting legacy is his generosity and commitment to
the community. He was an active board member and contributor
to numerous healthcare and arts organizations. In 1993, Charles
Wood teamed up with Paul Newman to establish the Double "H"
Hole in the Woods Ranch, a 300-acre camp for children facing
life-threatening diseases situated on the shore of Lake Vanare
in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The Ranch welcomes seriously
ill children from age 6 to 16 at no cost to them or their families.
Here, these children have endless opportunities to enjoy themselves
– from arts and crafts to hiking, horseback riding, whitewater
rafting and skiing – under the careful observation of a dedicated
team of medical experts. Mr. Wood’s generosity continues after
his passing as 100% of the proceeds of this auction will go
to benefit the many charitable endeavors of the Charles R. Wood
Foundation. Fabergé is thought to have only made about
60 of these charming hardstone figures and they are rarely seen
at auction. Included is a Boyar (est. $600/800,000), which is
a depiction of a figure who ranked among the top echelons of
Russian society prior to the 18th-century; a Ukrainian Peasant
(est. $400/600,000); a St. Petersburg Policeman (est. $500/700,000);
and an Officer of the Imperial Horse Guards (est. $400/600,000).
Three of them were from the collection of the late Sir William
Seeds and were last exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum
in 1977 on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee.

April sale will also feature an outstanding selection of Russian
applied art, including silver, porcelain and enamels from the
Charles Pankow Collection. Included is an extraordinary 30-piece
presentation tea and coffee set of gilded silver by Sazikov,
which was the property of Grand Duke Konstantin Nicholaevich
(est. $200/300,000), and two silver and enamel pictorial boxes
by Feodor Rückert. Also among this collection are five
porcelain military plates from the Imperial porcelain Manufactory
in St. Petersburg, each estimated at $40/60,000.

Pictured right: A Russian Porcelain
Military PlateImperial Porcelain Manufactory, St. Petersburg,
Period of Nicholas I Est. $40/60,000

A wonderful selection of porcelain from other owners rounds
out the sale, including porcelain from the Kremlin service,
Raphael service and Imperial Order of St. Vladimir service,
as well as other works by Fabergé including clocks, photograph
frames and desk accessories in gold, silver and enamel.

For more information visit WWW.SOTHEBYS.COM

Leave a Reply