Newsletter 2013 Spring

Spring 2013
 
Feature Story: Celebrating the Tercentenary of the Romanovs in St. Petersburg
 
Regular Columns: Auctions | Eggs | Exhibitions | General News | Museum News | Publications | Readers Forum | Searching for Fabergé
 
Celebrating the Tercentenary of the Romanovs in St. Petersburg
by Daniel Brière
 
The Tercentenary Jubilee of the Reigning House of Romanov
The Tercentenary Jubilee of the Reigning House of Romanov
 

In “Celebrating the Romanov Tercentenary with Fabergé Imperial Presentation Gifts: A Review” (Fabergé Research Newsletter, Fall 2012) Roy Tomlin described the preparations of the celebrations for the Tercentenary of the Romanov Dynasty and explained the reasons why the first part of the festivities were to be held in St. Petersburg in February 1913 O.S. He also included a brief account of the events that were held later in the year. Since Russia is currently commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the House of Romanov, I would like to offer a more detailed account of the celebrations held in the capital of the Russian Empire in February 1913. More…

More news about the 400th Anniversary of the House of Romanov:

  • Paul Kulikovsky, editor of the Romanov News in his 2013 January (#57) and February (#58) issues shares the latest happenings in Russia during the 400th Anniversary Celebrations. Contact: Editor.
  • Exhibition entitled Quartercentenary of the House of Romanov is on view until June 30, 2013, in the Rare Book and Manuscript Department, Butler Library, Columbia University in New York City. It coincides with the Summer Institute on Russian émigrés supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
  • To mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Romanov dynasty in 1613, Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens (Washington, DC) is presenting a special exhibition, Pageant of the Tsars: The Romanov Coronation Albums with the six albums created over the course of the family’s reign. (Details under Museum News).
  • The Fabergé: Legacy of Imperial Russia venue at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum in China, later traveling to Japan, is part of the Romanov Anniversary events (Details under Exhibitions).
 
Asymmetrical Topaz Cross Pendants of Grand Duchesses Xenia (left) and Olga Alexandrovich (right) (Courtesy Christie's)
Asymmetrical Topaz Cross Pendants of Grand Duchesses Xenia (left) and Olga Alexandrovich (right) (Courtesy Christie's)

Asymmetrical Topaz Cross Pendants of
Grand Duchesses Xenia (left) and Olga Alexandrovich (right)
(Courtesy Christie’s)

 

Two platinum mounted diamond and pink topaz cross pendants owned by Grand Duchesses Xenia and Olga, sisters of Emperor Nicholas II, are noteworthy. Xenia’s sold at Christie’s New York (October 19, 2001, Lot 121, $17,625) and Olga’s sold at Christie’s, London (November 26, 2012, Lot 220, for $232,691). According to the London catalog, Olga’s cross was purchased jointly by Emperor Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra from Fabergé’s St. Petersburg shop on December 12, 1912, for 1,350 rubles, then about £135. (Contributed by Roy Tomlin)

April 15, 2013 Christie’s New York
Russian Works of Art Featuring Property from a Distinguished Midwest Private Collection

 
Jeweled Gold Boxes, ca. 1890 August Holmström
Similar Box by Eduard Wilhelm Schramm

Jeweled Gold Boxes, ca. 1890 August Holmström (left)
and Similar Box by Eduard Wilhelm Schramm
(Courtesy: Christie’s New York and Bonhams London)

 

During a recent visit with Mark Moehrke, Vice-President, Director of Works of Art at Christie’s New York, he showed Christel McCanless Fabergé objects from their coming spring auction. I was instantly attracted to a jeweled gold box – a hammered gold cube, 1¾ in. (4.4 cm.) wide, by August Holmström, ca. 1890. I asked Mr. Moehrke to tell me more about this charming object. His quick summary included – it has a whimsical feel to it – so personal – and it comes from a private collection formed over 25 years in the Midwest of the United States. The hinged cover of the box is released with a gentle push of the cabochon ruby thumb piece. Finally, I wanted to learn more about the design, and my host shared this:

Carl Fabergé, of course, was known to have admired and collected Japanese works of art. Their influence, and that of the wider trend of Japonisme, can be seen in many works produced by the firm. This exquisite box is a perfect example. The hammered surface and blossoming tendril speak to the influence of Japanese metalworking techniques and decorative motifs. The use of a strong diagonal line, the sense of movement, and the use of negative space all speak to the influence of Japanese composition.

