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GOLDSMITH'S ART - Faberge' Eggs

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Author Topic: GOLDSMITH'S ART - Faberge' Eggs  (Read 7839 times)
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« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2008, 09:08:42 am »









1898 - Lilies-of-the-Valley Egg

 
Gold egg enamelled translucent rose on a guilloche field and supported on four dull green gold cabriolet legs composed of overlapping leaves veined with rose diamonds. The egg is surmounted by a rose diamond and cabochon ruby Imperial Crown set with two bows and quartered by four lines of rose diamonds and decorated with lilies-of-the-valley in pearls and rose diamonds.

The surprise consists of three oval miniatures of Nicholas II in military uniform, and the Grand Duchesses Olga and Tatiana, his first two children, within rose diamond borders which rise out of the top of the egg.
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« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2008, 09:10:54 am »









1891 - Azova Egg

 
This egg is carved from a solid piece of heliotrope jasper, and is decorated in the Louis XV style with yellow gold scrolls set with brilliant diamonds and chased gold glowers; the broad fluted gold bezel is set with a drop ruby clasp.

A tiny replica in gold of the Pamiat Azova set on a piece of aquamarine is contained inside the egg.
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« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2008, 09:14:37 am »









1899 - Madonna Lily Egg

 
This egg takes the form of a clock with a revolving dial. The four- coloured gold egg is enamelled translucent daffodil-yellow, and is richly set with diamonds.

It stands on an onyx platform decorated with coloured gold scroll mounts, rosettes and the year in diamonds, and is designed as a vase with red gold scrolls serving as extra supports at either side.

The belt of the dial which divides the egg is enamelled opaque white with diamond set numerals and the hours are pointed by the head of an arrow in a drawn bow.

The gold rim of the vase is chased as a cluster of roses; a bunch of Madonna lilies carved from quartzite and each set with rose diamonds emerges from the vase.

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« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2008, 09:16:55 am »










1901 - Trans-Siberian Railway Egg

 
A map of the route of the Trans-Siberian railway as it was in 1900, from St. Petersburg to Vladivostock, engraved on silver, each station marked by a precious stone, forms a broad belt
around this translucent green enamelled gold egg decorated with blue and orange enamel mounts.

The egg is surmounted by a three-headed Eagle in gold bearing the Imperial Crown and is supported by three Romanov Griffins each brandishing sword and shield, and mounted on a white onyx base.

Within is concealed, in three sections, a miniature replica of the Trans- Siberian Express, the engine and tender in platinum and gold, and five coaches in gold; the three parts may be connected to form a train which runs along when the clockwork locomotive is wound up above the driving wheels.
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« Reply #34 on: May 24, 2008, 09:19:37 am »









1900 - Cukoo Egg

 
Clock in dull yellow, green and red golds, enamelled opalescent white and translucent violet on a zig-zag guilloche field, set with pearls and rose diamonds. The dial, which is encircled by pearls set in red polished gold, is enamelled with translucent emerald green trefoils, and the rose diamond numerals are set on pale greenish white opalescent enamel within opaque white enamel rings. A yellow gold leaf pattern surrounds the central pivot on which the red gold hands revolve.

The egg is supported on an elaborate base set with three large rose diamonds by a central shaft and three struts enamelled opalescent white. When a button at the back of the clock is pressed, the circular pierced gold grille which surmounts it opens, and a cukoo, plumed with natural feathers, set with cabochon ruby eyes, and standing on gold legs, rises crowning on a gold platform, the beak and wings moving authentically, until the crowing finished, it descends once again into the egg.


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« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2008, 09:28:22 am »









                                                          INTRODUCTION





by H.C. Bainbridge

Note:

H.C. Bainbridge was for thirty years the close friend, associate and "ambassador" in Europe of Carl Faberge, the most famous court jeweler in history, often referred to as the "Cellini of the North". Mr. Bainbridge had the unique experience of meeting and knowing, as he charmingly phrases it: "...all the kings and all the queens, all the multi-millionaires, all the mandarins and all the maharajahs, all the dukes and all the marquises, all the earls, viscounts, barons and baronets."




How many royal "appointments" Faberge had, I never inquired. Doubtless all of them. Primarily, of course, he was Court Jeweler to the Tsars Aleksandr III and Nikolai II.

He was a genius on the rampage, always in search of something on which to vent his creative skill, and on this quest his clients helped him. Now you cannot give a pearl necklace to a Queen, or a diamond to a Rothschild, or a ruby to a Greville; they have them all. This was what set Faberge on his quest and it was just this which made him supreme. It was all those beautiful articles of fantasie, those bibelots for the table, which made his fame the world over. He became the first in Russia to make objects of elegance, taste and feeling; his work the wide world over became known as a style of its own, "Faberge".

