Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => The Yussupovs => Topic started by: rachel5a on September 02, 2004, 03:46:03 AM

Title: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: rachel5a on September 02, 2004, 03:46:03 AM
Hello   8)
I heard Felix had some Rembrandt paintings, but I didnt found which one exactly, (??)
And maybe u know his favourite composer, well may be we have the same taste....
Thanks  :-*
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Forum Admin on September 02, 2004, 09:52:26 AM
They came from the Moika Palace, in St. Petersburg. Felix did not purchase them, they were acquired by the Yussupov family in about 1800. Felix took them out of their frames and carried them out of Russia during the Revolution.  He later sold them in 1921. They are both now in the National Gallery in Washington DC.

"Portrait of a Gentleman in a Tall Hat with Gloves"
http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/pimage?1209+0+0

"Portrait of a Lady with an Ostrich Feather Fan"
http://www.nga.gov/cgi-bin/pimage?1210+0+0
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Valmont on September 02, 2004, 02:28:13 PM
Did he sell them? I somehow had the idea he was con and did not get a penny out of them..

Arturo Vega-Llausás
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Forum Admin on September 02, 2004, 02:50:19 PM
Yes, he sold them in 1921 to Joseph Widener, who later donated them to the National Gallery in 1942.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Annie on September 02, 2004, 05:03:00 PM
In Greg's book, it tells the story that Widener tricked Felix and did not give him any money. He was supposed to sell them for him, but he ripped him off. In 1923, Felix and Irina came to NY and sued Widener, but lost. Widener then donated the paintings later. On that same trip, Irina also lost some of her jewels she was bringing to America to sell when they were confiscated by coustoms as part of the Crown jewels. Felix and Irina were so low on funds they were reduced to taking scraps from a resturant their gypys friend was singing at, she'd bring them home to them at night, like you do for your dog. They later returned to Europe.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: nikolai on March 29, 2005, 12:52:30 AM
The Admin answered this correctly. But the story of the Rembrandts is larger and well researched for my novel hopefully to be launched in 2006. It is the story of these paintings from 1660 to 1942. No one knows when Nikolai Borisovich (the first one) acquired them. The exhibit book from the Pushkin's 2003 exhibit says "sometime before 1805." I place it during the French Revolution as he was in Europe at that time. How they got from the Moika Palace in 1917 to the NGA in 1942 involves the conflict between the Prince and Widener. I have studied the trial and all other available records. It was a typical Russian/American business deal where both were wrong in their motives, but Widener right by interpretation of the law. You will have to wait for the novel to get it all and judge for yourself.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: hikaru on March 29, 2005, 01:14:25 AM
It is so interesting!Did you undestand who was the owner in France?
It seems that Widener desired to get them long before revolution.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: nikolai on April 14, 2005, 06:44:15 PM
The story of these paintings is well documented after about 1800, the first Yusupov inventory on record is 1839 however. They are recorded in an auction in 1760 and believed by the NGA to have been painted 1660. Joseph Widener's father, Peter A B Widener, started the collection, developed the trolley system in Philadelphia, and became the richest man in the city. The portraits only left Russian once, in 1895 (I think) for an exposition in Holland. PAB heard of them and in 1905 took his yacht through the newly opened Keel Canal to St. Pete to see these paintings. His offer to buy them was refused. His son, Joseph, knew of them from that. When their presence in London hit the headlines, he went there and bought them in 1921 on contestable terms which is another story.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Valmont on April 15, 2005, 10:06:25 AM
Nicolai,
Please help me understand this.
How was it that Felix sold the paintings and then took Widener to court caliming Widener con him?? I am not expevting a very elaborated  answer, just a simple one..

Arturo Vega-Llausás
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: nikolai on April 15, 2005, 10:27:36 AM
There is not a simple answer to this as it has even a cultural basis as well as legal. Both sides were trying to keep the painting. Felix wanted to get it back and borrowed money to finance the case with intent to resell it from more money. Widener took a crafty advantage to get the paintings for a low price. Under law of contracts Widener was proved right. Felix was nieve, destitute (relatively so for a prince) and not used to managing money at all. It is really a long story involving the shenanigans of scheming art dealers, arrogant lawyers, etc.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: hikaru on April 15, 2005, 11:11:03 AM
Nikolay, I am very sorry if I wrong - is your story
a little fiction or without any fiction?
I think that Yusupov bought Rembrandt during Ekaterina time when she gave him a task to collect the pictures for Hermitage (and money as well)
I just think that he could not hesitate to take the pictures which he liked very much to hiw own collection but not to buy them for Hermitage when he met this pictures.
As I understand, Holland painture was the most
expensive and fashionable in Europe during Catherine the Great time.

