Artemis Gallery to Auction Important Museum-Exhibited Russian Icons & Religious Art, March 23 Important pieces from Robicsek Collection were displayed at Mint Museum in 2003-4 and N.C. Museum of History in 2013-14
BigNews.Biz - Mar 19,2017 - BOULDER, CO – The 2003-4 “Windows Into Heaven” exhibition held at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, N.C., celebrated a period that was the zenith of Russian art’s long and illustrious history. The stellar exhibition that drew international media attention featured 18th- and 19th-century Russian icons on loan from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek collection. It would be another 10 years before the fabled icons were exhibited again, at the North Carolina Museum of History. Now a select grouping of icons from those two exhibitions has been chosen to headline Artemis Gallery’s March 23 auction, with absentee and Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers.
“Russian icons of this caliber are regarded as being at the pinnacle of devotional art, along with the great works of Italian masters,” said Teresa Dodge, executive director of Artemis Gallery. “Collectors can be assured that any piece with provenance from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek collection is of premier quality. We are enormously proud to be able to offer this very special art to our bidders.”
The 177-lot auction will reverently reopen “Windows Into Heaven” with a pair of circa-1890 arched, gold leaf Royal Door wing panels from a Russian Orthodox iconostasis (icon screen). Ornately incised and decorated, the panels bear images of an Annunciation scene and the Four Evangelists. “The central doors of an iconostasis are called the ‘Royal Doors.’ They were regarded as holy and remained closed except during the Divine Liturgy, when the priest would open them to consecrate the bread and wine,” Dodge explained. Highly important and with provenance from the Robicsek collection, the Royal Door panels are estimated at $60,000-$90,000.
A 19th-century Russian calendar icon of grand scale (35- by 42.5-inches) – known as a “minyela” – is quite literally a pictorial timetable of sainthood, with each figure identified, and depictions of the feasts of the entire liturgical year. With its breathtaking medley of jewel-tone colors against soft gold leaf, this treasured artwork formerly in the Robicsek collection is expected to make $70,000-$100,000 at auction.
Yet another masterpiece from the Robicsek collection is a monumental late 19th-century CE Theotokos, or Mother of God icon, depicting the Virgin Mary as mother of Jesus Christ. Measuring 56.25 by 34.5 inches, the sacred painting presents the Virgin in a flowing scarlet cloak discreetly adorned with gold stars, with the swaddled Christ Child holding up a gold cross. Museum-exhibited with provenance from the Lilly and Francis Robicsek collection, the Theotokos is estimated at $20,000-$30,000.
From a Ventura County, Calif., collection comes an 18th-century CE Russian painted-wood iconostasis with brass oklads surrounding a central panel and 14 hinged side panels. Its uppermost register is finely painted with half-length portrayals of patriarchs and prophets surrounding God the Father and the Son. Other images show full-length saints engaged in intercessionary prayer and other religious depictions. The striking, richly colorful artwork is offered with a $20,000-$30,000 estimate.
Other Russian icons of note in the auction include depictions of The Virgin of the Sweet Kiss, The Virgin enthroned with