But not only as a master of style does he deserve a niche in the pillar of fame; he gave to two new arts, enameling on gold and silver, and stone- cutting, and he brought them both to the pitch of excellence. The renaissance of both in the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries was very largely due to him. His cigarette-cases, enameled on gold and silver, are incomparable. His flowers, cut in precious and semi-precious stones, almost transcend nature in their delicate tracery and beauty of form; and his animals catch every trick and turn and are cut with a boldness and a verve which make them almost live.

With a catalogue of successes behind him, it was at the "Exposition Internationale Universelle" in Paris in 1900, that he was acclaimed Master by the Goldsmiths of France in the capital of the country from which, 215 years before, his persecuted ancestors had fled.

Here the Empresses Aleksandra Feodorovna and Marie Feodorovna lent for exhibition all their wonderful collection of Easter Eggs, given to them by the Emperors Aleksandr III and Nikolai II. These are perhaps the finest pieces which Faberge ever made; upon them he lavished every artifice of design, workmanship and mechanism. I say mechanism, because inside some of them were mechanical devices which would puzzle the skill of a most expert watchmaker to contrive. Faberge made forty-nine of them in all.

Easter was, as you know, a great time in Russia in Tsarist days. Everybody kissed everybody else, and said: "Christ is risen"; receiving in reply the words: "Verily He is risen"; and everybody gave everybody else a present. Easter Eggs took first place as the age-old symbol of "Resurrection", "New Life" and "hopefulness". Everything was adapted to the shape of them. How the first Imperial Easter Egg came to be is a romance in itself.

Faberge was an artist in more ways than one, and his unique gift was a subtle genius for creating just the right situation which evoked in his patrons the desire to possess something which, for the moment, had only taken shape in his mind. When he proposed to the Emperor Aleksandr III (the year 1885 is the nearest I can come to a date) that for the next Easter gift for the Empress he should make an egg with some surprise inside it, the Tsar was all agog to know what it was to be. To keep an Emperor on tenterhooks may quite easily prove a dangerous proceeding, but Faberge kept his secret; and, loving a joke, he produced what was, to all appearance, an ordinary hen's egg, containing a series of "surprises" wrought in gold and platinum, precious gems and enamel. The Tsar was so pleased that he gave Faberge a standing order for an egg every Easter-tide, and a bargain was struck between Emperor and Craftsman. The latter was given carte blanche to make whatever took his fancy, and the former asked no questions; the kernel of the agreement being that each egg must have some surprise inside. During the lifetime of Aleksandr III only one egg was made each year, and this the Tsar gave to the Tsarina Marie Feodorovna. But from the time of the accession of Nikolai II, two were made each year; one to be given to the Tsarina Aleksandra Feodorovna and the other to his mother, the Dowager Empress. The yearly Easter Egg became the great surprise for the Imperial Family. Today, as the outcome of the original joke, there are in existence forty-nine Imperial eggs which for ingenuity, craftsmanship and beauty of design, it is no exaggeration to say, surpass anything of a like nature which has yet come from a goldsmith's workshop.

It never entered my head that any of these treasures would ever leave the confines of the Russian Empire where they were carefully guarded together with the rest of the Romanov Crown Jewels. However, Fate decreed otherwise. The revolution which shook Russia has brought about many strange occurrences. During the famine of 1921, a wealthy young American physician, Armand Hammer, went to Russia as a volunteer relief worker, and brought out of that country the greatest private collection of Faberge pieces in existence today. A connoisseur of art, Dr. Hammer soon saw that some of the superb treasures of a great dynasty were being swept into oblivion. Along with paintings by great masters, he collected several hundred pieces of Faberge's finest creations, such as jeweled flowers, animals fashioned of semi-precious stones, ikons, enamels and a great variety of bibelots. Through direct negotiations with the government, Dr. Hammer was also able to purchase eleven of Faberge's priceless Imperial Easter Eggs which were found, together with the other Crown Jewels, when the Imperial Palaces fell into the hands of the present government. Some of these along with others of the Imperial Eggs loaned by H.M. the Dowager Queen Mary and H.I.H. the Grand Duchess Xenia were featured in the Imperial Russian Exhibition held in Belgrave Square, London, in 1935.

Of all the works of Faberge, the Imperial Easter Eggs are creating the greatest interest today. For all time they are a monument to his master mind and skill.



