Russian Treasures – As mentioned in The New York Times

… form of a miniature samovar, circa 1900.

from

Antiques: Russian Treasures

Source: The New York Times, December 19, 2003

By Wendy Moonan.

Excerpted from The New York Times, December 19, 2003. Page E41.

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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Highlights of the 2014 Winter Antiques Show

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The Winter Antiques Show is certainly living up to its name this year, welcomed by this polar vortex with a chilly embrace. Rest assured, the Park Avenue Armory is nice and toasty. It is well worth braving the cold – there is something for everyone from ancient to modern, including: Delftware, Chinese porcelain, illuminated manuscripts, arms and armor, ancient art, and so much more, all listed here.

Be on the lookout for some of our personal favorites, including the astonishing mid sixteenth century Italian half suit of armor from Peter Finer of London and the 18th century Delftware puzzle jugs from Aronson of Amsterdam. If the crowds get to be too much, escape into the lacquer-paneled room by Art Deco master Jean Dunand at Maison Gerard, and be sure to take a moment to behold a fully intact, Roman glass urn from the 1st century AD at Rupert Wace Ancient Art of London.

If you get lost as you wander across culture and time, our booth can be found at the center across from the Diamond Jubilee display. There are a few pieces that have attracted particular attention at our booth. One of our showstoppers is a brooch designed by Salvador Dali in the form of ruby red lips, modeled after Marilyn Monroe, and, includes, quite literally, pearly whites. Selections from our menagerie have also been major attractions, such as a pavé diamond brooch in the form of a monkey with a sprung tail and holding a pearl. Our selection of Fabergé always draws attention. Especially attracting people this year are silver sculptures serving as table lighters or bell pushes.

If you have yet to stop by, we look forward to seeing you this Saturday from 12 to 8, and Sunday, the final day, from 12 to 6.

The 2014 Winter Antiques Show

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This year the annual Winter Antiques Show, held at the landmark Park Avenue Armory, celebrates its 60th year, its Diamond Jubilee. This will be our 53rd year exhibiting, and we are pleased to be a part of such a highly esteemed show, deemed by many to be America’s foremost antique show. The opening gala was last night, and the show is open to the general public beginning today through February 2nd.

Proceeds from admissions benefit East Side House Settlement, providing children and families in the South Bronx with education and technology training programming “as gateways out of poverty. Approximately half of their funding comes from private philanthropy.”

This year’s loan exhibition features the fantastic collection of the Peabody Essex Museum of Salem, Massachusetts, now celebrating its 215th year. The exhibition includes a selection of textiles, sculpture, works on paper, and paintings “offering a celebration of global connection that encourages discourse, evokes emotion and ignites curiosity.”

In celebration of the Show’s 60th Diamond Jubilee year there is also a display of grand diamond jewels by Tiffany, Graff, and others.

Our booth displays a selection of our American and European jewelry, including two exceptional diamond and emerald brooches, one in the form of a 19th century sunburst centering a 22 ct emerald, the other, an 18th century butterfly. Also on display  are objets de vertu, Russian works of art, and, of course, Fabergé. This year’s highlights include Fabergé silver animal-form sculptures and a collection of hardstone Fabergé circus elephants, mostly from the Collection of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1900-1974), the son of King George V and Queen Mary. Also on display is a rare enameled gold reliquary cross from the late 17th century, set with emeralds and pearls and engraved with the Crucifixion and the list of the relics contained therein. Made for one of the successors of Patriarch Philaret of Moscow, it contains a relic of Alexander Svirski, whose relics were discovered in 1641.

Come feast your eyes and engage your mind at this culturally enriching and aesthetically engaging event. We look forward to seeing you there!

The Park Avenue Armory is located at 67th St. and Park Avenue. The show is open daily, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m, and 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Sundays and Thursday. Admission, which includes a catalogue, is $25.

Cartier, New York, Gold-Ribbed Cufflinks set with Calibre Sapphires

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Pair of Cartier gold-ribbed cufflinks, set on one side with calibre sapphires.

Cartier, New York, ca. 1945

$6,500

Cartier, New York, Gold-Ribbed Cufflinks set with Calibre Sapphires, back

Antique Diamond Bracelet by Tiffany & Co.

