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A mysterious portrait with a strong provenance at the Russian auction at Schuler Auktionen on December 12-14, 2018


During the period from the 12th to the 14th of December, 2018, the Swiss auction house Schuler Auktionen will put up a unique Russian painting, as well as icons and decorative arts items at their Russian art sale.

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Unknown artist. 1880s. Russia.
Unknown artist. 1880s.
Russia. Canvas/oil.
Symbature “M” in the centre of the left side.
More images here.

A portrait of a young lady, presumably from the Sergey and Maria Muromtsev-Klementov family (estimated at €18,180 – 27,270), will be presented at the auction. Sergey Muromtsev (1850-1910), a distinguished lawyer, legislator, and chairman of the first State Duma of the Russian Empire was married to Maria Klimentova (1857-1946), a famous opera singer and the lead singer of the Bolshoy Theatre.

The young lady depicted in the portrait is around 18 years old. The style of the portrait, as well as the model’s clothes, correspond to the fashion of 1882. Judging by the time of the portrait’s creation, the young lady could be neither Maria Klimentova, nor her daughter.

The great artist Ilya Repin created a portrait of Maria Klimentova, which is currently at the National Gallery of Armenia in Yerevan, in 1883.

Maria and Sergey Muromtsev were married in 1881. They had two daughters - Olga and Maria, as well as a son - Vladimir. In 1927, Vladimir got married to Katharina Sakkit, who was able to leave for Berlin with her mother in 1934 due to the fact that she was working at the German embassy in Moscow. Her marriage to Vladimir was dissolved.

The given portrait was part of the diplomatic shipment from Moscow to Europe.

This work of art represents a high-quality painting of the 1880s with the provenance of a well-known family.

A large icon showing the “Great Feasts” with casing. Russia, 19th century.
A large icon showing the “Great Feasts” with casing.
Russia, 19th century.
Tempera on wood. Casing: dated 1851, Moscow, master A.A. Kovalsky (1827-1856) and “S.E.”.
54*43 cm.
More images here.

A large icon showing the “Great Feasts” with casing represents the Palekh school of icon painting of the 19th century (estimated at €5,450 – 8,180). The icon depicts 14 scenes of the Great Feasts. Gold plated casing is decorated with a raised ornament.

The Great Feasts: the "Nativity of Mary", the "Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary", the "Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary", “Christmas”, the "Presentation of Jesus at the Temple’, the "Baptism of Jesus", Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the "Transfiguration of Jesus", the "Ascension of Jesus", the "Trinity", the "Dormition of the Mother of God", the "Exaltation of the Holy Cross".

Note: Negligible dark spots and signs of loss of paint layers on icon, as well as signs of restoration. Negligible signs of dint on casing, dark spots and missing fragments.

A large icon “Great Feasts” and “Passion of Jesus”. Russia, 1800.
A large icon “Great Feasts” and “Passion of Jesus”.
Russia, 1800.
Tempera on wood.
53*43,5 cm.
More images here.

A large icon “Great Feasts” and “Passion of Jesus” (estimated at € 4,550 – 7,270) shows in the centre on a golden background the scenes of “Herrowing of Hell and Resurrection of Jesus” surrounded with the scenes of “Passion of Jesus”. The outer circle of scenes consists of 16 main feasts. In the corners of the icon St. John the Theologian with Prokhor on Patmos, St. Matthew, St. Lucas, and St. Mark are depicted.

Feasts: the "Nativity of Mary", the "Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary", the "Trinity", the "Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary", “Christmas”, he "Presentation of Jesus at the Temple’, the "Baptism of Jesus", Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the "Transfiguration of Jesus", the "Ascension of Jesus", the "Dormition of the Mother of God", the “Raising of Lazarus”, the “Beheading of St. John the Baptist”, the “Fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah”, the “Intercession of the Theotokos”, the "Exaltation of the Holy Cross".

“Passion of Jesus”: the “Last Supper”, the “Washing of the Feet”, the “Agony in the Garden”, “Jesus before Pilate”, “Judas Iscariot”, “Flagellation of Christ”, “Crown of Thorns”, “Christ Carrying the Cross”, “Crucifixion of Jesus”, “Descent from the Cross”, the “Deposition”.

Notes: Cracking of paint. Partly worn gold plating. Slight traces of restoring and retouching. There is also a report from the gallery ARETE, Zurich.

A stavrotek icon. Russia, 1800.
A stavrotek icon.
Russia, 1800.
Tempera on wood. Cross made of bronze.
30,5*26 cm.
More images here.

