Published: November 13, 2012
More than 200 precious objects made under the direction of Karl Fabergé provide a glimpse into a bygone era of Russian imperial glory in the exhibition “Faberge: The Rise and Fall, Collection of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,” on view at the Detroit Institute of Arts until January 21. In addition to the array of stunning artworks, the exhibition explores Fabergé’s rise to international fame and the eventual demise of his designer brand, House of Fabergé.
For more than 40 years, the House of Fabergé, led by Karl Fabergé, produced world-renowned luxury objects during one of the most decadent and turbulent eras in modern Russian history. At the height of its success, the company employed more than 1,500 craftsmen and was selling today’s equivalent of $175 million worth of goods per year. The exhibition traces the story of Fabergé’s business savvy, artistic innovations and privileged relationship with the Russian aristocracy, especially the Romanov imperial family.
Visitors will have the rare opportunity to view imperial Russian treasures, including jewel-encrusted parasol handles, an array of enameled frames, a menagerie of animals carved from semiprecious stones and one-of-a-kind miniature egg pendants. The DIA is showcasing six imperial Easter eggs, of which only 50 survive. Highlights include the Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912, and the Peter the Great Egg, 1903. These eggs continue to capture popular imagination, both as relics of aristocratic excess and pinnacles of artistic ingenuity.
The DIA’s display is complemented by thought-provoking text, large-scale photo murals and hands-on activities to help visitors imagine the ways in which such luxury objects would have been handcrafted in a workshop, viewed in a storefront and used to adorn the interior of the imperial palace. The museum features a variety of public programs from lectures and artist demonstrations to rare silent films accompanied by live music.
The exhibition is organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with the Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit Institute of Arts is at 5200 Woodward Avenue. For information, 313-833-7900 or www.dia.org .
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