The auction of Russian Works of Art, Fabergé and Icons in New York this April includes an extraordinary selection of rare and magnificent objects, many of which have long been hidden away in private collections. The centerpiece is undoubtedly the exquisite carved lapis lazuli desk clock mounted in gold, silver and enamel produced in the workshop of Fabergé workmaster Henrik Wigström (lot 266) which once belonged to legendary collector and businessman Lansdell K. Christie (1903-1965). Another extraordinary rarity is the Fabergé Silver and Wood Presentation Lamp (lot 323) presented to Baron Emannuel Nolde (1854-1909), a distinguished jurist and statesman, and one of Emperor Nicholas II’s key advisors. Collectors searching for objects of great beauty and with important provenance will be interested in the magnificent diamond-set gold box presented to General Nikolai Klunnikov (1858-1917) of the Don Cossack Host by grateful landowners of the Taganrog Okrug.
In 2012 we observe 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 were certainly the inspiration for the enamel pictorial table cigar box (lot 296) with the view of the French commander and his troops watching the burning of the Moscow Kremlin. The auction includes exceptional items in porcelain, ivory, silver, and gold inspired by the victories and the patriotic fervor they unleashed. As always, many important enamels are on offer, including two magnificent punch sets, the first by Ovchinnikov (lot 343), and the second a dazzling example with bear head handles by Antip Kuzmichev for Tiffany & Company (lot 255). Also being offered are a number of superb icons from private collections, many of which have covers displaying the skills of Russian silversmiths and enamelers.
The sale also includes a wide selection of bronzes of the highest quality, including a monumental “Pleasure Ride in a Winter Troika” (lot 48) designed by Evgeny Lanceray (1848-1886), a pair of medieval bronze warriors on carved rhodonite bases (lot 56), probably by Hoessrich & Woerffel, and a selection of rarely seen designs such as Maria Kozlovskaya’s “General Toptygin” (lot 49) and Lanceray’s “Hussar Bugler” (lot 39).