Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => Imperial Russian Antiques => Topic started by: Almedingen on February 14, 2004, 01:18:15 PM

Title: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Almedingen on February 14, 2004, 01:18:15 PM
Since many Romanov antiques, furniture and possessions are no longer in Russia, I though it might be interesting if we can describe some of the museums, etc. where we have seen them.

There is a table from the Winter Palace at the Cuneo Mansion in Vernon Hills, Illinois, USA.  Mr. Cuneo was quite a collector and I believe he bought the table during the Soviet sales during the '20s or '30s.  

Below is the website for the Cuneo Mansion.   If you enjoy looking at many find old antiques, you will enjoy visiting the museum.  Many of you who saw the movie "My Best Friend's Wedding" with Julia Roberts will recognize this house because it was used in the movie.

Cuneo Mansion and Gardens
http://www.lake-online.com/cuneo/






Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Nick_Nicholson on February 16, 2004, 06:33:22 AM
It almost goes without saying, but by far the most Important collection of Romanov artifacts in the US is at the Hillwood Museum in Washington DC.  Aside from the two Faberge Eggs, there is furniture, porcelain, paintings and jewelry which were all property of the Imperial family.  Hillwood also boasts an important collection of French decorative art.

There are also Imperial Eggs in the US at the Cleveland Museum of Art (1), The New Orleans Museum Of Art (3), the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore (2), and the Virginia Museum of Arts (5)
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: BobAtchison on March 05, 2004, 11:46:37 AM
It seems to me that a number of the items in the Virginia Museum came from a group of things gathered from from the Mauve Room.  I have wondered if the buyer was specifically offered items from this 'fund' because she asked for things that belonged to Alexandra - or if this group of items had simply been approved for sale at the time when the buyer was there.  The buyer seems to have bought these as a group since they all come from the same place.

Does anyone know?

Bob
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: RobMoshein on March 05, 2004, 12:02:43 PM
The Virginia Museum of Art has a pair of Faberge nephrite obelisks, with a miniature of Nicholas II on one and Olga as a baby on the other, which are clearly visible in period photos by the telephone on the table next to Alexandra's Chaise Longue in her Mauve Boudoir.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Penny_Wilson on March 05, 2004, 12:20:12 PM
Vague memory of seeing Nicholas' collection of Buddhas... I think it was four or five years ago at the exhibition on board the Queen Mary.

There were, I think, three large red ones -- not unlike what you might see in a Chinese restaurant -- and a couple of dozen smaller ones of other colors and in different positions.  There was a purple dancing one that I rather liked.

Penny
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: BobAtchison on March 06, 2004, 06:22:48 PM
Penny, that's interesting - the only ones I knew of were gilt-bronze - miniature ones.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Luke T. on March 09, 2004, 12:05:33 AM
And let's not forget the infamous antiques dealer Jim Williams made famous by the book and movie "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil."  

After his death, his sister auctioned off his collection in 100.  Let's hope some of these pieces went to museums.  

As to his Imperial Russian pieces, the following was the result of the Mercer House auction:

"It was occasionally spirited. Opening bid for the ormolu coach fitting from Napoleon I's coronation coach began at $13,000 and raced up, in increments of $1,000, to a final hammer price of $36,000 - $6,000 more than its highest pre-sale estimate. Commission fees brought the final cost to $42,000 plus sales tax, the highest price paid during the first round. (The piece went to a client bidding by telephone.)

Also performing impressively was a Faberge document casket presented by Czar Nicholas II to the Shah of Persia around 1899, which began at $10,000. Much jockeying among the telephone bidders ensued, and the gavel fell on $25,000 for the silver, enamel and leather object, $10,000 more than its estimated value.

Two other Russian objects performed solidly but not spectacularly. A Faberge leather portfolio with the last czar's monogram rendered in diamonds went for $20,000; it was estimated at $20,000-$30,000. And the Spanish-made silver-gilt and turquoise dagger reputedly used in the murder of Rasputin also was sold to an anonymous telephone bidder for $19,000, at the high end of its estimated value.

. . .