H.C. Bainbridge



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« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2008, 09:32:19 am »

                                       














Gustav Fabergé founded the jewellery firm of Fabergé, in 1842 in the old capital of St Petersburg. After the closure of the business in 1917 Carl Fabergé went overseas and his grandson Theo Fabergé was born in London in 1922.



ANCIENT ROOTS

The Fabergé family is French by origin. Their home had been the village of La Bouteille in the Picardy region of North Eastern France. They were Huguenots in a predominantly Roman Catholic country. In 1685 King Louis XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes and they lost religious freedom and civil liberty.



THE ESCAPE FROM CATHOLIC FRANCE

In the years subsequent to 1685, a quarter of a million French Huguenots fled their country to settle in England, the Netherlands, the fledgling United States and Russia.


The Fabergés went first to Schwedt-an-der-Oder in Eastern Germany. Then, in 1800, to Pernau in the Russian Baltic province of Livonia – today part of Estonia.

During the previous 100 years, the influence of Czar Peter the Great and his cosmopolitan experience had made Russia an attractive country for craftsmen. Catherine the Great’s creation of her Winter Palace in St Petersburg, on the banks of the Neva, absorbed artistic creations from the entire civilised world; and Catherine’s reign had also seen religious tolerance enshrined in Russian law. The language of the Imperial court was French. This fortunate conjuncture results in the arrival of Gustav Fabry, born in 1814, in the Russian capital city of St Petersburg.



ESTABLISHMENT IN RUSSIA

Gustav’s father Peter had been a goldsmith practising his craft in Wurtemburg, under the patronage of Catherine the Great.
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« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2008, 09:39:58 am »











                                                      Faberge Eggs To Return To Russia
 
 

 
Thursday,
5 February, 2004,
20:47 GMT 

BBC NEWS









Eight of the 50 eggs made for the tsars have never been found

A Russian millionaire has bought the world's second-largest collection of Faberge eggs which was scheduled to
be auctioned by Sotheby's in April.

Oil and gas industrialist Victor Vekselberg bought the entire Forbes collection of nine eggs and other items,
valued at about $90m.

He hopes to take the tsarist treasures to post-Communist Russia by Easter.

Only the Kremlin has more eggs - 10 - out of the 50 created by jeweller Carl Faberge for Russia's imperial
family.

Confirming that Sotheby's had negotiated the sale for an undisclosed sum, a spokeswoman for the auction
house in New York said it had "happened very quickly" but had been "a very serious offer that the Forbes family accepted".
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« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2008, 09:45:26 am »








Sellers 'delighted'



The intricately designed eggs, about 13cm (5in) tall and made of precious metals and gems, include the Coronation Egg, which features the coach that Empress Alexandra rode into Moscow in 1897.

 
 The religious, spiritual and emotional content captured by these Faberge eggs touches upon the soul of the Russian people





Victor Vekselberg 



The Forbes publishing family said it was "delighted that the advent of a new era in Russia [had] made possible the return of these extraordinary objects".

Mr Vekselberg said the Forbes collection represented "perhaps the most significant example of our cultural heritage outside Russia".

He told the BBC that the eggs would be brought back from the US by April.

He described them as priceless and said he was overjoyed to be returning such a significant collection to Russia.

"The religious, spiritual and emotional content captured by these Faberge eggs touches upon the soul of the Russian people," he said.

It was not immediately clear what the industrialist, who is chairman of the board of directors of investment and business development company Renova, planned to do with the collection.

However, Russia's most powerful museums have begun staking their claims to them.
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« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2008, 09:48:29 am »









Abramovich contrast




The BBC's Sarah Rainsford in Moscow says politicians and public have praised Mr Vekselberg for his patriotism.

While denying he was deliberately trying to curry favour, he said nonetheless that he hoped the "right people" would approve.

His purchase is in marked contrast to Roman Abramovich's buy-up of English football club Chelsea, which dismayed many Russians keen to revive the cash-strapped domestic game.

The eggs, created for the last two Russian emperors, Alexander III and Nicholas II, were dispersed around the world after the 1917 Revolution, many of them sold off by the Bolsheviks.

The Forbes eggs and the best of the other 180 Faberge pieces in the collection are due to be exhibited at Sotheby's in New York before they are taken to Russia.