A similar box created by Eduard Wilhelm Schramm, a German by birth and a supplier to Fabergé specializing in hammered objects, was offered at auction. (Bonhams, London, November 24, 2008, Lot 170).

 
Gold-mounted Gun Metal Cigarette Case, ca. 1900 (Courtesy Sotheby’s New York)
Gold-mounted Gun Metal Cigarette Case,
ca. 1900 (Courtesy Sotheby’s New York)
Silver Animal Sculptures by Fabergé (Courtesy Christie’s London)
Silver Animal Sculptures by Fabergé
(Courtesy Christie’s London)
Cigarette Case Engraved ‘Victoria, 1933’, Daughter (1868-1935) of Edward VII and Sister of George V (Courtesy Bonhams London)
Cigarette Case Engraved ‘Victoria, 1933’,
Daughter (1868-1935) of Edward VII
and Sister of George V
(Courtesy Bonhams London)
 

April 16, 2013  Sotheby’s New York
Russian Works of Art, European Silver and Vertu
Family tradition holds the cigarette case (left above) served as the model for the ‘broad gun metal cigarette case’ surreptitiously slipped into James Bond 007’s left breast pocket as armor against a bullet in the movie From Russia with Love. Engraved 5 April 1982 and Listen … never … with anybody Provenance: Millicent Rogers, socialite, fashion icon, art collector, and heiress to the Standard Oil fortune.

June 3, 2013  Christie’s London
Russian Art
Auction includes a group of silver animals by Fabergé measuring less than 4½ in. (11.4 cm.) in height. The largest are an elephant and a monkey, the dog is a bell-push, and there are 3 lighters.

June 4, 2013  Sotheby’s London
Russian Works of Art and Fabergé
Rappoport clock given by Emperor Nicholas II at Tsarskoye Selo to Marie Félix Silvestre, a member of the delegation accompanying French President Emile Loubet to Russia during the historic State Visit of 1902.

 
Imperial Presentation Fabergé Silver and Bowenite Clock (Courtesy Sotheby’s London)
Imperial Presentation Fabergé
Silver and Bowenite Clock
(Courtesy Sotheby’s London)
 
June 5, 2013  Bonhams, London
The Russian Sale
The ‘Princess Victoria, 1933’ case was purchased for £155 on September 25, 1908, from the London Fabergé shop by Stanislaus Poklewski-Koziell, Councillor at the London Imperial Russian Embassy. The most expensive Fabergé flower study of a chrysanthemum purchased for £117 several months later by this same gentleman is today in The British Royal Collection.
 
Eggs
 
Four of Empress Marie Feodorovna’s Missing Eggs (Photo Collage by Annemiek Wintraecken)
Four of Empress Marie Feodorovna’s Missing Eggs
(Photo Collage by Annemiek Wintraecken)
 
The article (Royal Russia, Annual No. 3, 2013, 89-96) entitled “Empress Marie Feodorovna’s Missing Fabergé Easter Eggs” by Annemiek Wintraecken and Christel Ludewig McCanless traces with black and white illustrations known facts and recent findings of eight Fabergé eggs given to the Dowager Empress in the years 1886-89, 1897, 1902-03, and 1909. The search to find the missing eggs continues!
Exhibitions
(Updates are posted in Exhibitions on the Fabergé Research Site)

Opened February 1, 2013  Houston Museum of Natural Science, Texas
Fabergé: A Brilliant Vision
A mini-book with the same title as the exhibition has been published. A catalog, From a Snowflake to an Iceberg: The McFerrin Collection, for the more than 350 objects is in preparation.

February 6 – April 29, 2013  Hong Kong Heritage Museum, China
Fabergé: Legacy of Imperial Russia
Four Fabergé Easter Eggs – 1891 Memory of Azov Egg, 1900 Trans- Siberian Egg, 1906 Moscow Kremlin Egg, and the unfinished Tsarevich Constellation Egg, and an additional 200 Russian and Fabergé objects are on loan from the Moscow Kremlin Museums and the Fersman Mineralogical Museum of Russia. The exhibition has traveled from Shanghai to Hong Kong, and will travel later to Japan.

