The Aristocratic Yusupov Collection Enchants Collectors

On 23 August 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Prince and Princess Yusupov’s last mementos and those from other provenances bedazzled bidders beyond France’s borders. Imperial Russia captures the imagination!

Vermeil tea service, tray, teapot, milk jug, sugar bowl and presentation cup by silversmith Friedrich Kolb, Saint Petersburg, 1784–1788, the tray after 1793, total weight 3,751 gr/ 132.31 oz.
Result: €141,680

Nobody doubted that the sale devoted to Felix and Irina Yusupov would be successful. The royal couple’s mementos make a huge impression whenever they appear at auction. The prince’s portrait (see below) sold for ten times its estimate, at €106,904, while that of his mother, Princess Zenaida Yusupov, Countess Soumarokoff-Elston (1861–1939), made in pastel by Grand Duchess Elizabeth Feodorovana, fetched €25,760. Other faces recalling the glorious years of Imperial Russia came out of the shadows. A 1911 oil on canvas (52.5 x 49 cm/20.67 x 19.29 in, visible) of the young Princess Irina Alexandrovna (1895–1970) by Alexander Mikhailovich Leoutovsky (1865–1928), a famous court artist, sold for €23,828.

Other highlights included a Fabergé table clock (see right page) and this imperial tea service made during the reign of Catherine II (1762–1796) by Saint Petersburg silversmith Friedrich Kolbun. The vermeil tray, teapot, sugar bowl, milk jug and presentation cup, which fetched €141,680, was made for the Winter Palace for Catherine, her son, the future Paul I, and his second wife, born Princess Sophia-Dorothea of Württemberg, whose monogram is on the tray. Slightly less expensive, but just as historical and imperial, a 1780 vermeil coffee pot sold for €66,976. It bears the hallmarks of master silversmith Johan Henrik Blohm, who worked between 1759 and 1805, and like the tea service, the Romanov's two-headed eagle under their crown.

 

A bronze sculpture of a dancing couple is visible in a period photograph of Prince and Princess Yusupov’s Paris home, which has none of th

A bronze sculpture of a dancing couple is visible in a period photograph of Prince and Princess Yusupov’s Parisian home, which has none of the grandeur of a Russian palace. They are Vaslav Nijinsky and Tamara Karsavina depicted by Gleb W. Derujinsky (1888–1975). Both trained at the prestigious imperial ballet school and played Harlequin and Colombine in Carnival, a work staged in Paris on June 4, 1910 (38 x 30 x 21.5 cm/14.96 x 11.81 x 8.46 in). The sculpture was sold to the tune of €48,944.

The handsome allure of Prince Felix Felixovich Yusupov (1887–1967) likely had something to do with the result of his portrait (80 x 63 cm/

The handsome allure of Prince Felix Felixovich Yusupov (1887–1967) likely had something to do with the result of his portrait (80 x 63 cm/80 x 63 in): €106,904. Although the artist is anonymous— the work is thought to have been painted made between 1923 and 1925 during the prince's stay in the United States—this does not detract from its quality. It shows a modern, slender young man whose naturalness contrasts with the often portrayed image of him as Rasputin's murderer.


The artist who painted this large vase (h. 110 cm/43.30 in) made of Saint Petersburg porcelain reproduced two views of Naples by Jacob Phi

The artist who painted this large vase (h. 110 cm/43.30 in) made of Saint Petersburg porcelain reproduced two views of Naples by Jacob Philippe Hackert (1737–1807) that were in turn inspired by a book, Voyage pittoresque ou Description des royaumes de Naples et de Sicile (Picturesque Journey, or Description of the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily), published in Paris in 1781. It beautifully illustrates how taste and knowledge circulated in 18th and 19th-century Europe. The vase, which fetched €161,000, features a smoking Mount Vesuvius and the Charterhouse of Saint Martin.

Enamel is as inseparable from Fabergé as it was from imperial Russia at the turn of the 20th century. A square gold table clock with trans

Enamel is as inseparable from Fabergé as it was from imperial Russia at the turn of the 20th century. A square gold table clock with translucent red enamel, its bottom guilloched with waves, fetched €77,280. Hallmarked by master goldsmith Mikhail Perkhine (1860–1903), the refined object is surrounded by a circular frieze of crossing ribbons set with diamond roses (12 x 12 cm/4.72 x 4.72 in, gross weight 512 gr/18.06 oz.).

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