Published: December 21, 2004
The Newark Museum is exhibiting the private world of Russia’s last Imperial family in “Nicholas and Alexandra: At Home with the Last Tsar and His Family” through January 9. This is the first exhibition to display the Romanov family’s personal belongings from their living quarters in the Alexander Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, 15 miles outside of St Petersburg.
More than 250 precious objects, most of them never before seen outside of Russia, are being presented in a series of vignettes that depict the private life of Tsar Nicholas II, Tsarina Alexandra and their five children before they met their tragic fate. The museum’s Englelhard Court will be transformed into a grand room of state, with spectacular chandeliers and drapery added for the exhibition’s duration.
Porcelain, tapestry, paintings and portraits, uniforms and dresses, icons, decorative arts, textiles, books, photographs and letters are some of the rdf_Descriptions from the royal couple’s personal collection that will be displayed. Rare film footage of home movies and photographs taken by the tsar, an avid amateur photographer, are included.
At the Newark Museum, the only East Coast venue for this traveling exhibition, there is also a small selection of Russian objects from the museum’s decorative arts holdings, including several pieces with Imperial provenance.
Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey, a specialist in Russian decorative arts and cultural history, is the guest curator. Swezey’s longstanding association with numerous museum and collectors in Russia afforded her opportunities to select objects that were precious, unique and rarely seen by anyone other than intimates of the Romanovs. Many of the artifacts were evacuated to safety and preserved from destruction by loyal staff before the German invasion of Russia in 1941; they have not been together since and have come to light only recently in the wake of political changes in Russia.
Organized by the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation in Washington, D.C., “Nicholas and Alexandra: At Home with the Last Tsar and His Family” will also be shown at the Cincinnati Museum from January 29 until May 1.
Highlights include the Faberge “Imperial Basket of Lilies of the Valley” from the Tsarina Alexandra’s Mauve Room; toys from the playroom of Tsarevich Alexis; the christening gown of Tsarevich Alexis; architectural drawings and watercolor design for the family rooms in the Alexander Palace, never before exhibited; and icons including a recently discovered Romanov family icon.
The museum is at 49 Washington Street and is open Wednesday through Sunday, from noon to 5 pm. Admission is $5. For information, www.newarkmuseum.org or 973-596-6550.
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