Open until June 2, 2013  Bob Jones University Museum & Gallery at Heritage Green, Greenville, South Carolina
Rublev to Fabergé: The Journey of Russian Art and Culture to America
Five Fabergé objects from the Hillwood Museum, Estate and Gardens in Washington (DC), and the Middlebury College Museum of Art in Vermont are shown.

February 28 – June 2, 2013  Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Connecticut
Edwardian Opulence: British Art at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century
Three bell pushes by Fabergé on loan from Buckingham Palace are included in the venue highlighting the reign of King Edward VII (1901-1910).

June 22 – September 29, 2013  Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts
Fabergé Revealed from the Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
A traveling exhibition of over 230 objects from the Pratt Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, recently shown in Detroit (Michigan), includes enameled clocks, gold cigarette cases, hardstone carvings, ruby encrusted brooches and four Fabergé eggs.

Open until December 2013  Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio
The Bayard L. Kilgour & Kate Gray Kilgour Collection of Icons and Other Russian Objects
Seventeen objects from the St. Petersburg Fabergé workshops include a double bell push whimsically modeled as two elephants on a see-saw, a cameo box carved with a victorious scene of Alexander the Great, and a banker’s box with the cipher of Nicholas II, all by Henrik Wigström. The objects are part of The Collections: 6000 Years of Art exhibit at the museum. (Courtesy Gary Volz)

 
General News
 
The Fersman Portfolio (1925-26), a catalog promoting the sale of Russia’s crown jewels to the West in 1926, has been featured in previous issues of the Fabergé Research Newsletter, Fall 2010, Winter 2010-11. The Editors of the newsletter were contacted in 2012 by Jenna Nolt, librarian at the Unites States Geological Survey (USGS in Reston, Virginia), about the discovery of an album with a hand-designed cover containing photographs relating to the Fersman Portfolio. A press release and a public radio story on the newly-discovered album entitled Russian Diamond Fund (dated 1922) with additional links about the discovery tell the story.
 
1922 Album Cover and Photograph of an Imperial Diadem, Not by Fabergé (Courtesy USGS)
1922 Album Cover and Photograph of an Imperial Diadem, Not by Fabergé (Courtesy USGS)

1922 Album Cover and Photograph of an Imperial Diadem, Not by Fabergé
(Courtesy USGS)

 

Of course, we were curious to know if any of the jewels shown in the four unknown photographs – a diadem (pictured above), a necklace, a bracelet, and a brooch – from the George Kunz album, but not in the Fersman Portfolio, were by Fabergé. Our research indicates the diadem and the brooch were both sold. (Information from Victor Nikitin’s compilation’s published in Iljine, Nicholas, and Natalya Semyonova, Selling Russia’s Treasures, 2000, 261 and 274), Appendix II: “A List of the Russian Crown Jewels”) On the necklace and the bracelet we do not as yet have any information. We can, however, add a few details about the diadem to ongoing research:

This diadem (or tiara) from above was not made by Fabergé because the future Empress Marie Feodorovna wore it at the wedding of Marie Alexandrovna (1853-1920) to Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900), second son of Queen Victoria. Marie and Alfred married at the Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, on January 23, 1874, and Carl Fabergé had not yet started working for the Imperial Court. The sketch (below) by Nicholas Chevalier illustrates the diadem worn by Tsarevna Marie Feodorovna (born Dagmar of Denmark), wife of Tsesarevich Alexander III attending the wedding of Alexander III’s sister.