Other items failed to spark unusual attention. Five of seven lots of Nanking china - named for a cargo ship that sank in the 18th century and was relieved of its load in the 1980s - were sold for prices at or just slightly above estimated values. Three Russian Imperial silver serving dishes, commissioned for the wedding of Czar Nicholas I's third son and valued at $8,000-$12,000, were sold for $10,000.

And yet other lots - a group of jade and hardstone decorations, a Chinese ivory puzzle ball, a pair of bisque doves, Meissen vases, a watercolor of St. Catherine, a gold medallion bearing the profile of Czar Nicholas II - failed to garner even a minimum bid. Neither did a pair of cut-glass candelabra, which were "passed" at a high bid of $4,750."

http://www.coastalantiques.com/archives/november2000/ETCauction.html
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Penny_Wilson on March 09, 2004, 12:56:21 AM
Bob...

On looking back over the notes I took at the time (I was writing up the exhibition for Atlantis) I see that I noted the display card's claim that the small colored Buddhas belonged to the Imperial daughters and that the three large Buddhas (3-4 feet high as best I could estimate, looking up at them on a raised platform behind glass) belonged to N, A and Alexei.

This was the first time I learned about Nicholas' interest in Buddhism. Perhaps he desired the inner serenity and acceptance of fate taught in this religion/philosophy...
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Nick_Nicholson on March 09, 2004, 08:19:57 AM
"It seems to me that a number of the items in the Virginia Museum came from a group of things gathered from from the Mauve Room.  I have wondered if the buyer was specifically offered items from this 'fund' because she asked for things that belonged to Alexandra - or if this group of items had simply been approved for sale at the time when the buyer was there.  The buyer seems to have bought these as a group since they all come from the same place.

Does anyone know? "

Bob


Dear Bob,

The pieces in the Virginia collection were all acquired from Armand Hammer.  Hammer would buy pieces from the Soviets in large quantities -- sometimes whole rooms full of objects would be sold en bloc.  When Hammer sold the pieces in the US, there would be small cards which would bear very specific descriptions such as "Faberge Frame in Nephrite and Diamonds, formerly belonging to the Dowager Empress, from her second vitrine in the Blue Salon of the Anitchkov Palace."

For decades, these labels were completely ignored as fabrications on Mr. Hammer's part.  His business methods were so unorthodox that these descriptions were ignored, and most of these little cards were thrown away or lost.  

Now that the archives have been reopened, we can see that in fact, Hammer was simply translating the bills of sale from the Soviets, and these attributions and locations were actual documented provenances.

It is probable that Hammer bought the entire Faberge contents of the Mauve Room, and sold them over the years.

Unfortunately, the Hammer Galleries no longer has any of Hammer's records from the period in which he was selling Russian Works of Art, and they are presumed lost (though I have my suspicions about where they are...).

Best,

Nick
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 17, 2004, 11:33:14 PM
It has always amazed me- from th eiMperial Romanov era thru the end of  the Soviet Empire- tha so much has actually survived.  Fires, a common hazzard: theft, petty or grand, wars, revolutions, nationilzation- sales, exile-more sales- simple greed.
Yet there is so much on display as well as in private hands.  If one has the money, one could put together an Imperial china, crystal & silver service. Wear Imperial orders & medals. Decorate a home [a pretty lavish home], and furnish a fairly complete library !
A few years before the collapse of the Soviet system, I think there was a story of a party official [name of Romanov-coincidentally] who gave a lavish bridal party for his daughter.  I forget the exact details, but as these things tend to go with certain cultures, it ended up a plate smashing drunken free for all. The plates & other service were from the Imperial collection.  I do not know how true  this actually is. It was a news item, with no follow up that I know of.
But years later, at an exhibit in Las Vegas there was a vast display of Imperial dinner service, for 100 I think.
Obviously the bridal dinner did not diminish by much the collection.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: RobMoshein on March 18, 2004, 09:50:34 AM
Robert
To me, the truly mind blowing thought is that since this much HAS survived, and then one looks at the reality of history since 1917, to think of WHAT Imperial Russia was like, since the real truth is that only a small FRACTION survives today.

