446
446
A pair of bronze figures, inscribed Fabergé, dated 1912
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 25,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
446
A pair of bronze figures, inscribed Fabergé, dated 1912
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 25,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

|
London

A pair of bronze figures, inscribed Fabergé, dated 1912
cast and cold painted as A.A. Kudinov and N.N. Pustynnikov, personal Kamer-Kazak bodyguards of Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna and Empress Alexandra Feodorovna, in dress parade uniforms with badges and medals, the coats trimmed with Imperial eagles, the cockaded fleece hats with gold braid, inscribed in Russian on the heels and soles of the boots 'Kamer-Kazak since 1894/A.A. Kudinov/Fabergé/1912' and 'Kamer-Kazak since 1894/N.N. Pustynnikov/Fabergé/1912'
Quantity: 2
height of both 18.2cm, 11 1/4 in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Catalogue Note

The precise origin of these figures, which appear to be copies of – or models for – the well-known Fabergé hardstone figures of the Kamer-Kazak guards of the Empresses, is something of a mystery.  Commissioned by Emperor Nicholas II in 1912, the hardstone figures were portraits from life, the guards visiting the studio of Fabergé’s sculptor Boris Frödman-Cluzel to pose for the artist, who modelled them in wax.  The final works were both at Pavlovsk in 1925, when the figure of Pustynnikov was sold to Armand Hammer, who subsequently sold it in 1934.  The whereabouts of that figure remained unknown until 2013, when it was sold at Stair Galleries of Hudson, New York, by a descendant of Hammer’s buyer; its discovery and the sale result of $5.2million garnered international headlines.  The figure of Kudinov remains at the State Pavlovsk Museum (inv. TsKh-822-VII). 

These bronze figures may have been produced as further models, in addition to those in wax, perhaps so that the colour palette could be settled upon, bronze being easier to paint than wax.  Fabergé’s close association with the Woerffel lapidary and bronze foundry would have easily facilitated this extra step in the process.  Certainly the price paid by the Emperor of 2300 rubles for each, far more than the next most expensive figure (the boyar, at 950 rubles, which sold, Sotheby’s New York, 21 April 2005, lot 44), suggests that their creation was inordinately time-consuming and laborious for Fabergé. 

An interesting comparison is provided by the two figures of ‘The Ice Deliverer’ after the model by G.K. Savinitskii, one in silver from the workshop of Hjalmar Armfelt, the other in various hardstones, both authenticated as Fabergé-produced objects by Francois Birbaum in 1925 and now in the Fersman Mineralogical Museum, Moscow (inv. PDK-2570 and 7782; exhibited Brussels, Espace Culturel ING, 2005-2006, Fabergé: Joaillier des Romanovs, nos. 76b and 76c, ex. cat. p. 177, illustrated p. 124).  It is believed that the silver sculpture was produced first.  Finally, it is known that at least one of the Kamer-Kazak guards was in fact modelled in metal.  In 1927, a metal figure of Kudinov was found in the Amoury among objects which had belonged to the Imperial Family, according to T. Fabergé et al, K. Fabergé I ego prodolzhateli, St Petersburg, 2009, p. 96, the authors noting that ‘it is possible that this is a silver or bronze model of the hardstone figure of the Kamer-Kazak Kudinov’. 

While it is suggested here that these bronze figures probably served as models for the hardstone figures, it is also possible that they were made after the fact and possibly given to the Kamer-Kazak guards themselves, or perhaps even to the young Tsarevich as toys, reminders of his mother’s and grandmother’s exotic and imposing guards, who must surely have fascinated him.  In any event, their creation almost surely pre-dates the mid-1920s, when the figures were separated and that of Pustynnikov made its way to the West.  

Russian Works of Art, Fabergé & Icons

|
London