Considered by many to be the greatest poet of Russia’s so-called ‘Golden Age’, Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837) was honoured in a special display at Christie’s headquarters in London ahead of a series of sales devoted to Russian culture.
A wide selection of valuable books by the radical poet, playwright and novelist is offered in the Valuable Books & Manuscripts sale at Christie’s London on 1 December. Among the highlights is Boris Godunov, which was written whilst Pushkin was exiled to his estate, and is the first Russian tragedy on a political theme.
This work is the rarest of Puhskin’s first editions and comes from the collection of Sergei Gessen, the Pushkin scholar and author of Knigoizdatel’ Aleksandr Pushki. The copy offered in the sale is complete with the half-title, and Pushkin’s dedication to Karamzin, ‘whose genius inspired this work’.
As part of the pre-sale exhibition of the Russian Art sale on 30 November, we recreated a Puskin-era desk, with these literary works shown alongside a Portrait of Grand Duke Nicholas, later Emperor Nicholas I (1825-55), on horseback by the British painter George Dawe (1781-1829).
George Dawe (1781-1829), Portrait of Grand Duke Nicholas, later Emperor Nicholas I (1825-55), on horseback, 1822. Oil on canvas. 48¼ x 38 5/8 in. (122.5 x 98.1 cm.). Estimate: £100,000-150,000. This piece is offered in the Russian Art sale, at Christie’s London on 30 November
Dawe went to St Petersberg after catching the attention of Emperor Alexander I, who commissioned him to paint the Military Gallery of 1812 in the Winter Palace. Dawe had unparalleled success in Russia and amongst his admirers was Alexander Pushkin, who wrote a poem entitled To Dawe Esq.
Works from the Pushkin era were selected from the Russian Art sale, including porcelain figures from The Russian People series made by the Imperial porcelain factory, and Russian silversmith works comprise a beaker and presentation kovsh.