A customer recently asked me how easy it was to find pre 15th century Russian Icons, I suggested the usual names in Europe and he came back to me with that there was nothing, but lots of 16th to 19th century pieces. The only early pieces were Greek or late Byzantine, so I am wondering what has happened to ancient Icons. As auction season begins in late October and November it will be interesting to see what appears.
It is twenty years since we showed at an Antique Fair in London. We have spent all this time hibernating in the shop in Piccadilly Arcade waiting for customers.
Now we have been privileged to be able to offer for sale some wonderful Icons and works of art from a couple of private collections, so we have taken the plunge and will be showing some of these items at Art Antiques London in Kensington Gardens from the 23rd – 30th June.
These pieces will not be on the web-site or in the shop after the fair.
Timeline Auctions in May have just put their catalogue on-line, with for the first time a collection of rather battered Icons with an East German provenance and Russian certificates. The Sothebys , Christies and Bonhams Russian auctions are now online with catalogues arriving this week. I will post an over-view of the sales this week.
This Important Cross is earlier than all illustrated in “Treasures of Mount Athos” Thessaloniki 1997. It is carved on both sides with the Crucifixion and the Nativity, surrounded by Festival scenes and with images of the Prophets on the sides. The handle of silver with original gilding is inscribed “Year 1568 a month of December was made the Honest and Holy Cross of Galaktios the Holy Monk servant of God”
From a private collection formed in the 1970’s.
Very few pieces “took-off” in the weeks sales, but pieces were selling even if some of the owners took big hits. The biggest being a Picasso taking a loss of about £9 million and a Max Ernst losing about £4 million for the owner. The best pieces are those new to the market and visually exciting, not the bad pictures from well-known artists…The Contemporary Auctions are coming up next, looking a bit like one of those dealers clearance sales at Phillips West 2.
It is interesting to read how the small auctions are jumping onto the Russian art bandwagon , with Hampstead Auctions being advised by Michael Prevezer, ex Christies and Phillips silver departments with some good prices achieved for enamels, Chiswick Auctions with a new expert specialising in Faberge and silver, Lots Road looking for Russian silver, Bonhams with their new Interiors sale including Russian and now Timeline Auctions with Icons and Byzantine. It should make May and June much more interesting for collectors and dealers.
What is happening at Sothebys ? At the end of 2015 they were making redundancies to save money, then they guaranteed the Taubman collection and have lost many million of dollars and now they have bought an Art Advisory business for $85 million to promote the Art which has been unbelievably unprofitable.
Is it time for “back to basics” in the big three auction rooms?
The Romanov season is upon us beaming out of our television screens in glorious high resolution with Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” over six weeks and “The Romanovs” over three weeks. The beauty of St Petersburg is shown as never before, with fabulous costumes filling the screen and just published “The Romanovs” a history by Simon Sebag-Montifiore. The mystery, cruelty and intrigue that is Russia comes alive.
Field Marshall Kutuzov (1745-1813)