July 21, 2016 02:15 PM
I have literally held thousands of antique Russian icons in my hands. I can usually tell you pretty quickly what a Russian icon is worth, what time period it is from, and what story is being told. I can quickly identify if the painting is new on an old board or if the cracks are fake (to make the icon look older than what it is). Occasionally, our firm comes across an antique Russian icon with a story as interesting as the iconography and I thought I would share one such example with you
If you know anything about Russian history, you know who the Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich Romanov is. His story is for another blog post, because today I only have time to tell you about this one icon. The icon itself depicts his name saint (in Russia, it was very common to commission a Russian icon of a saint that shares the name of the intended receiver – in this case, the Crown Prince) Saint Alexei Metropolitan of Moscow. [Read more]
June 13, 2016 02:00 PM
Arguably, the two most recognizable paintings in the world today are Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Grant Wood’s American Gothic. Both have been reproduced and lampooned ad nauseam, and while most everyone can name the author of the Mona Lisa, not everyone can as easily recite the name of Grant Wood, even though they instantly recognize the image of the dour looking bespectacled farmer with pitchfork in hand and his spinster daughter. For a vast multitude of reasons, most would logically assume that these two painters have very little common, yet they do share one similar circumstance – very few oil paintings by either artist exist. For Da Vinci, there are perhaps a dozen oil paintings whereas there are hundreds of his drawings and for Grant Wood at best there are perhaps only two dozen easel size finished oil paintings from his mature (post American Gothic) period, and it is believed that of those only three are in private hands. [Read more]
June 10, 2016 10:54 AM
Arguably the most important artistic artifacts which spring forth from Russia are its icons. Icons first came to Russia in the late 10th century corresponding to Russia’s acceptance of Christianity as their main religion. [Read more]
The Apostle Luke was recognized as the first iconographer, with his recreation of the image of Holy Theotokos that started early Christians in the practice of venerating an image. Icons must be created according to strict standards by the church (see Writing an Icon). In most cases, they have been sanctified and blessed inside the church by a priest. Icons are typically painted on wood with egg tempera and highlighted with gold leaf. Often may have a metal cover, known as an oklad or a riza, of gilt or silvered metal showcasing ornate workmanship and often embellished with enamel or set with semiprecious or precious stones. They often hung in the “krasny ugol” or “beautiful corner” of a Russian home.
June 9, 2016 04:43 PM
At Jackson’s International’s auction of May 24th and May 25th, 2016. The multiple estate and collections auction featured treasures from around the world and attracted over 1,000 international bidders totaling $1.5 million in sales. [Read more]
The auction opened with a small offering of paintings, works on paper, and bronzes featuring a typical seashore scene by Hendrik Willem Mesdag (Dutch 1831-1915) which came from a collection in Minnesota and sold to a phone bidder from the Netherlands for $100,000. That was followed by an interesting preparatory drawing for an altar crucifix attributed to Etienne Delaune (French 1518-1595) which sold to a Parisian phone bidder for $63,750. A charming painting by Frederick Soulacroix (French 1858-1933) depicting a young woman making a curtain call, sold for $20,000 and an oil on canvas painting depicting the Holy Family by Michael Rieser (Austrian 1828-1905) sold for $14,375. A pair of religious painting attributed to Luis Berruaco (Mexican 18th century) went to a buyer in France for $9,375 and a 17th century Dutch portrait of a gentleman sold to a buyer in the Netherlands for $8,125.