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Christie's Russian Works of Art Sale features collections with imperial provenance
An Important Jeweled and Enameled Gold Imperial Presentation Snuff Box, St. Petersburg, 1899. 3¼ in. (8.2 cm.) wide. Estimate: $120,000 – 180,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2015.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s announces the sale of Russian Works of Art on May 20 in New York. Offering an exceptional selection of fresh to the market Fabergé and Russian works of art from American private collections, the auction includes rare books and photographs from the Russian imperial family as well as fine icons, porcelain and early silver and niello.

Leading the sale is the Collection of the Descendants of the Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, grandson of Emperor Nicholas I, which is appearing at auction for the first time. This important collection of nearly 50 lots includes personal gifts from members of the Russian Imperial family, such as Emperor Nicholas II and the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna, as well as rare family heirlooms.

Grand Duke George Mikhailovich (1863-1919) was the third son of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich (1832-1909) and the grandson of Emperor Nicholas I (1796-1855). In 1900, he married Princess Marie Georgievna (1876-1940), the second daughter of George I, King of the Hellenes (1845-1913), and Queen Olga (1851-1926), née Grand Duchess Olga Konstantinovna of Russia. The couple had two daughters, Nina (1901-1974) and Xenia (1903-1965). The family lived at Mikhailovskoe, the St. Petersburg palace of Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich, before settling at their Crimean estate, Kharaks, in 1907.

Grand Duchess Marie and the children left Russia for England in the summer of 1914, and when the First World War broke out, they were forced to stay in England, never to return to Russia. Grand Duke George, who fled to Finland during the Revolution, was later arrested and imprisoned in Petrograd, along with his brother Grand Duke Nicholas Mikhailovich (1859-1919) and their cousin Grand Duke Paul Alexandrovich (1860-1919). In January 1919, the three grand dukes were executed by a Bolshevik firing squad at the Peter and Paul Fortress.

In 1922, Princess Nina married Prince Paul Alexandrovich Chavchavadze (1899-1971) in London. Prince Paul was descended from the Chavchavadze family of Georgia and in a direct line from the last King of Georgia, George XII (1746-1800). The couple had one son, David (1924-2014), and the young family moved to the United States. Princess Xenia Georgievna married twice, first to William Bateman Leeds (1902-1971), and then to Herman Jud (1911-1987). She lived with William Leeds on the North Shore of New York's Long Island and had one daughter, Nancy Helen Marie Leeds, who married Edward Judson Wynkoop, Jr.

Collection Highlights of the Descendants of the Grand Duke George Mikhailovich

Lot 63 A Rare and Important Jeweled Gold and Guilloché Enamel Photograph Frame Marked Fabergé, with the workmaster's mark of Michael Perchin, St. Petersburg, circa 1901, scratched inventory number 3748. Estimate: $60,000-80,000

The frame, containing photographs of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, Grand Duchess Marie and their eldest daughter Princess Nina Georgievna as an infant, appears to date to circa 1901, the year Nina was born. Made in the workshop of Fabergé’s head workmaster, Michael Perchin, this rare frame clearly drew its inspiration from the surprise in the Imperial Pansy Egg (1899), an enameled heart-shaped photograph frame on an easel, also made in Perchin’s workshop. Both frames are made with functioning windows which are operated by a push-piece and powered by an intricate mechanism located inside the back cover.

Lot 75 A Jeweled Two-Color Gold, Silver and Guilloché Enamel Photograph Frame By Fabergé, with the workmaster's mark of Viktor Aarne, St. Petersburg, circa 1901, scratched inventory number 5138. Estimate: $60,000–80,000
This unusual trefoil frame encloses photographs of Grand Duke George Mikhailovich, Grand Duchess Marie, and Princess Nina Georgievna. The inscription on the reverse, X-Mas-1901 / G. M. N., indicates this frame was a Christmas gift.

Lot 31 A Jeweled Gold and Amethyst Brooch By Fabergé, with the workmaster's mark of August Holmström, St. Petersburg, circa 1898, scratched inventory number 60251. Estimate: $30,000–50,000
This brooch was discharged by the Imperial Cabinet in August of 1898 for the journey of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna (1847-1928) to Livadia.

A leading historical highlight in the sale is an important enameled gold snuff-box by the Russian Imperial Court jeweler Hahn, created in 1899, which is being offered by a New England Estate (pictured on page 1, estimate: $120,000-180,000). The box was presented by Emperor Nicholas II (1868-1918) to the Bulgarian minister in St. Petersburg, Dmitri Stancioff (1863-1940), on the occasion of the historically significant first Hague Convention in 1899.

Additional Sale Highlights

Lot 17 | A Jeweled Gold Imperial Presentation Brooch By Fabergé, with the workmaster’s mark of August Hollming, St. Petersburg, circa 1913. Estimate: $20,000–30,000 Offered by the descendants of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (1875-1960).

Lot 20 | An Important Jeweled Silver-Gilt Imperial Presentation Brooch By F. Butz, St. Petersburg, circa 1883 Estimate: $12,000-15,000 Offered by the descendants of Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna (1875-1960).

Lot 124 | A Silver-Gilt Icon of Archangel Michael Marked Grachev with the Imperial Warrant, St. Petersburg, 1894, signed F. Platonov Estimate: $15,000-25,000

Lot 140 | A Silver-Gilt and Niello Chalice Russia, late 17th century Estimate: $12,000-18,000

Lot 180 | A Soviet Propaganda Porcelain Plate By the Imperial Porcelain Factory, St. Petersburg, period of Alexander II, and the State Porcelain Factory, Leningrad, 1924 Estimate: $10,000-15,000

Lot 170 | A Gem-Set Silver and Onyx Bell-Push and Ashtray Scythian [Skif] Mark of the First Kiev Artel, Kiev, circa 1913 Estimate: $30,000-50,000

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