The Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Greenfield Collection
Collectors for over 40 years, the Greenfields acquired not only superb objects but also a great deal of expertise in the field of late 19th century European decorative arts. Focusing their trained eye on painted ceramic plaques, Russian and Viennese enamels, sculpture, and glass, their collection transformed their Maryland house into an opulent schatzkammer, or treasury, of 19th century works of art.
Exactly ten years ago, the Greenfields sold a large portion of their collection of Russian enamels at Christie's New York. Representing works by the greatest of Russian pre-revolutionary silversmiths and enamelers, the collection was the best ever to appear on the auction market, and the results were spectacular. This landmark auction introduced numerous new buyers to the field, and when pieces from the collection occasionally resurface on the market, the Greenfield provenance is invariably an indication that the object will be of the finest quality.
It is this remarkable eye for quality that is to be found in the Greenfields' collections offered in the present auction. In addition to another group of Russian enamels, featuring works by Fabergé and Feodor Rückert, there is also full array of Viennese enamels, highlighted by a monumental nef by Hermann Böhm.
The Greenfields' extraordinary assemblage of over eighty ceramic plaques includes a large selection of works on Berlin (K.P.M.) porcelain. The monogram and sceptre mark of King's Porcelain Manufactory has long been considered a seal of approval among the porcelain plaque cognoscenti. The collection encompasses a broad range of the works painted on these porcelain 'canvases' as well as quality examples from Dresden, Bavaria and Vienna. From Realism to Romanticism, the assemblage is linked by the decorating workshops that produced them. Seeing these works side by side allows the true collector a coveted chance to explore the nuance of each regional workshop and affords a rare opportunity to compare the top decorating houses under the direction of Dittrich, Eckardt, Meinelt, Schmidt, Thallmaier and Wagner among others.
In turn, the Hof-Porzellanmaler of Berlin, Dresden, Munich and Vienna were inspired by the great collections on their doorstep, namely the Alte and Neue Pinakothek, the Gemäldegalerie, the Louvre and the corresponding Salons and Exhibitions of the late 19th century. Throughout the catalogue, where possible, these sources have been identified providing a key to unraveling the history of these enigmatic works. The group is complemented by a selection of rare Renaissance Revival enameled and micro-beaded compositions by the Delforge workshop of Paris. A selection of Meissen porcelain figures and finely enameled glass by the Bohemian factory of Moser round out the offering. All can be appreciated for their unrivalled skill of execution.
It is this insistence on the finest design and craftsmanship that characterizes the Greenfields' collecting strategy, and their auction provides today's collectors with the chance to acquire works suited to the true connoisseur.