Published: August 1, 2000
More than 1,000 Objects on Display
WILMINGTON, DEL. – “Fabergé,” the largest exhibition ever presented of the legendary jewelry and goldsmith Peter Carl Fabergé, will open September 9 at the Riverfront Arts Center. A Broughton Masterpiece Presentation, the world premiere exhibition features over 1,000 masterpieces from more than 30 of the world’s most prestigious private collections and museums.
According to James E. Broughton, president of Broughton International, the exhibition features major loans from the Forbes Magazine Collection, New York, which contains one of the largest Fabergé collections in the world, and loans from other significant American collections. Most of the international loans have never been seen in America, including many objects from the world famous State Hermitage Museum and the Moscow Kremlin Museums 0f Russia.
Also among the international masterpieces are a number of loans from European royal families, including King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden; the Duke and Duchess of Westminster and objects formerly in the collection of King Ferdinand of Bulgaria. The Castle Howard Collection, The Khalili Family Trust of England, and several German princely collections are lending to the exhibit as well.
Interestingly enough, Fabergé was first “discovered” in 1882 when Czar Alexander III and his wife, Czarina Marie Feodorovna, bought one of his first creations ever to be publicly displayed in Moscow. Ironically, it was a pair of gold cufflinks shaped like cicadas, ancient Greek symbols of good luck. Three years later, it was Fabergé who was commissioned to create the very first Imperial Easter Egg as a gift for the Czarina – an annual tradition established by Czar Alexander III that lasted until the fall of the Romanov Dynasty. Upon fleeing Russia in 1918, it was the Cross of St. George Egg (which is included in the exhibition) that the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna took with her, a gift from her son, Nicholas II, on Easter 1916.
Author and international authority on Fabergé, Archduke Dr. Geza von Habsburg, is serving as Guest exhibition curator. Working with Broughton over the past year and a half, Von Hapsburg has played a significant role in the development of the overall exhibition concept and the procurement of the prestigious loans that have been made available.
According to Von Habsburg, objects in the Exhibition range from the intricate and lavish Imperial Easter Eggs to the delicate simplicity of decorative boxes in gold and enamels.
“We have a wide variety of what Fabergé and his master craftsmen were best known for, creations that brought sheer enjoyment and pleasure to all who received them,” says von Habsburg. “It has been said that the magic of Fabergé lay within his ability to combine the novelty of aesthetic inspiration with functional value…punctuated with a touch of whimsy and sheer delight.”
Audiences will learn that much of the success behind Fabergé was the result of his business acumen. As the Imperial Family showered gifts created by Fabergé upon visiting dignitaries, and as thank-you gifts throughout their own travels, the rapid growth of his popularity in Europe became a lucrative source of business. During his lifetime, the renowned Fabergé employed over 500 craftsmen and operated business establishments in several cities including St. Petersburg, Moscow, and London.
“The legend of Fabergé from his meager beginnings to the building of a business empire, to his ultimate escape to Switzerland as Czarist Russia came to its tragic ending, is a story worthy of telling,” says Broughton.
Guests should allow a minimum of two hours to tour Fabergé. At the start of the exhibition tour, all visitors are provided a personal audio guide (at no extra cost), which allows them to proceed through the galleries at their own pace. A student’s version, which has become increasingly popular among adults over the years, is also available.
Before entering the galleries, visitors are treated to a brief overview of the legendary jeweler in the Exhibition Theater, which provides an historical backdrop for what they are about to experience. At the conclusion of the 8-minute orientation in the theater, the story begins to unfold as visitors walk through a series of specially designed galleries.
The center is at 800 South Madison Street. For information, 888/395-0005.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm