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Rare Rasputin Portraits to be Sold at Auction

The portraits were painted from life by Theodora Krarup in 1916.

Courtesy of Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers

Two rare portraits done from life of Grigory Rasputin are going to be sold by Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers in Copenhagen on June 2.

The portraits were done by Theodora Krarup, a Danish artist, in St. Petersburg. Karaup did a total of 16 portraits of Rasputin, most of which have been lost or destroyed. Krarup sold three portraits of Rasputin to the Finnish Consul General, Otto Auer. One was resold and its whereabouts are now unknown, but descendants of Auer consigned the two remaining portraits to the auction house.

Grigory Rasputin was renowned — and reviled — for his supposed ability to stop the Tsarevich’s hemophiliac bleeding and for his supposed influence on the royal family. Rasputin was assassinated at the end of December 1916 by Prince Felix Yusupov, Grand Duke Dmitry Pavlovich, and Vladimir Purishkevich at the Yusupov palace on the Moika.


								 				Courtesy of Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers
Courtesy of Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers

Theordora Krarup (1862-1941) came to St. Petersburg from Denmark in 1896 as a portraitist of the imperial family. She had a studio on Nevsky Prospekt and painted portraits of not only Russian royalty, but also other prominent cultural and scientific figures. She was acquainted with Grigory Rasputin and strongly refuted the depiction of him as a womanizer and fraud. She wrote that he was a kind person without ambition.

Krarup stayed in Russia after the 1917 Revolution until 1938, when she returned to Denmark. Her memoirs, “42 Years in the Realm of the Tsar and the Soviets” was published in Danish posthumously. Unfortunately, little information appears available about her in English.

The two portraits are estimated in value at $16,500-24,600 and $82,000-98,000, but the results of the auction may, of course, be different.

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