 
Study (detail) by Nicholas Chevailer of the Jewels Worn by the Tsarevna Dagmar in 1874 (Courtesy The Royal Collection)
Study (detail) by Nicholas Chevailer of the Jewels Worn by the Tsarevna Dagmar in 1874
(Courtesy The Royal Collection)
Empress Maria Feodorovna Wearing the Imperial Diadem (Courtesy Wiki)
Empress Maria Feodorovna Wearing the Imperial Diadem (Courtesy Wiki)

Empress Maria Feodorovna Wearing the Imperial Diadem
(Courtesy Wiki)

 

The Empress is wearing the same diadem again mounted on a kokoshnik in her famous undated portrait by Konstantin Makovsky (1839-1915). At this time the whereabouts of both the diadem and the painting are unknown! (Research by Annemiek Wintraecken)

Christie’s London, March 16, 1927. Catalogue of an Important Assemblage of Magnificent Jewellery – Mostly Dating from the 18th Century, which Formed Part of The Russian State Jewels has been digitized by the USGS. (Courtesy of Jenna Nolt)

 
Fabergé Imperial Gold Hand Seal Surmounted by a Single Spherical Lead Shot (Courtesy Wartski)
Fabergé Imperial Gold Hand Seal Surmounted by a
Single Spherical Lead Shot
(Courtesy Wartski)
 
‘The Shot That Missed the Tsar’ hand seal first described and illustrated in black and white in 1979 by A. Kenneth Snowman (Carl Fabergé, Goldsmith to the Imperial Crown of Russia, 125), garnered publicity in the British, Russian and Canadian Press when the British antique dealer Wartski announced the object is for sale. Historical details are on the dealer’s website. Additional details were published in the Daily Mail (London), February 27, 2013 (incorrectly suggests the object is to be auctioned), by RIA Novosti (the state-owned Russian International News Agency headquartered in Moscow), February 24, 2013, and Royal Russia News, February 27, 2013.
 
Museum News
 
Romanov Coronation Albums Exhibition (Courtesy Hillwood Museum, Washington, DC)
Romanov Coronation Albums Exhibition
(Courtesy Hillwood Museum, Washington, DC)
 

Over the course of their reign, the Romanovs celebrated coronations with elaborate festivities, which included their grand entry into Moscow, fireworks, and the ruler symbolically crowning himself. To fully illustrate these grand celebrations and all their details, sumptuous albums were created to spread word of the event with all its symbolism. Beginning with Catherine I, Peter the Great’s wife, there were a total of seven coronation albums created by the Russian tsars – each published within a few years of the event. Hillwood Estate, Museum and Gardens marks the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Romanov Dynasty in 1613 with an exhibition of Romanov coronation albums and objets d’art in Pageant of the Tsars: The Romanov Coronation Albums. Based on Hillwood’s collection of five of the seven coronation albums, the exhibition is the first time this material has been displayed in the United States. The show runs from February 16 – June 8, 2013. Two copies of the monumental Alexander II album of 1856, with one of the two in its original binding, are included in the exhibition. The coronation albums, now e-publications based on original digital scans done by New York Public Library, can be downloaded to iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch from the iBooks store.

Anthony Brandt’s article “Fab or Faux?” in Town & Country, November 2012, 126-29, 152-3, examines the million-dollar, buyer-beware realm of Fauxbergé. Beginning with a hands-on session at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts the author learns about fakes and forgeries by interviewing authorities in the field of Fabergé.

 
Publications
 
 
New Resources from Our Russian Contributors
New Resources from Our Russian Contributors

New Resources from Our Russian Contributors

 

Fabergé, Tatiana, Gorynya, Alexander, and Valentin Skurlov, К. Фаберже и петербургские ювелиры (C. Fabergé and the St. Petersburg Jewelers), 2012. In Russian.
The 2012 publication by the same three authors as the publication entitled Faberzhe I peterburgskie Juveliry (Fabergé and St. Petersburg Jewelers: Collection of Memoirs, Articles, Archival Documents on the History of Russian Art, 1997) is an update of the earlier volume. Major content categories are Fabergé Epoch in Russian Jewelry Art, St. Petersburg Jewellers, Research on the History of the Fabergé Firm, Jewellers of Petrograd-Leningrad, 1917-1990s, Contemporary History of the St. Petersburg Jewellers, 1991-2012, and an Appendix.

Korneva, Galina and Tatiana Cheboksarova, Russia and Europe – Dynastic Ties, 2013.
A new English edition with ca. 100 additional photos than the previous English and Russian editions explores the interrelationships through marriage between the German, Danish, Greek and Russian royal families with a strong focus on the Romanovs. Editor: Arturo E. Beéche.