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Platinum bracelet set with pointed oval-cut and French-cut diamonds.

Tiffany & Co., New York, ca. 1910.
Length: 7 inches

other view, Antique Diamond Bracelet by Tiffany & Co.

Peridot and Diamond Brooch by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.

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Bombé peridot brooch set with three diamond flowers, set in gold.

By Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., ca. 1950.
Length: 1 1/2 inches

French jeweler Jean Schlumberger (1907-1987) is known for creating playful, artistic jewels inspired by his love of the natural world. His talent attracted the attention of Tiffany & Co., who invited him to open a design studio and salon within their New York store in 1956.

$38,500

side view, Peridot and Diamond Brooch by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.back view, Peridot and Diamond Brooch by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.

Peridot, Diamond, and Sapphire Earrings by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.

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Peridot and sapphire pineapple earrings, each set with a brilliant-cut diamond.

By Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., ca. 1950.
Width: 7/8 inches

$17,500

French jeweler Jean Schlumberger (1907-1987) is known for creating playful, artistic jewels inspired by his love of the natural world. His talent attracted the attention of Tiffany & Co., who invited him to open a design studio and salon within their New York store in 1956.

These earrings appear in our Ear Candy exhibition video series.

main view, Peridot, Diamond, and Sapphire Earrings by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.side view, Peridot, Diamond, and Sapphire Earrings by Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co.

ALVR Blog: The Legend of Sadko

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Once upon a time, in late nineteenth century Russia, there was renewed interest in Russia’s past, and with that, a fascination with Russian fairy tales. This fascination transcended all art forms, from literature and theater to decorative arts. A ceramic charger in A La Vieille Russie’s collection brings this fairytale dream world to life. Executed in the Art Nouveau style, it features scenes from the eleventh- century Novgorod legend of Sadko.*

main view of ceramic charger depicting scenes from the legend of sadko

The oval central section depicts a grotesque octopus-like creature, the rim with Sadko on the right, playing a stringed instrument to three women (left) in diaphanous gowns and jeweled headpieces, on a moonlit shore, with bands of stylized motifs. Designed by Mikhail Vrubel and made by the Kuznetsov Porcelain Factory for the Imperial court.
Russian, 1889-1900.
Width: 28-1/2 inches; height: 24-1/2 inches

As the legend goes, one day a lonely and melancholic Sadko serenades the River Volkhov, proclaiming, “Rich man, poor man—it’s all the same to you. If only you were a woman! I’d marry you and live with you here in the city I love.” His music reaches the bottom of the river, so charming the King of the Sea that he rises to the river’s surface to invite Sadko to play at his palace feast.  As a reward, the King gives Sadko a fish with golden scales.

“Your Majesty, you are too generous!”

“Say no more about it! said the King. “Music is worth far more than gold. If the world were fair, you’d have your fill of riches!”

Sadko quickly sells the golden fish before commencing his journey to the palace deep beneath the ocean waves. Once there, Sadko’s music pleases the King of the Sea so much that he offers one of his daughters in marriage. Sadko chooses a bride, but is warned by the Queen that the slightest embrace will trap him beneath the sea forever, never to return to his beloved Novgorod. With this in mind, Sadko resists the Princess’s charms and awakens to find himself back in Novgorod.

Was it all a dream? Who knows? Sadko lived a good life in Novgorod – he became a wealthy merchant, married, and raised a family. While life was good, he never really forgot what lay beneath the River Volkhov.

“Sometimes still on a quiet evening he would walk out of the city alone, sit on the bank, and send his tinkling music over the water. And sometimes too a lovely head would rise from the river to listen—or perhaps it was only moonlight on the Volkhov.”

Legend has it that the Princess of the Sea can be seen at A La Vieille Russie, where the unusual is usual.TM See her for yourself, for more than an ephemeral glance, at 745 Fifth Avenue.

The end.

*excerpts from Aaron Shepard, The Sea King’s Daughter: A Russian Legend. New York: Atheneum, 1997. http://www.aaronshep.com/stories/032.html (accessed 7/21/20)

For all our ALVR Blog posts, please click here.

