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Russian Works of Art Features Exceptional Fabergé and Cloisonné Enamel Pieces

by WorthPoint Staff (04/12/12).

A silver-gilt Cloisonné and en plein enamel casket Mark of Feodor Rückert, Moscow, 1908-1917, is estimated to sell for between $200,000 and $300,000 in Christie’s sale of Russian Works of Art, set for April 16, 2012.

NEW YORK – Some of the strongest offerings of Russian cloisonné enamel to come to the market in years—including works by the master craftsman, Feodor Rückert and the house of Fabergé— will cross the auction block this month in competing sales at Christie’s and Sotheby’s.

First up is Christie’s sale of Russian Works of Art, set for April 16. The next day, Sotheby’s takes the stage with its sale, Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons.

The auction comprises fresh to the market works from distinguished European and American private collections and includes more than 175 lots of silver, enamels, objects of vertú, porcelain and bronzes, with a pre-sale estimate of $3 to $4.3 million.

Highlighting the exceptional section of cloisonné enamel is a silver-gilt cloisonné and en plein enamel casket by Feodor Rückert, from a Maryland private collection (it carries a presale estimate of $200,000-$300,000). An excellent example of Rückert’s late work in the Neo-Russian style, the cover panel of this exquisite casket depicts “Tsar Ivan the Terrible Admiring Vasilisa Malentieva,” after the painting by Grigory Sedov. Considered to be the artist’s masterwork, the original painting was executed in 1875 and now hangs in the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg.

Leading the works by Fabergé is a silver cloisonné and en plein enamel box (est. $180,000-$250,000), which is set with a fine enamel plaque depicting “Departure of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich for the Hunt,” after the painting by Victor Vasnetsov. The box is one of many lots of exceptional enamels from a New York private collection.

From Fabergé is a jeweled, three-color gold, silver-gilt and guilloche enamel desk clock by the workmaster Henrik Wigström. It carries a presale estimate of $150,000-$250,000.

The strong selection of Fabergé is also highlighted by a jeweled, three-color gold, silver-gilt and guilloche enamel desk clock by the workmaster Henrik Wigström that was presented to Baron Marochetti, the Italian ambassador in St. Petersburg between 1886 and 1900 (est. $150,000-$250,000). Other works by Fabergé in the sale include a jeweled, silver-gilt massive covered tankard by the workmaster Stefan Wäkevä from a Georgia private collection (est. $60,000-$80,000); a delicate jeweled, gold-mounted agate and diamond-set bonbonnière—a small, ornate box or dish for candy—by Wigström, from a private collection, Houston (est. $40,000-$60,000); and a jeweled parcel-gilt silver-mounted oak presentation desk that was presented to Allan Bowe, Peter Karl Fabergé’s business partner, by the employees of the firm’s Moscow branch to mark his retirement in 1906 (estimate: $25,000-$35,000).

A highlight from the Russian Imperial court is a jeweled gold maid of honor badge by the court jeweler Hahn (est. $70,000-$90,000). The badge was presented in 1904 to Countess Olga Alexandrovna Nieroth (b. 1876), maid of honor to Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, whose family had a distinguished record of military and civil service to the Russian empire.

Other sale highlights include a silver and cloisonné enamel vodka set by Rückert from a New York private collection (est. $60,000-$80,000), a silver and en plein enamel large kovsh (drinking vessel) retailed by Nemirov-Kolodkin from a Colorado private collection (est. $40,000-$60,000), as well as a wide selection of 19th-century bronzes from Evgeny Lanceray and Nikolai Lieberich.

Viewing: Thursday-Monday, April 12-16, 2012
Auction: Russian Works of Art ~ Monday, April 16, 2012

Sotheby’s Auction features more Fabergé
Sotheby’s auction is being called an auction of Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons and is set for April 17. It is promising a strong selection of rare and magnificent objects, many of which are emerging from private collections where they have been hidden for decades. The morning session (10 a.m.) will include icons, bronzes, porcelain and jewelry, featuring 124 dinner, soup and dessert plates commissioned in 1856 by Emperor Alexander II as additions to the St. Andrew Service, and crafted at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory in St. Petersburg (11 lots, with estimates ranging from $9,000 to$ 80,000).

This Fabergé silver and wood presentation lamp by workmaster Karl Gustav Hjalmar Armfelt, with its fine neoclassical fittings, is expected to sell for $100,000 to $150,000.

The afternoon session (2 p.m.) will offer important silver, enamels, Fabergé pieces, led by a rare Fabergé carved Lapis Lazuli desk clock mounted in gold, silver and enamel. This clock is also a piece from workmaster Wigstrom, made in St. Petersburg, circa 1910, that once belonged to legendary collector and businessman Lansdell K. Christie (est. $250,000-$350,000).

Another highlight of the auction will be a Fabergé silver and wood presentation lamp by workmaster Karl Gustav Hjalmar Armfelt (St. Petersburg, circa 1900-06 (est. $100,000-$150,000). The lamp, with its fine neoclassical fittings, was presented to Baron Emmanuel Nolde (1854-1909) by members of his staff. Nolde was a distinguished jurist and statesman, and one of
Emperor Nicholas II’s key advisors. A Russian diamond-set varicolor gold, platinum and translucent enamel presentation cigarette case (Carl Blank, St. Petersburg, circa 1900) also carries important provenance, having been presented to the Don Cossack General Nikolai Klunnikov (1858-1917) by grateful Ukrainian landowners of the Taganrog District, of which he was administrator (est. $110/130,000).

The year 2012 is the 200th Anniversary of the decisive Battle of Borodino, which marked the beginning of the end for Napoleon’s forces in Russia. The celebrations in 1912 served as the inspiration for a Russian gilded silver and shaded enamel pictorial table cigar box (Moscow, circa 1912; est. $150,000-$250,000). The cigar box depicts the French commander and his troops watching the burning of the Moscow Kremlin.

The sale will offer additional items in porcelain, ivory, silver and gold that were inspired by the victories two centuries ago, and the patriotic fervor they unleashed.

As always, the auction will include many important enamels, including two magnificent punch sets: A fine and large Russian gilded silver and enamel punch set, made by Ovchinnikov (Moscow, 1892; est. $100,000-$150,000); and a massive Russian gilded silver and enamel punch bowl and ladle, made by Antip Kuzmichev (Moscow; retailed by Tiffany & Co., circa 1895), a dazzling example that features bear-head handles and is illustrated on the sale’s catalogue cover. It carries a presale estimate of $40,000-$60,000.

The sale will be on exhibition in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 12 April, alongside the auction of Magnificent Jewels.

Viewing: Thursday-Tuesday April 12-17, 2012
Auction: Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons ~ Tuesday, April 17, 2012

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