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The Slavic Soul of a Kovsh

On 08 January 2021, by La Gazette Drouot

Form, decoration, technique and signature: the winning quartet of an item that epitomizes Russian art.

The Slavic Soul of a Kovsh

Feodor Rückert for Karl Fabergé (1846-1920), kovsh in polychrome enameled vermeil with a décor of geometric patterns, flowers and stylized foliage, the prow ornamented with a view of the Kremlin from the Moskva, Moscow, 1908-1917, 9 x 11.5 x 7 cm (3.5 x 4.5 x 2.75 in), gross weight 162.4 g (5.72 oz).
Result: €201,500

when this kovsh was made between 1908 and 1917, according to its hallmarks, Karl Fabergé (1846-1920) was at the peak of his success. The pieces coming out of his Saint Petersburg workshops were geared more towards the Western taste of Moscow’s elite, but the "pan-Russian" style popular with his clientele predominates here. It is hard to imagine anything more Russian than a kovsh—or the technique of cloisonné enamel on vermeil, here framing an entirely enameled painting of the Kremlin seen from the Moskva. Everything is imbued with the Slavic soul. That, plus the impeccable craftsmanship of German-born master goldsmith Feodor Rückert (1840-1917), led to the small drinking vessel’s quadrupling its estimate at €201,500. Rückert, who had his own workshop in Moscow, was renowned for the quality of his enamels and objects based on traditional Russian forms and patterns. In 1887 he began a long, productive collaboration with Fabergé that ended only with the first world war.

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