Published: April 22, 2008
The cover lot of Skinner’s European furniture and decorative arts auction April 10‱2 was a Khlebnikov case that set a record for the highest-priced lot ever sold at Skinner’s European furniture and decorative arts auction. The sale, which offered more than 800 lots, featuring fine silver and Judaica, realized more than $2 million.
The goldwashed, enameled and jeweled silver casket from Moscow, circa 1908‱7, was estimated at $50/80,000, but soared to $787,000. The case features a miniature enamel on copper painting of “A Boyar Wedding Feast” by the painter Konstantin Makovsky; the original painting, created in 1883, is in the collection of The Hillwood Museum in Washington, D.C.
The piece boasts green and red cabochon-jeweled borders, opaque green sugarloaf jewels in the corners and allover cloisonné enameling of scrolling vines. Its goldwashed interior is engraved with the previous owner’s monogram, “EKB,” and dated 1913. The case was originally purchased in Russia by the consignor’s grandmother in 1913, for her husband, most likely in St Petersburg. The box had remained in this same family since its purchase.
“We’ve seen tremendous interest in all things Russian,” said Skinner’s silver specialist Sara Wishart, “especially items crafted in silver. The current market for this material is incredibly strong.”
Other highlights that all soared above estimate included a silver gilt enamel cased teacup from Russia at $26,070; a Tadolini marble figure of a slave girl at $28,440; a monumental Chinese Rose Medallion porcelain palace vase at $20,825; and a Antoine-Louis Barye bronze figure of an eagle that sold for $11,850.
Judaic items, which were offered as part of the sale for the first time in five years, also did well. Of the top lots sold, Arthur Szyk’s “Portrait of a Family” sold for $14,220, well beyond its $300/500 estimate, and an Eighteenth Century Italian illuminated Esther scroll (Megillah) brought $13,035.
For information, 978-779-6241 or www.skinnerinc.com .
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