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« Reply #40 on: May 24, 2008, 09:51:02 am »








                    CZAR'S FABERGE EASTER EGGS; "GOOD EGG: RUSSIAN BOUGHT BACK BIT OF HISTORY"



                   Viktor Vekselberg born 46 years ago in a tiny Soviet town on the Ukrainian-Polish border 





    By Linda Hales,
Washington Post Staff Writer
The Washington Post,
Washington, D.C.
Saturday, March 13, 2004;

NEW YORK -- In the august salons of Sotheby's on Thursday, industrialist Viktor Vekselberg presided over a private party that he could not have imagined during his youth in a country that no longer exists. The billionaire oil and gas baron from Moscow, born 46 years ago in a tiny Soviet town on the Ukrainian-Polish border, made headlines last month by purchasing $100 million worth of Faberge decorative arts. The highlight was nine Easter eggs made for the last czars. With 300 of his new best friends present, including Russian Federation officialdom, he used the caviar-and-champagne setting to introduce a new concept for Russians: philanthropy. The centerpiece is the nonprofit Vekselberg Foundation for Art and Culture that he'd set up to repatriate the historic treasures. And he served notice to his fellow tycoons that it's time for them to give back, too.
 



Viktor and Marina Vekselberg, and their children, Irina and Sasha, at a
reception at Sotheby's celebrating their acquisition of the Forbes Faberge
egg collection. Vekselberg plans to display the eggs at the Kremlin.
The eggs' exquisite detail can be seen in the Lillies of the Valley Egg

Photo by Helayne Seidman for The Washington Post

 

"Today, I am expected to be the symbol of Russia," Vekselberg said through an interpreter.
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« Reply #41 on: May 24, 2008, 10:19:50 am »











"Today, I am expected to be the symbol of Russia," Vekselberg said through an interpreter.

Behind him, a magnified image of a pink enameled egg created a surreal perspective. Lily of the valley blossoms made from pearls suddenly looked as big as pumpkins. And Vekselberg looked a bit like the tiny surprise inside one of his eggs.





LILIES OF THE VALLEY EGG 1898

Gold, ormolu (gilded bronze),
vermeil (gilded silver), enamel,
diamonds, rubies, pearls,
rock crystal



"I looked into my heart and I understood that we, the businessmen of Russia, are not the same as we were five years ago," Vekselberg said. "We have changed together with our country."


His offering consists of more than 100 pieces of Faberge collected over decades by Malcolm S. Forbes and consigned to auction by the Forbes sons. The late 19th- and early 20th-century works were the glittering output of the imperial jeweler Carl Faberge, who rose to prominence under the last two czars. Faberge has become synonymous with luxury, fine craftsmanship and precious materials no longer affordable. Having the collection, and especially the eggs, back in Russia presumably will contribute to an understanding of the last gasp of the Romanovs' rule. A promise to make the collection public -- the eggs are scheduled to go on display at the Kremlin in mid-May -- has made Vekselberg a hero back home.
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« Reply #42 on: May 24, 2008, 10:26:59 am »










"It's scary," he confided in English. "I was just a businessman, but now. . . . " With paparazzi hovering, he admitted that he and his family are feeling a kinship with rock stars. His son, Sasha, 15, daughter, Irina, 25, an MBA candidate at Yale, and his wife, Marina, were with him. "We're private people. We're not prepared for this," he said.

He has yet to reduce his philanthropy to a sound bite. He mentioned the undeniable beauty of gold, enamel and glittering stones. There is the artistry of each creation, including a tiny gold coronation carriage, which is such an exact miniature that museum curators consulted the Faberge drawings to restore the real carriage. There is the religious significance of Easter eggs. And the historical significance of gifts that commemorate Alexander III and Nicholas II and their wives and children. One egg from 1916 is notably lacking in gold and jewels. It was made during wartime, and marks the beginning of the end as poignantly as decorative arts can do.

Vladimir Voronchenko, who will head the foundation, tried to express the elation that he and Vekselberg are feeling. "It's more important than business, more important than money," he said. "We had really to do something for our country. And it's a really big country. And we're only two small people."





CORONATION EGG 1897
Varicolored gold, platinum,
enamel, diamonds, rubies,
rock crystal, velvet lining



 He did not mention, but others did, that the annals of Russian businessmen include tycoons, tough guys, oligarchs and expats who would rather buy property in France or soccer teams in Britain than give back to the Motherland.

"It's important to show to Russia the new face of Russian business," Voronchenko insisted. "We have started to feel social responsibility. It's the right time."

Plans are still vague, but Vekselberg assured that the eggs are only a "first step" in a larger plan to repatriate Russian art. When asked whether he would be spending more money anytime soon, Vekselberg laughed and said, "I don't have so much money."

