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An extremely rare Fabergé statuette recently discovered in an attic in Rhinebeck, NY sold for a record price of $5,980,000 on Saturday, October 26th at Stair Galleries in Hudson. The work, which was estimated to garner $500,000 to $800,000, sold to a phone bidder. The last hardstone figure to appear at auction sold for $1.8 million in 2005 at Sotheby’s, New York.

 The work, which was believed to have been lost, is one of 50 sculptures in semiprecious stones and gold produced by the Fabergé workshop. The statuette was acquired by a collector from the dealer and industrialist Armand Hammer in the 1930s and re-emerged this summer complete with original receipts when a descendant’s estate was emptied. The work depicts Nikolai N. Pustynnikov, bodyguard to Empress Alexandra, the wife of Nikolai II, Russia’s last Tsar.

 Wartski, the famed London-based jewelers, who serves the Queen of England, purchased the piece. They specialize in Russian pieces, most notably Fabergé. It’s not clear if they were purchasing it for stock or a private client.

Published in News
Friday, 09 November 2012 16:59

Picasso Painting Steals Sotheby’s Sale

The top sale at last night’s Impressionist and modern Art auction at Sotheby’s in New York was a 1932 painting by Pablo Picasso of his muse, Marie-Therese Walter. The suggestive Nature Morte aux Tulipes, estimated at $35 to $50 million, sold to a phone bidder for $41.5 million.

The sale at Sotheby’s took place just one day after Christie’s lackluster Impressionist and modern art auction and didn’t fare much better than its predecessor. While there were some notable sales, 31% of lots went untouched including mid-level works by Degas and Rodin. While many have been blaming the election and unfortunate weather for the mixed sales, the quality of the work featured has also in question. Many have taken note of the padded sales by both auction houses and during these delicate economic times, buyers want to spend money on exceptional works, not mediocre works by exceptional artists.

On a positive note, there were a number of impressive sales besides the Picasso portrait. Claude Monet’s 1881 landscape Champ de Blé estimated at $5 to $7 million fetched $12.1 million and a photograph of Marcel Duchamp taken by Man Ray sold for $2.4 million, well over it’s $1.7 million high estimate. Another work that exceeded expectations was Fernand Leger’s Les Contructeurs, which went for $1.37 million, more than double its low estimate. The sale brought in $163 million; it was expected to garner about $169 million in total.  

Published in News