The Hyde Collection, in Glens Falls, New York, has announced the sale of two Russian porcelain palace vases given to it by trustee emeritus and philanthropist Charles R. Wood in an unrestricted bequest following his death last September.
The vases, circa 1825, were sold at Sotheby's, in New York City, on April 21, 2005, for $3.5 million, making Woods' gift the largest donation in the museum's forty-two-year history. As highlighted in the Sotheby's auction catalog, "The vases were among the earliest made during the reign of Tsar Nicholas I, and exemplify the outstanding productions of the artists employed at the Imperial Porcelain Manufactory at this period." At present, no formal decisions have been made for the intended use of this gift.
This is Wood's second major donation to the museum. In 1987, he contributed Greta Garbo's custom 1933 Duesenberg automobile for auction, and the resulting $1.4 million sale supported the 1989 Education Wing expansion and resulted in the naming of the Charles R. Wood Gallery in his honor. In addition, Wood contributed more than eighty objects to the Hyde's permanent collection, which consists of works by European old and modern masters, and American artists, as well as important decorative arts and antique furnishings. Wood served on the museum's board of trustees for nine years, and was named trustee emeritus in 1985.
"This unparalleled contribution is at once an extraordinary gift and an extraordinary opportunity for the Hyde Collection," said museum director Randall Suffolk. "It will enable us to enhance and actively extend Mr. Wood's legacy of generosity, as well as our own mission-driven objectives, for generations to come."