A Russian Gilded Silver Presentation Triptych Icon, Ovchinnikov, Moscow, 1899-1908
- tempera or oil on metal panels, gilded silver
Acquired by Waldo Ruess (1909-2007) while posted to the US Embassy in Moscow between 1944 and 1946
Acquired by the current owner from the family of the above
However Dzhunkovsky is, sadly, better known for the less palatable positions he subsequently held. As First Deputy Interior Minister from 1913 he reduced the extravagant expenditure of the Okhrana, the Imperial Secret Police, and tried desperately to defend what remained of Imperial authority against threats ranging from oil workers’ strikes in Baku to Grigori Rasputin’s overbearing influence on the Royal household. In 1915 Dzhunkovsky personally presented a report to the Tsar outlining the Siberian holy man’s salacious and scandalous behaviour, compiled from months of close surveillance, which resulted directly in his fall from grace. Through his Vospominaniia za 1915 (Reflections on 1915), Dzhunkovsky provides us with a telling insight into the politics that dictated the Russian autocracy at this time: “I am convinced, that the Sovereign, in dismissing me, did not for a minute doubt my correctness…but against the Empress of course I could not stand my ground…”.
In August of that year he requested to be sent to the front line. Despite having been so closely affiliated with the previous regime, Dzhunkovsky remained loyal to his country under the Soviets. However he was repeatedly arrested on the accusation of suppressing the 1905 revolution and on February 2, 1938, aged 73, he was executed by the NKVD.