ALVR Blog: Fabergé and the Red Cross, an Enduring Symbol

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Our hearts go out to everyone during this difficult time, and we hope you are all staying safe and healthy. We look forward to welcoming you back into our gallery when this is all behind us. Until then, we intend to brighten your day with highlights from our collection on social media and the ALVR blog. 

main view, Enamel and diamond Red Cross brooch by Faberge

Recently, the US Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, arrived in New York Harbor. The sight of this massive white ship emblazoned with red crosses is a powerful symbol of hope in this trying time and reminds us of other periods of history when this emblem held particular significance. One Fabergé piece in our collection tells the story of such a time: a Red Cross brooch made at the time of the Great War.

This brooch features a red guilloché enamel cross against a white ground. It was likely awarded to an aristocratic lady in appreciation for her contributions to the war effort. That the brooch is encircled with diamonds suggests it was made for someone of particular importance.

At the onset of WWI, Russia was in great need of nurses. This need was so great, that the year-long training period was condensed to two months. In patriotic fervor, women from all classes answered the call to become sestry miloserdiya, sisters of mercy, as nurses were called in Russia. These volunteers included the wives and daughters of government officials, teachers and other professionals, and aristocratic ladies.  At the helm were the Romanov women. 

The Russian Red Cross was established in 1867 by Emperor Alexander II. Initially called the Society for Care of the Sick and Wounded, in 1879, it was renamed the Russian Society of the Red Cross. At the time of the Great War, it was led by Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, who had been president of the Russian Red Cross since the beginning of her husband’s reign. When her son Nicholas ascended the throne, she refused to cede her presidency to Alexandra, but did eventually permit her to contribute in her own way. Alexandra and her two eldest daughters, Olga and Tatiana, volunteered to become nurses. In their new role, they became known as Sister Romanova, numbers 1, 2, and 3. While the two younger daughters were too young to train, Grand Duchesses Maria and Anastasia offered their support as hospital visitors. 

In addition to caring for the wounded, Alexandra opened numerous supply depots that produced medical dressings and also collected and distributed non-perishable food, clothing, pharmaceutical supplies, and other items. Palaces and other buildings were converted for caring for the wounded. By the end of 1914, she was patron of 85 hospitals throughout Petrograd. 

Alexandra and her daughters traded their royal finery for nurse’s uniforms in an effort to bridge the gap between themselves and their subjects. At this time, Fabergé’s artistic output also reflected austerity efforts, producing simpler pieces, and eventually, offering his workshops for making munitions. Though simple in design, this Fabergé Red Cross brooch makes a strong statement, recalling a time when people came together to overcome difficult circumstances. 

In accordance with wartime austerity measures, the Red Cross eggs made for Dowager Empress Maria and Empress Alexandra are also simply designed. Maria’s egg, now in the collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, contains five portraits of Romanov women in Red Cross uniforms: Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna, Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna, and Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna. Alexandra’s egg, now in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, contains portraits of Alexandra, Olga, and Tatiana in their nurses uniforms. The egg opens to reveal a triptych, with the central panel depicting the ‘Harrowing of Hell,’ flanked by Olga and Tatiana’s namesake saints.

The Red Cross has long been a reassuring image of protection and benevolence, a symbol of hope and care, today and yesterday. We thank all our healthcare heroes working on the frontlines of this pandemic.

Fabergé Travelling Stamp Moistener

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Gold-mounted and carved bowenite travelling stamp moistener with vari-colored gold swags, garlands, and rubies. The lid screws into the base for security.

Fabergé, workmaster M. Perchin. St. Petersburg, ca. 1895.
Height: 2 1/2 inches
Provenance: Lansdell K. Christie, New York, an American businessman and art collector.

Carved Moonstone and Diamond Brooch by Tiffany & Co.

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Carved moonstone and diamond brooch set in platinum. The moonstone  is of exceptional size, measuring 1-3/4 inches in diameter.

Tiffany & Co, New York, ca. 1905.
Diameter: 2 inches

other view, Carved Moonstone and Diamond Brooch by Tiffany & Co.

Antique Diamond and Multi-gem Watch

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Platinum and diamond ladies’ watch set with carved multi-colored gemstones.

Dreicer and Co., New York, ca. 1908.
Length: 7 1/2 inches

$32,000

other view, Antique Diamond and Multi-gem Watch