Actually, with a net worth of $3.3 billion, he ranks No. 143 on Forbes magazine's latest list of the world's richest people.
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« Reply #43 on: May 24, 2008, 10:30:31 am »








                                             T H E   N I N E   ' F O R B E S '   E G G S :





LILIES OF THE VALLEY

CORONATION

15TH ANNIVERSAY

ORANGE TREE

ORDER OF ST. GEORGE

ROSEBUD

CUCKOO

HEN EGG

RENAISSANCE





A few weeks ago, 10,000 New Yorkers queued for three hours in the cold to get a last look at the eggs, eliciting a comparison with scenes created by estate sales of Andy Warhol and Jackie Kennedy, and the Duchess of Windsor's jewels.

When the eggs were unveiled on Thursday, Andrea Fallek made her way quickly to the gold-enameled Coronation Egg. A New Yorker originally from Vienna, she recalled a friend in Florida, who had owned an imperial egg, but kept it locked away in the bank. Fallek suggested she might as well sell it to Malcolm Forbes, which the friend did. Sadly, Fallek had no idea which of the eggs it was. "I never saw it," she said.

Robert M. Lee, the founder of Hunting World, had flown in from Geneva. He is the current owner of a Faberge imperial egg known as the Love Trophy. He purchased it at auction a decade ago and keeps it locked in a bank in Reno. He found himself fending off dealers at the event. "It's not for sale," he said, "It's my only egg. I'm not selling it."

If Americans were on hand to say goodbye to the Forbes extravagance, many Russians were there to say hello. Faberge was spirited out of their country and sold off in the tumultuous years after the revolution. Now that one of their own had swooped in like Superman to keep the world's greatest private collection together and make it public, they could only marvel at such an unheard of "gesture."

"People have to spend money not just to help themselves, but to help their country." said Consul General Viacheslav Pavlovskiy, who clearly approved. No timetable was revealed for the departure of the eggs, which will require special crating. In any case, the party was not the last gasp of Faberge in America.








FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY EGG 1911

Gold, enamel, diamonds, rock crystal



 There is plenty to buy at the Fifth Avenue antique jeweler and Russian specialist A La Vieille Russie. Owner Peter Schaffer was at the party. Earlier in the day, he showed a visitor dozens of Faberge clocks, urns, tiny carved animals, peasant figures, picture frames, sprigs of flowers and fruit. Two pieces were part of 100 items acquired from the Forbes collection: a dazzlingly detailed miniature sedan chair in pink enamel and a miniature dressing table with perfectly rendered ormolu decoration and a top that lifted to display a mirror. Another 200 pieces were on display at the firm's booth at this week's European Art Fair in Maastricht, Netherlands.

Most Faberge collectors, including Forbes, Hillwood's Marjorie Merriweather Post, and even Imelda Marcos, shopped with Schaffer's father who pretty much created the market for Faberge. As Peter Schaffer explained, in the 1920s, Kremlin curators dismissed most of the baubles as too new and too common to save as cultural heritage. Carved Faberge animals were offered to foreign buyers at less than $2 each, Schaffer said. Today, they would cost $10,000 to $150,000.
 

Schaffer compliments Vekselberg for taking advantage of "an easily assembled political gesture." But he says it's nothing that American capitalists didn't do in their day. He included National Gallery of Art founder Andrew Mellon and Andrew Carnegie in the group of savvy people who bought, and, significantly, gave back in the form of museums and libraries.

"It's exactly the same thing," he said.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


The Washington Post, Saturday, March 13, 2004
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54774-2004Mar12.html
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« Reply #44 on: May 24, 2008, 10:47:30 am »













Orange Tree Egg (Bay Tree Egg) 



Gold, enamel, nephrite, diamonds, citrines, amethysts, rubies, pearls, agate, feathers;
original silver gilt key

Height
11 3/4 inches; 29.8 cm open

Marks
Fabergé, dated 1911

Case
Fitted red morocco; exterior stamped with the gold initials A.G.H.

Presented by Tsar Nicholas II to the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna on Easter 1911, a silver gilt key allowed the Dowager Empress to discover the surprise hidden within the egg-shaped topiary tree.

Tucked within the finely engraved nephrite leaves, enameled flowers and jeweled "fruit" is a gold winding mechanism.

When triggered, a portion of the foliage at the top of the tree rises.

Suddenly, music fills the air as a feathered nightingale emerges to chirp its tune while moving its beak and flapping its wings. When the melody ends, the bird descends automatically into its verdant nest until beckoned once more to sing.
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