Following the Russian Revolution, most of the lavish jewels and enamel eggs created by Peter Carl Fabergé for the Russian imperial court were sold off or disappeared. Many ended up in museums and private collections around the world. Now, the largest known collection of Fabergé’s works is being given to the city of Saint Petersburg for the opening of its first Fabergé museum.
Housed in the neoclassical Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka Embankment, the museum was opened by Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian philanthropist and the owner of the Link of Times Foundation, who acquired the abandoned property—once inhabited by Russian nobility—and embarked on a $38 million renovation to restore its former glory. It now houses Vekselberg’s venerated collection, which contains more than 1,500 pieces.
The museum has a large ballroom and a grand marble staircase that leads to an upper floor with more than 50,000 square feet of exhibition space separated into 12 galleries. Some of Fabergé’s most notable works are on view, including the yellow-enamel Imperial Coronation Egg that he created in 1897, which opens to reveal a miniature replica of the coach that Empress Alexandra rode into Moscow. The museum’s collection also features nearly 200 objects formerly owned by New York’s Forbes family and bought by Vekselberg in 2004, plus hundreds of cigarette cases and other objects acquired privately and at auction over the past few years. (www.faberge.com)