Antiqua № 1 2013

As promised, this September the first issue of our new magazine called Antiqua has been published. This richly illustrated reading is about objects which become better with time and people who have an eye for them. Please make it feel welcome — the first issue!

Here’s the publisher Igor Typalskiy’s introductory remark before the first issue: «In the way a human face reflects a personality more and more with years, objects also age differently. The time reveals both bad and good, conducting natural selection — what should go to a dump and what is to live in centuries. Our magazine is about real things, pieces of art, passion of collecting and enthusiastic people with fiery eyes».

 

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And now the co-founder and editor Mitya Kharshak’s introduction: «Good old things, which have absorbed the time, especially attract me. I’m less concerned of their material value — their energy and stories they can tell are more important to me. Whether it’s furniture, old books, clocks or, for example, an old corkscrew, I believe objects should go on living their lives, being used, but not to serve as exhibits at a collector’s home. As any house gradually decays and turns to neglect without tenants, an old book in the same way needs human hands to touch it, and а corkscrew should pull a cork out of a bottle of good wine from time to time. Holding live history in your fingertips and listening what the thing tells you about its past is a joy which not a lot could be compared to».

 

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One of the guest stars of the isue is a very well-known Russian lawyer and collector Alexander Dobrovinsky: «Collecting things I’d never thought of how much they cost, but there came a day when individual items got together into an assembly. Sometimes it happened that the collection fulfilled me and exceeded the scope — I would understood I couldn’t collect everything in the world and got tired of things, that’s why I’ve sold several major collections in my life. I sold them, of course, with a huge margin in comparison with the purchase. Almost each time I somehow managed to anticipate what would be appreciated and valued some time afterwards».

 

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Next, we present you the interview with one more significaht figure of collecting in Russia. Kirill Ignatiev — a businessman, investor, the chairman of the multicorporate enterprise Russian investments board of directors, the person of deep encyclopedic knowledge and a keen collector, told Antiqua of his assembly and historical restoration projects: «My interest is focused on the subjects of Russian classicism — I chose an ideologeme for me that between the end of the reign of Catherine II to the end of the reign of Alexander I it was the golden age of Russian history. At the time Russia gradually acquired its leading position in Europe and, consequently, in the world. The country defeated Napoleon. It was the time when extremely talented architects from Europe came to work to Russia».

 

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A professional’s point of view on the antiques market of Russia and trades on Russian art you can find in the interview with the General Director of Sotheby’s — Russia and the CIS Mikhail Kamensky: «There are people with no collectors’ ambitions, the ones who must invest because they see that art is constantly getting more expensive. Having bought not a fake but an authentic and good quality item by a famous artist, you know it’ll not become cheaper. Unlike stocks, art doesn’t turn into nothing by the will of a scoundrel politician. Also, everybody knows the best investment is to purchase systematically what you like. In this case the set of selected and calibrated works gains additional value due to its volume, so you acquire an additional bonus».

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On the pages of the first issue, we present a trio of St. Petersburg antique shops, Harmony, Silver Age and Trianon, the business of the founder of the company Saint-Petersburg antiquarian Mikhail Suslov, which, for good reviews of his colleagues, firmly holds the top spot on the antique scene of the city. Mikhail Suslov and Alexander Gubanov, the expert and director of Trianon, have answered our questions: «Some time ago, everybody would buy the items things of the epoch of Napoleon III, and today the preferences have shifted towards the Art Nouveau. But the Russian Empire style has always consistently been in high demand».

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The editorial board of Antiqua aren’t keen on the wine just in theory. In order to get a professional comment on wines and wine collecting investments, we turned to the well-known businessman Yevgeny Chichvarkin, whose London shop Hedonism has become one of the most famous wine boutiques in the world in a very short time. «Advanced search is our speciality. For example, there has been a request for whiskey Macallan of 1947 — the customer urgently wanted it for a birthday. Also, the wine Recioto of 1983 has recently been wanted. Block 42 Penfolds has again been in search as it was sold out and there aren’t many places where they have it left. The Cognac Louis XIII Rare cask is from the same list of rarities — we suffered under the order, too, searching for it all over the world».

 

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Here’s what we have to add to the interview with Yevgeny Chichvarkin: the overview of the top ten global wine auctions. If the opportunities of Russian importers are already not enough for you, the list is yours.

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The famous artist and collector Alexander Florensky is speaking of the origins and the existance of his own art collection, Fine-art and swan painting, presents and findings: «Funny things happened — one day I found in the trash near my studio a canvas by Alexander Arefiev. It sounds implausible, especially because canvases by him almost do not exhist, he’s mostly a graphic artist, but nevertheless, it’s a fact. However, this was a late canvas, and I don’t tlike this particular period, so I sold it with a clear conscience to the collector Lev Katznelson for 50 rubles (these were the 1980s, and the sum satisfied me a lot).»

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Furthe on, the editor of Antiqua— the well-known gallery owner and collector Pavel Ulyanov says about his collection and the practice of collecting classic Finnish design: «A tip: being at flea markets, never buy items worth more than five hundred euros and the things you are unfamiliar with. The error likelihood is extremely high — it may be a less valuable manufacturer, another epoch, and indeed a compilation mispresented as a little-known prototype».

