FABERGÉ: IMPERIAL JEWELER TO THE TSARS at the Bowers Museum

Peter Carl Fabergé has long been known for creating dazzling baubles for clients like the Russian royal family. Catch a glimpse of the jeweler’s work.

Saturday, June 23, 2012 – Sunday, January 6, 2013
Tue – Sun:10:00 am-4:00 pm
Santa Ana CA

Discover the spectacular designs of Peter Carl Fabergé.  the master goldsmith and legendary jeweler still celebrated for his inventive designs and meticulous craftsmanship, through a special exhibition.

The House of Fabergé has a reputation for turning the everyday into the extraordinary. Perhaps best known for Imperial Easter Eggs created for the Russian Royal family, the House of Fabergé also fashioned jewelry and luxurious gifts for many ruling families of Europe, as well as other wealthy patrons.

Marvel at exquisite objects produced by the Fabergé workshop at its peak, including personal gifts to the Tsar and Tsarina, an extravagant tiara, the magnificent “Fire Screen” picture frame, and the famed “Nobel Ice Egg,” one of the few “Imperial-styled” eggs in private  hands.

In recent years, the McFerrin Collection has become one of the world’s most important private collections of Fabergé. While many of the pieces in this collection have been featured individually in other exhibitions and publications over the past 60 years, this is a rare opportunity to see this magnificent collection.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE EXHIBITION INCLUDE

Made by August Holmstrom for Fabergé circa 1890 using briolette cut diamonds that were a gift to Empress Josephine from Tsar Alexander I of Russia when he visited her at La Malmaison following her divorce.  The tiara was sold by the Leuchtenberg family following the Russian Revolution. This piece is one of only a few tiaras ever made by Fabergé.

Fabergé made eggs for only a small number of other clients; one of those was Swedish industrialist Dr. Emanuel Nobel, who commissioned this treasure between 1913 and 1914. This piece, a jeweled, enameled presentation egg, is also referred to as the “Snowflake Egg,” its shell ingeniously enameled and engraved to simulate the tracery of frost against a misted ground. It opens to reveal a “surprise”—a rock crystal and diamond pendant watch. The unique watch design was created specifically for Dr. Nobel and interpreted in other jewelry pieces by Fabergé, some of which Dr. Nobel gave as favors at his dinner parties. Several examples of these “ice jewels” are included in the exhibition.

After the Russian Revolution, it was sold to the Parisian dealer A. A. Anatra, whom subsequently sold it to Mr. Jacques Zolotnitzky, of A La Vieille Russie, in Paris. It was later sold to a North-American collector. In 1994 it was sold at Christie’s, in Geneva, for several hundred thousand dollars.

This intricately decorated picture frame (made between 1908-1917) of gold, platinum and enamel is meant to be viewed from both sides and is arguably one of the finest examples of gold work ever produced by Fabergé. One side features a photograph of Tsar Nicholas II, and the other his wife, Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. This was probably a gift from the Tsar to his mother, the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. The form was most likely inspired by a fire screen, created by George Jacob that was in her apartment.

The Imperial Russian court was renowned for the lavish gifts presented to foreign dignitaries visiting Russia. Fabergé made hundreds of presentation boxes, but many connoisseurs consider this his finest. Made of gold and decorated with enamel and diamonds, the box features the cipher of Tsar Nicholas II on the cover. The Emperor presented the box to Leon Bourgeois, a French politician and statesman in 1902. Bourgeois was one of 90 foreigners to receive a snuffbox with the Emperor’s initials.

Tsar Nicholas II and the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna jointly purchased this enameled clock in 1896 just weeks after they were married. One of the first furnishings they selected for their marital home, the clock has a blue enamel finish signifying true love. From an apprenticeship in goldsmithing to becoming “Goldsmith to the Imperial Crown,” Carl Fabergé led an extraordinary life creating unparalleled wonders. Learn more about the events that shaped this legendary jeweler’s life – and visit the special exhibition to  see his remarkable accomplishments.

TICKETS
Adults $12
Seniors (62 & over) & Students $9
Children (under 6) Free

About Bowers Museum
The museum offers exhibitions, lectures, art classes, travel programs, children’s art and music education programs, and other community events. The museum’s guiding philosophy is to help people learn about other cultures through their arts, and offer a greater understanding of ourselves and appreciation of the world in which we live.

The museum’s name comes from Charles Bowers, a late 1800s Orange County land developer, who donated the land on which it stands to the City of Santa Ana.

The Bowers’ permanent collection provides an opportunity to examine, compare, and contrast the highly diverse cultures of the world. The collection includes more than 100,000 objects focusing on several areas, such as African, South Pacific, Asian, Native American, Pre-Columbian art, and California plein-air painting. The Bowers has also presented over 60 special exhibitions, notably Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor,Secret World of the Forbidden City, and Mummies: Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt…Treasures from the British Museum. The museum has cultivated partnerships with the Smithsonian, the Nanjing Museum, the Shanghai Museum, and the British Museum, among others, to bring national and international exhibitions from the world’s greatest museums to Southern California.

Orange County authorities allege that the Bowers along with Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Pasadena’s Pacific Asia Museum and the Mingei International Museum in San Diego accepted, some “knowingly” stolen artifacts. According to the allegations made in the warrant, “A senior curator at the Bowers Museum, now deceased, regularly accepted loans of objects he knew were looted from Thailand and Native American graves. The museum’s current director, Peter Keller, also allegedly knew about the practice and had visited storage lockers where the looted items were kept. An appraiser claimed Keller participated in the donations scheme.”

Bowers Museum
2002 N. Main St.
Santa Ana CA 92706

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