Wednesday, June 13, 2007

CARLIN : MARIA FEODOROVNA WRITING DESK

German born Martin Carlin (1730-1785) went to France to work as an ebenist and was neither very successful nor rich but he made a considerable amount of nice piece of furnitures which was mainly bought by the Rue du Fbg St Martin (Paris) furniture dealers of the time.

Tzarina Maria Feodorovna of W├╝rttemberg, wife of Emperor Paul I of Russia, bought a Martin Carlin writing desk which she used in her palace of Pavlovsk, near St Petersburg. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 it was bought by the English art dealer Lord Duveen and eventually arrived in the collection of Anna Dodge, wife of the founder of the American car company. In 1971, the Dodge collection was put for sale on auction and this writing desk was sold to the Iranian art collector and oil magnate Habib Sabet for $ 415,800, thus becoming the owner of the most expensive piece of furniture in history.

At that time TIME magazine ironized about the St Vitus's dance of the International Art Market and asked "who needs masterpieces at that prices"? After the Iranian revolution of 1979 it was smuggled out of Iran and, twelve years later, once more sold on auction for £ 918,000 ($1.3 million) to the P.Getty Museum of Ma;ibu. This time TIME Magazine prudently abstained from any sort of ironical comments. No wonder Iranian people do not like American people today....

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