Maybe I am wrong, It is just my personal point of view.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: RichC on April 15, 2005, 05:12:03 PM
Quote
I place it during the French Revolution as he was in Europe at that time.



How interesting that the paintings seem to change hands whenever there's a revolution!  
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Bsquared on May 09, 2005, 07:52:11 PM
What happened to the Yussopov fortune outside of Russia? Did Felix Sr. and Zenaida leave much when they died?  Bebe (Irina Jr) seemed to be very down and out in Italy in the 1930s and 1940s- I would think she would have had financial resources because her grandparents (who raised her) lived in Rome? I know she was cut off from her parents in France and Grand Duchess Xenia in England during the WWII.    
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Annie on May 10, 2005, 10:31:31 AM
From what I've seen, they had to sell off a lot of their assets, even some of Zenaida's prized jewelry, to live.  There was always one more thing they could sell.

There is a lot on this in Greg King's book on Yussoupov, "The Man Who Killed Rasputin"

Felix also discusses it some in his memoirs, Lost Splendor

http://alexanderpalace.org/lostsplendor

and in its sequel, which is only in French and out of print.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Forum Admin on May 10, 2005, 11:25:01 AM
There was not that huge a fortune outside of Russia. 95% of their vast wealth was in  Russia in 1917. While they could have lived comfortably on what was left, they simply did not know how, and spent money at first like they did in Russia, spending most of the money very quickly.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Jane on August 01, 2005, 03:14:38 PM
Quote
That they lived "elegantly" in Paris is not true.  They did not live in the "correct arrondissement", even though they had a charming but small little townouse, almost Tudor-style.


Oh, dear.  How terribly inelegant of the Yusupovs not to have lived in the "correct arrondissement," as you refer to it.  
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Forum Admin on August 02, 2005, 09:11:15 AM
To be fair to AlexP, even today in Paris, some arrondissments, like the 16th, are considered "better" or "more proper", just as Fifth Avenue or Park Ave, in New York, or 90210, or River Oaks in Houston.

We can be most certain that given the Yussopovs were indeed the wealthiest family in Imperial Russia, the fact they could not then afford to live in the best arrondissment in Paris would not have gone unnoticed in the emigre community as a sign of just how far the once mighty had fallen.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Jane on August 02, 2005, 06:59:48 PM
Quote
And they are not buried in Ste-Genevieve-des-Bois in the sections that are the most elegant, where repose "les grands notables" but in a rather far more ordinary, almost "banal" part of the cemetery.


I should think they were fortunate to be buried in a marked grave at all, however "banal" or "ordinary" you  describe it, AlexP.  May I say that I almost regretted my comment to you yesterday until I read this statement from you in response.

Considering the precariousness of existence for most Russian expatriates after the Revolution--whether in Berlin, Paris, or Harbin--is it really necessary for you to impart such a judgmental tone over which particular arrondissement one lived in, considering nearly 80 years have passed since the Revolution?  Much less in which cemetary they are buried?

As I am sure you are perfectly aware, most Russian expats in Paris lived around the rue Vaugirard, the rue Daru, the rue Pierre le Grand, and the rue Neva.  While the 15e and 17e arrondissments may not have the "prime" quartiers as those that can be found in the more central arrodissements, they were and are lovely in and of themselves.  What constitutes a 'correct' is really entirely subjective, according to the opinion of those living there, as I am sure you'd agree.  What is is correct for certain old-money Parisians (Ile St Louis, for example) is not necessarily 'correct' for the literary crowd.  Would the 7e been better for the Yussupovs than the 6e, in your opinion?  

You hinted in other parts of the forum that your family fled from Russia after the Revolution.  Did you family live in the "correct" district of whatever new city to which they emigrated?

Most Russian expats all worked very hard to recreate traditional cultural lifestyles and did much less to assimilate into their new home countries, sometimes to their detriment.  They created microcosms of their old lifestyles--schools, businesses, restaurants, shops, clubs.  All this is very understandable and human, mind you, as people naturally will try to create sense and structure out of a world that seems chaotic.   Perhaps an unwillingness to come to grips with reality, or obsessions with appearances, is why so many of the emigres simply could not make a successful transition?

