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Lot #310
Fyodor Dostoevsky Signed Photograph to Brother

Remarkably rare signed photograph of Fyodor Dostoevsky, inscribed to his architect brother

Estimate: $60000+

The 30 Minute Rule begins June 14 at 7:00 PM EDT. An Initial Bid Must Be Placed By June 14 at 6:00 PM EDT To Participate After 6:00 PM EDT

Server Time: 6/05/2023 07:52:31 PM EDT


Remarkably rare signed photograph of Fyodor Dostoevsky, inscribed to his architect brother

Prolific Russian novelist (1821-1881) whose literary works—such as Notes from Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1869), and The Brothers Karamazov (1880)—explore the human condition in the troubled political, social, and spiritual atmospheres of 19th-century Russia. Excessively rare 4.25 x 6.5 cabinet photo featuring an oval portrait of Fyodor Dostoevsky by Constantin Shapiro, boldly signed and inscribed on the reverse in ink to his brother, the architect Andrey Dostoevsky: "Dorogomu bratu / Andreju ot brata / Fedora 12 Oktob[ra] / 79 [For my dear brother Andrey from his brother Fyodor, 12 October 1879]." The photo is protected by tissue guards on both sides and in very good to fine condition, with some flaking to the emulsion at the edges of the image side, and an inconsequential stain at the bottom of the signed side. A remarkable literary autograph, and an extreme rarity—the first Dostoevsky we have ever offered.

This incredible Dostoevsky signed photograph is not listed in the census of Dostoevsky's inscriptions, published in 1990. Altogether, the editors of the scholarly 30-volume Academy of Sciences edition of Dostoevsky's works count only 42 inscriptions, of which 16 are on photographs—a surprisingly small number for a so prolific and significant author of his day. That it is a presentation to his brother, Andrey Mikhailovich Dostoevsky (1825-1897), makes it an even more remarkable association piece. Andrey Dostoevsky's memoirs, first published in 1930, are important to literary scholars as a source of information on the early years of Fyodor's life.

The St. Petersburg photographer and Hebrew poet Constantin Shapiro (1839-1900) was a close friend of Fyodor Dostoevsky and produced several portraits of him. His fashionable studio on Nevsky Prospect was popular with celebrities, and his many famous sitters included Tolstoy, Chekhov, Tchaikovsky, Turgenev, and Gontcharov.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts Featuring Animation
  • Dates: May 19, 2023 - June 14, 2023

This item is Pre-Certified by PSA/DNA
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