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Private collection of world renowned musicians Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya revealed

  • Auktion
    Private collection of world renowned musicians Mstislav Rostropovich and Galina Vishnevskaya revealed
    28.11.2018

LONDON, 19 November 2018: On 28th November, Sotheby’s London will offer for sale the private collection of the world’s greatest cellist and conductor, Mstislav Rostropovich, and the electrifying principal soprano of Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, Galina Vishnevskaya. The dedicated sale will feature over 100 lots, including furniture, personal jewellery, Russian works of art, books, and musical instruments from the renowned couple’s collection. Offered with an estimate in excess of £2.7 million the auction will present an unprecedented glimpse into the personal lives and loves of these two esteemed musicians.

Leading the sale will be three cellos from Rostropovich’s private collection. Including a masterful 1783 Guadagnini cello, the auction will mark the first time that the maestro’s personal musical instruments will be offered for sale. The Guadagnini cello, offered with an estimate of £1 – 1.5 million, was acquired by Rostropovich in 2000. The instrument was brought to the couple’s Paris flat, where Rostropovich merely plucked its strings very briefly before declaring his intention to buy it. The sale was confirmed later the same day over lunch, during which Rostropovich explained why he had always wanted to own a Guadagnini cello. At the age of 18 he had won the gold medal at the Soviet Union’s first ever competition for young musicians, and he attributed his success to the Guadagnini cello which he had used on that occasion. After he left Russia in 1974 he took the Guadagnini to a violin maker in Switzerland who declared that it was mis-labelled and nothing to do with that maker. Rostropovich at that point had sworn that one day he would own a fine Guadagnini cello.

Playing the Guadagnini cello during a recent visit to Sotheby’s London, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, the British cellist and the winner of the 2016 BBC Young Musician of the Year Award who played at the wedding of HRH Prince Harry and Miss Meghan Markle earlier this year, said: “I always find it very special playing on cellos like this that were made hundreds of years ago. For me, it's very special to be playing an instrument that was played by someone I admire so much. I think listening to lots of different cellists, I don't try to copy what they do, but it's so interesting that we have so many recordings, to be able to learn from what they have done. I have learned a lot from listening to Rostropovich's playing. It's very special to be able to play an instrument that belonged to him. Rostropovich is one of my favourite cellists to listen to and to watch videos of playing. I think what's so amazing about him as a musician is the amazing numbers of pieces that we now consider standard cello repertoire, which he commissioned. I think as a cellist, we owe a lot to Rostropovich.”








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  • Cover of catalogue: Mstislav Rostropovich private collection
    Cover of catalogue: Mstislav Rostropovich private collection
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • GIOVANNI BATTISTA GUADAGNINI, A Cello, Turin, 1783 (est. £1,000,000 - 1,500,000)
    GIOVANNI BATTISTA GUADAGNINI, A Cello, Turin, 1783 (est. £1,000,000 - 1,500,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • GIOVANNI BATTISTA GUADAGNINI_Cello_£1,000,000 - 1,500,000
    GIOVANNI BATTISTA GUADAGNINI_Cello_£1,000,000 - 1,500,000
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Grand piano by Bosendorfer, Vienna 1976 (est. £40,000 - 60,000)
    Grand piano by Bosendorfer, Vienna 1976 (est. £40,000 - 60,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Emerald and diamond pendant necklace, Simon Rudle, 1990 (est. £40,000 - 60,000)
    Emerald and diamond pendant necklace, Simon Rudle, 1990 (est. £40,000 - 60,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Diamond ring, Cartier_£250,000 - 300,000
    Diamond ring, Cartier_£250,000 - 300,000
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Salvador Dali, Le Violon (Violon D'Ingres), 1966, (est. £40,000 - 60,000)
    Salvador Dali, Le Violon (Violon D'Ingres), 1966, (est. £40,000 - 60,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • A Russian malachite veneered and gilt-bronze centre table circa 1840, (est. £30,000 - 50,000)
    A Russian malachite veneered and gilt-bronze centre table circa 1840, (est. £30,000 - 50,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
  • Rusian cut-glass and gilt-brass frame chandelier, late 18th C, (est. £50,000 - 80,000)
    Rusian cut-glass and gilt-brass frame chandelier, late 18th C, (est. £50,000 - 80,000)
    Sotheby’s Auktionshaus
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