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The book research subject is presented by three famous books of the XVIII century — New Vignola, Discourse on the perspective and Fundamentals of drawing. These well-known books on Russian art education have come together in the same private collection. «Architecture in general was then very much in fashion (about as urban studies are nowadays): Catherine II, and later Paul I paid not less attention to the construction than to lawmaking; notable customers were interested in it as well, and some of them, for example, Princess Dashkova, also played the role of architects. Basic knowledge of architecture was necessary to be considered a more or less educated person. But most importantly, by the Masons’ (or «freemasons’») behest, the ones who brought together all the intellectual elite of the time, the architecture of classicism became the symbol of the reconstruction of the whole Russian life under the laws of Order and Truth — in this context the treatise by Vignola from the textbook of architecture turned into an example (or, if tou want, an «icon») of style, including the lifestyle».

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The book research subject is presented by three famous books of the XVIII century — New Vignola, Discourse on the perspective and Fundamentals of drawing. These well-known books on Russian art education have come together in the same private collection. «Architecture in general was then very much in fashion (about as urban studies are nowadays): Catherine II, and later Paul I paid not less attention to the construction than to lawmaking; notable customers were interested in it as well, and some of them, for example, Princess Dashkova, also played the role of architects. Basic knowledge of architecture was necessary to be considered a more or less educated person. But most importantly, by the Masons’ (or «freemasons’») behest, the ones who brought together all the intellectual elite of the time, the architecture of classicism became the symbol of the reconstruction of the whole Russian life under the laws of Order and Truth — in this context the treatise by Vignola from the textbook of architecture turned into an example (or, if tou want, an «icon») of style, including the lifestyle».

 

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Antiqua doesn’t tune out the subject of collecting machines as well. The first issue has the story of Ivan Ishutkin about his collection of motorcycles: «The well-preserved items of more or less indoor storage, which require no restoration, value the highest. But these are originals, «emeralds», you rarely come across and get them. In my collection of fifty motorcycles there are only two treasures of such kind: the motorcycle Red October with zero mileage and the motorcycle Indian of 1916. All the other vehicles had to be repaired».

 

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Next, the well-known Russian designer Stas Zhitskiy speaks of his collection, where far not all of the objects have been attributed to function: «Crying over the gone epoch sounds silly, but I think its’s too unfair o forget the things only because they’re not being used nowadays. That’s why I go to flea markets and give a puzzling question to sellers: — Do you have any stuff you don’t know what it is? They sometimes tell me: — Look, here’s some stuff, and who knows what it’s for… Antique, take it for 100 euros, what I reasonably object to: — Hey, 100 euros for something you don’t know the function of? 30 euros’a deal, isn’t it? As a rule, it is». By the way, the item of his collection, called a «porte jupe», decorates the cover of our magazine.

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Our expert and collector Niki Lawrens tells about the fortune of the hobby, in other words, the history of existance and collecting hunting guns: «By the end of the XX — beginning of the XXI situation of hunting guns collecting in Russia improved, although problems still exist. Large deficiencies of law let the oversight bodies interpret legal acts in a different way. The customs bristles with prohibitions and infinite exactions. Against the background of Western colleagues’ relaxed life with theit idyllic conversations at the auctions and exhibitions the existance of a collector of guns in Russia seems very difficult and close to active situation».

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Next, Niki Lawrens presents the biggest in Russia private collection of military and civilian bladed weapons of the XVIII-XIX centuries. Our expert met the well-known collector Alexander Lyutov. The two collectors — «gunsmiths» talk about the amazing discoveries and the history of cold steel: «Among the professionals there also are approaches, unacceptable to me. For example, there’s a very common statement: «I only buy things without any trace of operation». Yes, you may come across such items, but very rarely. A historically normal situation is to bear the traces of its usage, this is life. And how come a sword may have no traces of a fight, a duel?

 

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However, not only objects made by human hands are the items to collect. The well-known Saint- Petersburg graphic artist Valery Grikovsky has come out to be a keen collector of beetles! There are over three thousand insects in his collection. «My favorite moment in collecting is when a beetle, having passed all the stages from the haul to its legs and horns outspreading, finally gets its name. As I understand it, that’s his name, say, is Monochamus urussovi — a sawyer beetle — and it accurately occupies its position in the box, I feel total harmony and world order. I didn’t catch and preserve it just because, but to put it right in position».

 

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Saint-Petersburg is rich not only in recognized state museums. Private galleries sometimes have amazing collections. Antiqua will be telling about them in each issue. To begin with, Dmitry Schneerson, one of the founders of the Museum of the History of Photography, tells: «I had already collected a couple of thousand photos, and there was a room where the museum later started its existance. By this time I’d saved some idle money, that allowed not only to replenish the collection, but also to finance the museum. The minimal objective was to arrange it so that the founders did not become broke.

 

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The issue is closed with the interview with the owner of the private museum of perfumes Elina Arsenyeva: «The specifics here is that fragrances sooner or later deteriorate, so collecting them for the purpose of storage does not make sense. Essences are created for the nose, but not for a locked cabinet. The standard recommended perfume shelf life is three years long, therefore fragrances over a hundred years old are a big rarity. Each exhibit may die at any moment. They do not like light, heat, transportation and shipment. They are moody and unpredictable».

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Antiqua № 1 2013

Read the full e-version on issuu.com