A large stavrotek icon (estimated at €2,730-4,550) from the 19th century has a bronze cross inset in the central part with a relief depiction of crucifixion. The figures of God the Father and the Holy spirit are shown in the upper part of the cross with St. Maria and St. Martha (on the left) and St. John and St. Longinus (on the right) on the sides. In the centre four saints are depicted: St. John the Theologian with Prokhor on Patmos and St. Matthew, St. Mark and St. Lucas. Around the edge of the icon six saints are shown: St. Niphont, St. Paisios and Sergius of Radonezh (on the left) and St. Onuphrius, St. Pafnuty, St. Macarius (on the right).

Note: Restoration (mainly on edges). Unnoticeable dark spots and fragments on loss of paint layers. There is also an expert report from Benedicte Oehry, Ikonen Galerie Sophia, Zurich.

An icon of the Mother of God of Korsun with casing. Russia, 19th century.
An icon of the Mother of God of Korsun with casing.
Russia, 19th century.
Tempera on wood. Casing dated 1861. Master “L.S.” Insignificant traces of gold plating.
30,5*26 cm.
More images here.

An icon of the Mother of God of Korsun with casing (estimated at € 1,090 – 2,000) depicts the Mother of God and the Christ Child. Around the edge of the icon four saints are shown: St. Peter, Metropolitan of Moscow (on the left), St. Catherine (on the right). Casing raised with engraved floral ornament.

Notes: Cracking of paint. Negligible loss of paint mainly in the lower corner. Restoration. Negligible traces of gold plating on the casing, dint, missing fragments.

A large icon showing the “Great Feasts”. Russia, 19th century.
A large icon showing the “Great Feasts”.
Russia, 19th century.
Tempera on wood.
44,5*39 cm.
More images here.

A large icon showing the “Great Feasts” (estimated at € 910 – 1,270) depicts the scenes of the “Herrowing of Hell and Resurrection of Jesus” surrounded with 12 scenes of feasts.

Note: Traces of restoration, mainly on edges. Cracking of paint. Gold plating slightly worn.

Feasts: the "Nativity of Mary", the "Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary", the "Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary",“Christmas”, the "Presentation of Jesus at the Temple’, the "Baptism of Jesus", Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the "Transfiguration of Jesus", the "Ascension of Jesus", the "Exaltation of the Holy Cross", the "Trinity", the "Dormition of the Mother of God".

The “Fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah”. Russia, around 1800.
The “Fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah”.
Russia, around 1800.
Tempera on wood.
31,5*27см.
More images here.

The “Fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah” (estimated at € 730 – 1,270) depicts the Prophet sitting at the entrance to the cave. The central image surrounded by the scenes of life of the Prophet Elijah. On the left: a scene with the fire of the Lord and the apparance of an Angel. On the right: the fiery Ascent of the Prophet Elijah when he threw his mantle to his descendant Elisha (on the top) and crossing the river of Jordan(on the bottom). In the upper left corner God the Father on cloud is shown.

Note: Some cracking of paint and dark spots.

A large, carved saltcellar 1908-1917.
A large, carved saltcellar 1908-1917.
Gold plating, enamel.
Height 14cm, width 9cm. Weight 412 g.
More images here.

Apart from the icons, the auction will also feature fine decorative art items. A large, carved saltcellar with partitioned enamel (1908-1917), estimated at €1,820 – 2,730, has a high back and a hinged cover.

Note: slight traces of use.

Два ковша с перегородчатой эмалью. Россия, 1908-17 гг.
Big Kovsh.
Length 17cm, height 8cm, weight around 239g.
Small kovsh: artist Maria Semyonova.
Length 8.5cm, heigh 3.2cm, weight around 50g.
More images here.

There will also be a lot that includes two kovsh with cloisonne enamel in pastel shades (1908-1917) estimated at €1,640 – 2,550. The kovsh have a curved handle and are adorned with flower-shaped ornaments.

Note: slight signs of use.

Trick basket with a spoon. Saint-Petersburg, 1890.
Trick basket with a spoon.
Saint-Petersburg, 1890.
Height 7cm, diameter 15.6cm, weight around 491g.
More images here.

A trick basket (trompe l’oeil) with a spoon (estimated at €1,090 – 1,450) is done with an optical illusion effect and looks like a woven basket. There is an engraved ligature with the date “August 12th, 1891”. The spoon has a braided handle and the same ligature and date (1888, artist SE), as well as a woven texture on the outside.

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Photos and information: courtesy of Schuler Auktionen


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