And as far your insistence on peppering your posts with French words and bon mots, whether you are attempting to drive home the point that you speak multiple languages (laudable indeed), or trying to appear superior, je ne suis pas impressionné.  As the French say.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Jane on August 02, 2005, 10:05:58 PM
Quote
Allow me to correct your French.  You should have written "je ne suis pas impressionnée" because since you claim to be a female, you should add the proper ending to the verb. Unless you of course are transgender. Additionally, please check the spelling of the word "cemetery".  It is  NOT "cemetary" as you incorrectly write, but "cemetery".


Ahhh...Nothing like having to stoop to pointing out an opponent's  typographical error in an argument.  There's no finer indicator of adversial prowess.  Very well done.

Although you are quite right on my French...it's been years since I've had occasion to speak it.  Tant pis.

As for the continuing "importance" as you claim, of le bon ton...well...we will simply have to agree to disagree.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: AlexP on August 12, 2005, 06:22:21 AM
Perhaps know we can return to the Yussopov fortune.

Hikarushka, are there any reliable breakdowns or estimates of the Yussopov fortune before the war?

Considering that they owned tens of thousands of hectares land (I believe that after the Church, they were the largest landowner in Russia);

Considering that they owned, until emanicipation, tens of thousands of poor Russian serfs (I once saw the figure at 75,000, which actually appeared relatively small to me);

Considering that they owned in their near entirey the oils fields of Baku and of the Caspian and in the North of Russia;

Considering that they had an immense cultural patrimony under their control, the works of art, the furniture, the porcelain, etc.,

Considering their real estate holdings in Petersburg alone (they were a major real estate owner in the city);

What might be a reasonable figure?  I realize that Yussopov fils mentions one in his book but it just seem out-of-touch with reality;

Considering that they also had major placements in pound sterling on the Bank of England.

Regards all,

A.A.

Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: Forum Admin on August 12, 2005, 10:07:21 AM
According to Jacques Ferrand, Felix made a list in 1962 (re printed in his book) of just the propeties they held before the Revolution and their values at the time. The total just for the properties is just over 50,000,000 gold rubles. This does not include factories, income, the theatre, art, silver, jewels etc etc. A rough modern figure would be perhaps $750 million to 1 billion. Ferrand states the family fortune before 1900 was the equivalent of $500,000,000 in gold in 1900 dollars. That would again be the equivalent of perhaps 7.5-10 BILLION US$ today. Not a trifling sum in any event.

Just found this for some comparison: The Imperial Court's expenses (The Minister of the Court's entire expenses)for the Coronation year of 1896 was only 13 million rubles. Construction of the Trans-Siberian railway, the whole thing, cost 86 million rubles.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: lancashireladandre on September 28, 2005, 03:06:16 PM
The family owned a THIRD Rembrandt !!which must have been left in the Moika palace, hidden with all the other wonderful pictures.Bet Felix could have kicked himself for not having taken that south not to mention more jewelry .......The story of the Widener court case is mentioned in detail in S N Bermans "Duveen".
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: lancashireladandre on September 28, 2005, 03:11:18 PM
The third Rembrandt was of a young boy.Has anybody any idea of it's current location?.
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: amelia on September 28, 2005, 06:38:57 PM
I  remember reading that the Prince sold the two painting to Widener, with the contract of buying them back in a number of years.  When the time came, Prince Youssupov did not have the money, then his friend the Hungarian philantropist Clouste Gulbienken lent him the money. Then the Prince went to NY to buy his paintings back. Widener refused to sell them on the grounds that the money was not the Prince's but Gulbienken's money. They went to court and the court rulled in favour of Widener.  I think it was miscarriage of justice.

Unfortunately I do not remember where I read this, maybe in Greg King's book on in Lost Splendor.

Amelia
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: YH on November 14, 2016, 10:18:48 AM
The Admin answered this correctly. But the story of the Rembrandts is larger and well researched for my novel hopefully to be launched in 2006. It is the story of these paintings from 1660 to 1942. No one knows when Nikolai Borisovich (the first one) acquired them. The exhibit book from the Pushkin's 2003 exhibit says "sometime before 1805." I place it during the French Revolution as he was in Europe at that time. How they got from the Moika Palace in 1917 to the NGA in 1942 involves the conflict between the Prince and Widener. I have studied the trial and all other available records. It was a typical Russian/American business deal where both were wrong in their motives, but Widener right by interpretation of the law. You will have to wait for the novel to get it all and judge for yourself.


Did you publish your novel?
Title: Re: The Yusupov fortune - what happened after 1917 ?
Post by: YH on March 17, 2018, 03:57:34 AM
Paintings are in the National gallery of Arts in Washington. We visited them last in December 2017.