Fine art, furnishings of Hungarian nobility in Quinn's Feb. 7 auction Fine art and furnishings of a noble Hungarian family will be featured in Quinn’s Feb. 7 auction; an important Bert Geer Phillips (Taos school) painting of an Indian brave is an additional highlight.
News-Antique.com - Dec 22,2008 - FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Heirlooms, important artworks and historical jewelry from one of Europe’s most distinguished noble families will be auctioned on Saturday, Feb. 7 at Quinn’s Auction Galleries in Falls Church, Va. While many high-profile estates and collections have been entrusted to the suburban Washington, D.C., auction house in the past, Quinn’s gallery director Matthew Quinn says the consignment of fine artworks, antique furnishings, decorative art and jewels from the combined Teleki and Mikes (pronounced Me-KESH) families is without precedent.
“This will be a tremendous sale,” said Quinn. “The 300 to 400 items to be auctioned are from old Hungarian aristocracy, whose combined family tree could be compared to a merger of the Kennedys and European royalty. The consignor, who now lives in suburban Washington, is the son of the late Countess Johanna Mikes Teleki and Geza Teleki, and grandson of two-time Hungarian Prime Minister Pal Teleki (1879-1941).”
An overview of the auction contents reveals very fine European furnishings, rugs and paintings, including several Dutch school and 19th-century artworks; many smalls including high-quality netsukes, and an extensive selection of Herend china. “There’s a wonderful painting by Johann Frankenburger (Austrian, 1807-1874) that’s one of the nicest I’ve seen,” said Quinn. “It depicts a young woman cutting grapes off a vine. The woman was an Albanian ancestor of Iren Murati, mother of Pal Tekeki.” Signed and dated 1846, the 39½-inch by 32-inch oil on canvas is estimated at $4,000-$6,000.
An object of military and historical significance is the ornately carved ivory-handled sword and scabbard (estimate $2,500-$3,500) that, according to Teleki family lore, was given to Prime Minister Pal Teleki by Emperor Taisho of Japan. Teleki is a prominent figure in Hungarian history who attempted to prevent Hungary’s involvement in World War II, even as Nazi forces were sweeping through eastern Europe.
In the forefront of the fine furniture selection is an impressive 1770 German walnut parquetry bureau cabinet, or schreibshrank. An imposing 89 inches tall, it was made expressly for Gernyeszeg, the Teleki family’s baroque castle in Transylvania. It is cataloged with a $15,000-$25,000 estimate.
European textiles also feature prominently in the sale. “There are examples of embroidery in this collection that are just incredible,” said Quinn. “One of the Mikes family heirlooms is comprised of antique silver threads on red velvet. There is no way to adequately describe its beauty or quality.”
A glittering highlight of the sale is the diamond brooch given to Johanna Mikes by King Zog of Albania (1895-1961), who purportedly proposed to the young woman in 1936 after seeing a photograph of her and being taken by her beauty. Religious incompatibility – Zog was Muslim/Johanna was Catholic – may have thwarted the marriage, but Johanna’s diamond brooch stayed in the family and is being sold as part of her estate. A spectacular square-shape design, the Art Deco brooch has a total diamond weight of 11.01 carats, and includes 80 stones, the largest of which weighs 1 carat. The workmanship has all the earmarkings of Osterreicher, the