Goldsmith and jeweler to the Russian imperial court, The House of Fabergé created objects that reflected the cosmopolitan world and sophisticated taste of its patrons. The story of Fabergé is one of luxury and extravagance brought to an abrupt end by revolution. In 1918, following the establishment of the Bolshevik Soviet Republic, Peter Carl Fabergé and most of his family escaped to Switzerland. Many of Fabergé’s wealthy patrons also fled the country, taking what treasures they could with them. In the years since, as objects have made their way into auction houses and marketplaces, the allure of Fabergé has only grown, as collectors have sought out his spectacular and fascinating creations.
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION, FABERGÉ: THE HODGES FAMILY COLLECTION
Fabergé: The Hodges Family Collection is composed of select works from The Hodges Family Collection, one of the most important private collections of Fabergé in the United States. Assembled by American collector Daniel L. Hodges over the past two decades, the collection contains objects ranging from photograph frames, tableware, desk accessories, boxes, clocks, and jewelry to cigarette cases and smoking accessories. All of the works included in this exhibition illustrate the consummate skill of the House of Fabergé and its inimitable use of precious and semi-precious materials to create luxury objects of the highest order. Among the many highlights of the Hodges Family Collection is The Bismarck Box, the first major imperial commission made by Fabergé and the only imperial portrait presentation box set with an image of Alexander III.
As part of the site-wide celebration during the run of Fabergé: The Hodges Family Collection, a special installation at Clayton, All That Glitters: Luxury in the Gilded Age, will focus on decorative luxury objects in the collection. Artfully using the immaculately restored late-19th century home of the Henry Clay Frick family as an exhibition area, examples of items manufactured by Tiffany; Gorham; Bailey, Banks and Biddle; and others, will highlight famous Gilded Age manufacturers of luxury goods. The public tour, which will be offered October 23, 2011–January 15, 2012, will incorporate these makers and objects into the larger story of Gilded Age life.
In addition, as part of the Frick’s site-wide focus on fine, well-designed luxury objects, three automobiles designed by renowned motor car manufacturer Rolls-Royce will be exhibited at the Car and Carriage Museum. The Frick will also offer a wide and diverse schedule of programs focusing on the history, craftsmanship and legacy of the House of Fabergé and the fascinating period in Russian history during which the exhibition pieces were created. These programs range from lectures and gallery talks for adults and families to hands-on activities for children and an Act 48 workshop for teachers.
[Fabergé Photograph Frame; 1899–1908; deux-couleur and rose 14-karat gold,
guilloche enamel, diamond, glass, ivory]
Visitors to the Frick will have the opportunity to view the exhibition and take part in Fabergé-related activities during extended hours of operation. The entire site will remain open until 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings beginning October 27, 2011.
Fabergé: The Hodges Family Collection is accompanied by a sumptuous 310-page catalogue. This hardcover volume was edited and co-authored by the late John Webster Keefe, the RosaMary Foundation Curator of the Decorative Arts at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Published by the New Orleans Museum of Art, the catalogue is filled with beautifully photographed images of the items in the exhibition and essays that present the fascinating stories behind them. It also includes contributions from noted Fabergé authority and author Géza von Habsburg, Fabergé bibliographer and author Christel Ludewig McCanless, and Fabergé expert Kieran McCarthy. The catalogue is currently available for purchase at the Frick’s Museum Shop, located in the Visitor Center.
[Fabergé Figure of a Dunlin; prior to 1899; rose jasper,
14-karat gold, cabochon emerald.]
There is a new website that provides information about the exhibition and wide range of Fabergé-related activities at the. The site, FabergeAtTheFrick.org, includes a behind-the-scenes blog, on which a broad range of topics related to the exhibition and planning the site-wide celebration will be discussed. From curatorial stories to Fabergé Shop merchandise selections and details regarding public programs, FabergeAtTheFrick.org will serve as the central source of information for all of the Frick’s exciting activities to come this fall.
The opulent and glittering world of Fabergé and Russian decorative and folk art provide the inspiration for The Fabergé Shop, which will be open at The Frick Art Museum during the exhibition. The Fabergé Shop will offer a wide variety of merchandise, including books, jewelry, home décor, Russian folk art, and holiday decorations. A selection of Fabergé-related merchandise, including the exhibition catalogue, is currently available for purchase at the Frick’s Museum Shop, located in the Visitor Center.
[Fabergé Gum Pot in the Form of an Apple; bowenite, rose gold, cabochon ruby.]
THE CAFÉ AT THE FRICK
During the run of the Fabergé exhibition, The Café at the Frick’s ambience will evoke Russia at the turn of the 20th century. Its menu will feature several Russian-inspired options, and Russian beer and a number of premium Russian vodkas will be available. In addition to regular hours of operation, The Café will remain open until 9:00 p.m. each Thursday between October 27, 2011 and January 12, 2012, along with the rest of the site. Two dinner seating times will be offered on those evenings.
[Fabergé Claret Ewer; 1899–1908; colorless lead glass, silver, silver-gilt.]