Peregudova, Zinaida, et al. Dnebnik imperatora Nikolaia II, 1894-1918 in the series, Bumagi doma Romanovykh, 2011. In Russian.
Volume I covers the journals of Nicholas II for 1894-1904 and is “the first complete edition, unabridged with commentary and appendices – an expanded name index and detailed lists of military units in the diaries, operas heard by the Emperor, plays seen, books read, etc.” Volume II for the years 1905 to July 19, 1918, is in preparation.

 
Readers Forum
 
Fascinating Fabergé Tiaras
 
 
'... A remarkable group of Fabergé tiaras ... A photograph of three together is unprecedented...' Geoffrey C. Munn (Photograph Courtesy Wartski)
‘… A remarkable group of Fabergé tiaras …
A photograph of three together is unprecedented…’
Geoffrey C. Munn
(Photograph Courtesy Wartski)
 
Kazumi Arikawa, 57, president of the Albion Art Co. Ltd. in Tokyo, is one of the world’s top dealers and collectors of historical jewelry, from the Greco-Roman era to the Art Deco period. He specializes in tiaras and cameos of European monarchs, and jewels which adorned historical figures. In an interview with Judit Kawaguchi (The Japan Times, February 25, 2010), he states, ‘… I was just a small dealer when I saw a tiara made by the famous jeweler Fabergé. I fell in love immediately, but I really didn’t have the funds to purchase it. Still, I didn’t give up but scraped the funds together, which were substantial, about half of the value of my entire my collection at that time. I just had to have that tiara and it is a good thing I bought it because today only four (sic) Fabergé tiaras exist in the world.’
 
Fabergé Tiara by Fedor Afanasiev (Courtesy Albion Art Company, Ltd.; Wartski, Fabergé and the Russian Jewellers, A Loan Exhibition, 2006, 95 and 102, item 274)
Fabergé Tiara by Fedor Afanasiev
(Courtesy Albion Art Company, Ltd.; Wartski, Fabergé and the
Russian Jewellers, A Loan Exhibition
, 2006, 95 and 102, item 274)
 

The Duke and Duchess of Westminster Tiara Collection includes the Cyclamen and the Myrtle Leaves Tiaras. A design sketch dated 1905 from the Albert Holmström workshop is extant for the Cyclamen Tiara (Munn, Geoffrey C. Tiaras: A History of Splendour, 2001, 301), and it is known the tiara was bought from Fabergé by the Hon. Mrs. Wilson Fox. (Wartski, ibid., Necklace, 99-100, item 169)

The Myrtle Spray Tiara with stalks of engraved red gold and pierced leaves to suggest veining was purchased for the wedding of Hugh William Grosvenor and Lady Mabel Florence Crichton on April 21, 1906. (Wartski, ibid., 95 and 98, item 262), and worn again in modern times by Lady Tamara Grosvenor, the oldest daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Westminster.

 
Cyclamen Tiara (ca. 1905-06) Becomes a Necklace When Detached from Its Base
Cyclamen Tiara (ca. 1905-06) Becomes a Necklace When Detached from Its Base

Cyclamen Tiara (ca. 1905-06) Becomes a Necklace When Detached from Its Base

 
Myrtle Spray Tiara (ca. 1906) by Albert Holmström (Courtesy Duke and Duchess of Westminster Collection)
Myrtle Spray Tiara (ca. 1906) by Albert Holmström
(Courtesy Duke and Duchess of Westminster Collection)
 
Tiara with Forget-me-nots and Stylized Laurels, ca. 1900-03 (Munn, ibid., 302; Wartski, ibid., 87 and 94, item 249, Private Collection)
Tiara with Forget-me-nots and Stylized Laurels, ca. 1900-03
(Munn, ibid., 302; Wartski, ibid., 87 and 94, item 249, Private Collection)
‘Empress Josephine Tiara’ by August Holmström, 1895. (Courtesy McFerrin Collection; Fabergé Research Newsletter, Winter 2009-10)
‘Empress Josephine Tiara’
by August Holmström, 1895.
(Courtesy McFerrin Collection;
Fabergé Research Newsletter, Winter 2009-10)
 
The catalog, From a Snowflake to an Iceberg: The McFerrin Collection in preparation includes an essay on the history of the ‘Empress Josephine Tiara’.
 
Searching for Fabergé
 
A very knowledgeable and enthusiastic docent we met during the Fabergé Symposium at the Houston Museum of Natural History is looking for video clips of moving Fabergé objects. She is aware of the Fabergé Elephant Automaton in The Royal Collection. Please share video links with the Editors.
 
Cockerel Salt with Garnet Eyes (Courtesy Taubman Museum of Art)
Cockerel Salt with Garnet Eyes
(Courtesy Taubman Museum of Art)
Cockerel and Hen Salt Cellars (von Habsburg, Fabergé, 2000, 111, Private Collection)
Cockerel and Hen Salt Cellars
(von Habsburg, Fabergé, 2000, 111,
Private Collection)
Hen Salt Cellar (Courtesy Christie’s New York)
Hen Salt Cellar
(Courtesy Christie’s New York)
 

Meggin Hicklin shared her college research paper for a Methods of Art History course and in so doing introduced the readers to her journey of “Chasing the Cockerel: Understanding the Masterpiece of Fabergé”. She had seen a salt cellar in the form of a cockerel with garnet eyes and Moscow marks at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia. In the end, she had found a matching set – a cockerel and a hen of silver trompe-l’oeil salt cellars with serving spoons and Moscow marks in a private collection. The Editors and author are interested in finding the hen salt sold at auction, Christie’s New York, October 25-26, 1982, Lot 310. Could it be a match to the lonely cockerel? (Corrected June 7, 2013)

Fabergé Urn at the New York Stock Exchange by Christel Ludewig McCanless

 
Jim Hurtt with the Fabergé Urn and the Silver Eagle Detail, Board Room, New York Stock Exchange (Photographs Christel McCanless)
Jim Hurtt with the Fabergé Urn and the Silver Eagle Detail, Board Room, New York Stock Exchange (Photographs Christel McCanless)

Jim Hurtt with the Fabergé Urn and the Silver Eagle Detail, Board Room, New York Stock Exchange
(Photographs Christel McCanless)

 

Julius Alexander Rappoport (1851-1917), the leading silversmith in the St. Petersburg Fabergé ateliers, is described as being responsible for “small objects for writing tables, to vases, to elaborate ornaments for table settings”, with the largest article known to have been produced being a surtout-de-table commissioned by Emperor Alexander III for the dowry of his daughter, Grand Duchess Xenia, in 1894 at a cost of 50,000 rubles. (Lowes and McCanless (Fabergé Eggs: A Retrospective Encyclopedia, 2001, 231)

Jim Hurtt, a newsletter contributor, and I had the privilege of seeing a massive red Siberian jasper urn on a Siberian green jasper pedestal decorated with an oversized Romanov eagle, festoons, and an inscribed plaque, all in silver and with the Julius Rappoport markipmark mark in two places. Dimensions: Total height (87”), height of urn (40”), base (24” diameter), urn (20” across at widest point). The location of this impressive object is in the Board Room of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), which unfortunately is not open to the public. Our hosts were Director of the Archives Steven Wheeler and Archivist Janet Linde, and the tour included a review of the clipping files associated with the urn. Wheeler’s summary of the urn appeared on December 3, 2012, in celebration of Russia Day at the NYSE. The Fabergé design sketch for the urn and some of the history of the urn were published in the Fabergé Research Newsletter, Winter 2010-11. The article, “Old Russian Debt Still Repudiated – Statements by Khrushchev are Termed at Odds with Soviet Policy on Bonds”, in the New York Times (Sec. 3, Financial, September 13, 1959) updates the story of the $1 billion loan made to Russia by a group of New York banks to build a national railway system in Russia and of the Fabergé urn given to the exchange as an expression of gratitude for its role in raising the funds.

Our visual inspection and the reading of New York newspaper articles published the day after the presentation confirmed two different colors of Siberian jasper were the materials of choice by the Fabergé workshop and proved that the pedestal was not fashioned from malachite, as has frequently been suggested over the years since the gift was unveiled on June 21, 1904.