“Fabergé Revealed” Last NightPosted: July 7, 2011
Last night, the Hub and I were the guests of dear friends to the private Opening Celebration of Fabergé Revealed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The well-heeled crowd filled the Cochrane Atrium with anticipation. There the Museum’s biggest supporters enjoyed Russian-inspired hors d’oeuvres with cocktails before descending to the NewMarket Gallery to behold the wonders of Fabergé.
Wonders they are indeed. As we entered the exhibition space, my companions and I let out a collective gasp. Before our eyes was the most exquisite diamond tiara. The picture below does not do justice to this masterpiece that is magnificently displayed in a perfectly lit glass box designed to capture all of the sparkling facets of its many diamonds. Though Richmond is hardly a town for tiara-wearing, any woman seeing this stunning creation would be delighted to don it.
Royal Tiara, circa 1900, from the Arthur and Dorothy McFerrin Foundation Collection, photograph by Houston Museum of Natural History
The marvels continue as you proceed through the exhibition halls. This shows features the extensive VMFA Fabergé collection amassed mostly by Virginian Lillian Thomas Pratt, as well as loans from three other significant collections. This combination constitutes the largest Fabergé assemblage ever seen in the United States.
As I viewed the enormous array of mostly bejewelled and enameled artifacts, I found that I wanted to know so much more about who owned them and when and how they used them. While generally aware that the Romanov family commissioned many of these objects, including the Imperial Easter Eggs, I, like so many others, am fascinated by this tragic imperial family. Craving more information about them and these singular treasures, I had to purchase the 400+ page exhibition catalogue, Fabergé Revealed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts by Géza von Habsburg (Skira Rizzoli, 2011) published in conjunction with the show. Weighing in it at nearly 5 pounds, I am looking forward to learning more from this great coffee table book.
The designers of this remarkable exhibition saved what I believe is the best of the show for last. Behold
Created before 1899 of gold, silver, nephrite, pearls and rose-cut diamonds by the Fabergé firm in St. Petersburg, this stunning object d’ art is now owned by The Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection. I scanned this picture from Fabergé Revealed at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
How does this Fabergé masterpiece compare with real lilies of the valley?
I could be happy with the pearl, gold, diamond and nephrite version. How about you?
If you think so, you’ve got to visit the VMFA to see Fabergé Revealed. On display from July 9 to October 2, it is definitely worth the price of admission if you are not a member. Make a tour the focus of a Thursday or Friday girls’ night out when the Museum stays open until 9 p.m., and its wonderful, mostly locally sourced Amuse Restaurant serves dinner from 5 until 8. What a delectable evening that would be.