1920 Paul Troubetzkoy Bronze Figure of Mademoiselle Svirsky

Value (2009) | $60,000 Retail

GUEST:
It's a piece that's always been a part of my family. I remember her in the living room when I was a little girl. I'm just guessing that my grandfather purchased it at a European art exhibit, perhaps, and brought it back to the United States, probably in the '20s.

APPRAISER:
Well, it's a sculpture by a very prominent artist. His name is Paul Troubetzkoy. The piece is signed and dated, and it has the foundry mark right here of the Valsuani foundry. And Valsuani was one of the most prominent foundries

GUEST:
Oh.

APPRAISER:
of this time. Troubetzkoy was from a very, very famous Russian family. The Troubetzkoy family were princes going way back, and he was self-taught as an artist. He worked in Russia, in Italy, and also in the United States, and he sometimes signed Pavel Troubetzkoy or Paolo, and this is signed Paul Troubetzkoy. This piece is actually a portrait.

GUEST:
Is it?

APPRAISER:
And it's a portrait of a woman named Mademoiselle Svirsky. And an example of this was exhibited in 1912 at the Chicago Art Institute, and it's listed in the catalogue of that exhibition.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
So it's a portrait of a specific dancer. Troubetzkoy was known for portraits of various dancers, of celebrities. He did a portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But he particularly liked dancers, and I think what's so wonderful about his work is how it captures this whole spirit of the dance. This is the time of Isadora Duncan and this much freer kind of dancing rather than classical ballet. And I think that's exemplified in the way her costume is rendered, in this almost impressionistic fashion. Usually you think of bronzes as cold, hard surfaces, but you have all these wonderful surface embellishments that I think make the piece very, very exciting. Now his work has become very, very popular. It's particularly popular because it now appeals to Russians and, as you know, the Russians are a very active part of the art market.

GUEST:
Mm-hmm.

APPRAISER:
Work by Troubetzkoy sometimes is sold as American, and it's also sold as Russian. I did find the identical sculpture coming up in a sale this spring.

GUEST:
Really?

APPRAISER:
And it sold in New York for $62,500.

GUEST:
Oh, my God, you're kidding.

APPRAISER:
So in a gallery setting, I think this would easily bring in that $60,000 range, if not more. She's just been a very strong part of all of our lives, so we've just loved her. Thanks for coming to the Roadshow.

GUEST:
Thank you so much for having me.

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Lillian Nassau LLC
New York, NY
Appraised value (2009)
$60,000 Retail
Event
Phoenix, AZ (August 01, 2009)
Period
20th Century
Form
Figure
Material
Bronze

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