There are a few amazing photos of Soviets cataloguing "privatised" property. Literally mountains of silver. The Yussupov silver alone hidden in their Palace was massive. Also, most of the Imperial Services alone, porcelain and silver, were meant to serve one to two HUNDRED at a time. Replacement pieces were ordered as needed. The porcelain was of no use to the Soviets, but the silver was melted.

All private silver, gold and jewelry was also confiscated as much as possible. All of the bank vaults were stripped of their contents, even the private deposit boxes. Most of these pieces were also broken down for the stones and the gold and silver melted into bars. Only the best pieces, for the most part were sold by Christies and Hammer.
This is not to even mention the German pillage of WWII and what the later Soviets did...

The few thousand (at best) pieces of genuine Faberge extant are but a small percentage of their production...

To me, given that so much remains, while many more times that was destroyed, Imperial Russia was an amazing place for those with money....
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: 3710 on March 18, 2004, 10:03:14 AM
Robert, what do you mean by ''certain cultures'' I wonder? There is culture and 'no culture' in every country.
This is an old rumour about the Palace service,  strongly denied by the Hermitage. I suspect if it was true, young  ''democrats'' would have been only too happy to make it public in early years of perestroika.
Galina
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Robert_Hall on March 18, 2004, 12:00:45 PM
well, Galina, let me put it this way:
I have been to Russian, Greek,Bulgarian, Serbian  & Albanian weddings. None of them put out their "best" china for the wedding dinners. And for very good reason. If "culture" was a poor choice of words, my mistake.
Rob, I read in one catalogue that there were probably 20 china services for EACH palace plus the yachts & trains. And that was for one reign, so EACH reign had at least the same amount.  Added to that, the services that were recieved from fellow monarchs, and, like you said, they were most likely for at least 100 settings,  the amount is staggering.
Now that you mentioned it, it makes sense that seeing actual table silver is rare. I have been told that there are reproductions, but have not seen them.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: elisa_1872 on April 10, 2004, 05:48:12 PM
Hello!

In Darmstadt there are also some Imperial Russian gifts now in the "Porcelain Museum" which were given as gifts by the Romanovs to the Hessians. Included in the collection are Russian eggs with the monograms. Too thrilling! :)

Best wishes,
Elisa :)
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: londo954 on April 22, 2004, 04:25:49 AM
Be careful when examining supposed Imperial Items it was common practice (particularly by Hammer) To identify items as having come from the Imperial Suite or having belonged to Nicholas or Alexandra in an obvious attempt to increase the're value
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: elisa_1872 on June 21, 2004, 03:16:04 PM
A good number of Faberge frames some showing the Romanovs, and some minatures, are to be found in the Royal Collection of Her Majesty the Queen. There are also some of the Tsar's cigarette cases, personal belongings, like Alexandra+'s walking stick+, and even a bust of Tsar Alexander III. The best view of the Romanov items in the Royal Collection are in the book
Faberge in the Royal Collection - by Caroline de Guitaut.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Nick_Nicholson on June 21, 2004, 04:44:17 PM
Londo...

See my earlier post re: Hammer's provenances.  The earliest sales (from the 20's and 30's) were quite accurate, it seems.  It is the later sales which are frequently suspect.  The New Orleans Museum has a number of these later pieces which are generally seen as by other makers, or outright forgeries sold in the 1950's and 60's.

nick
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Forum Admin on November 24, 2004, 01:00:39 PM
Took a while to find this thread, but I just came across a museum catalogue reference that shows that the "Coronation" or "wings up" porcelain banquet service was originally ordered in 1892 for Alexander III's coronation at 19,000 PIECES and then enlarged for Nicholas II's coronation to 47,000 pieces! and don't forget that pieces were replaced as broken on a regular basis...
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: pushkina on November 25, 2004, 10:24:06 PM
Quote
Alexander III's coronation at 19,000 PIECES and then enlarged for Nicholas II's coronation to 47,000 pieces! and don't forget that pieces were replaced as broken on a regular basis...


the dishwashing for that alone w/could have caused a revolution!
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Robert_Hall on November 25, 2004, 10:54:42 PM
There was a huge scandal some years back, still Soviet years, when the then mayor of Leningrad held a party in one of the palaces for his daughter's wedding. They used  real Imperial china and crystal. As Russian weddings tend to get, a lot was smashed up.
The mayor was named Romanov as well.
The point being that even with all the damage, there was still plenty left to display. As I recall, this was just a few years before the fall of the Soviet system.
That mayor survived and ended up in Moscow with the new regime. May still even be there.

Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Ortino on February 06, 2005, 12:22:38 PM
Hmmm, well, I know in the Kremlin Armory (if that counts as a museum) they have some items that belonged to the IF and Faberge eggs, like the Great Siberian Railway egg. It's a small collection though, I was rather disappointed.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Robert_Hall on February 06, 2005, 12:43:04 PM
Rhey also have the Imperial Crown Jewels and eventually, will house the [former] Forbes Faberge eggs as well. Then, it will not be so small, I think.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: DeAnochka on February 10, 2005, 08:28:48 PM
Quote
It almost goes without saying, but by far the most Important collection of Romanov artifacts in the US is at the Hillwood Museum in Washington DC.  Aside from the two Faberge Eggs, there is furniture, porcelain, paintings and jewelry which were all property of the Imperial family.


Nick,

I go to Washington D.C. every March with my father to visit the museums. What kind of Romanov artifacts does Hillwood have, and how big is the exhibit? Do you know of any other museums in D.C. that have Romanov artifacts?

Thanks!  :D
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Forum Admin on February 11, 2005, 09:42:42 AM
Everything you want to know about Hillwood is on their website:
www.hillwoodmuseum.org
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: hikaru on February 28, 2005, 12:46:58 PM
Quote
Hmmm, well, I know in the Kremlin Armory (if that counts as a museum) they have some items that belonged to the IF and Faberge eggs, like the Great Siberian Railway egg. It's a small collection though, I was rather disappointed.


I must to say that the Moscow Kremlin Armoury Faberge Collection is not so small - there are about 250 items .
including 10 big Imperial Eggs.
When 2 years ago Eggs was exhibited in the special room together with the drawings, photos, postcards and letter of IF, it was very very touched and unusual.
If new Vexelyberg collection (former Forbes one) will be
put in the Kremlin, I think they will make  new exhibition in the way something like that.


Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: rgt9w on September 12, 2005, 04:52:23 PM
Has anyone heard anything about the fate of Maltida Geddings Gray's collection of Faberge items, including Imperial Eggs that belong to the New Orleans Museum of Art?

I know they frequently are on loan to exhibits of Faberge, so perhaps they were not in the city at the time of the Hurricane.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: AnnK on September 28, 2005, 12:18:20 AM
HI!

Here is the website for the New Orleans Museum of Art that has the Faberge Collection you asked about. It seems to have fared well during Hurricane Katrina!

http://www.noma.org/

Regards, Ann
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: dp5486 on March 15, 2006, 02:50:13 PM
Could anyone post images of the Faberge Nephrite obilisks of Nicholas  and baby Olga which stood on the Empress's table by her sofa? I can only see them vaguely in the pictures and I searched the Virginia Museum of Art to see if they had pictures but I couldn't find any.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Forum Admin on March 15, 2006, 04:26:16 PM
The Virginia Museum of Art wouldn't have pictures, since they now reside in the Cleveland Museum Art, part of the India Early Minshall collection.

http://www.clemusart.com/explore/artistwork.asp?searchText=faberge&tab=1&recNo=0&woRecNo=10
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: dp5486 on March 15, 2006, 05:26:19 PM
Thank you for the update and link! I would have had no idea.

There is no text included with any of the Faberge objects. Is it known if Alexandra or any of her family owned any of these other wonderful pieces?

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: lancashireladandre on March 17, 2006, 11:09:07 AM
There was a wonderful book published a few years ago ( by Sotheby's ?) all about the great american collectors of Faberge :- Marjorie Post,Lillian Pratt, India E Minshall(fascinating pic's of the Faberge in her hotel apartment)Matilda Grey and the Lansdell Christies to name a few...The author may have ben Geza von Hapsburg..
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Forum Admin on March 17, 2006, 12:36:35 PM
You are thinking of the companion catalogue to the travelling exhibition "Faberge in America".

Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: dp5486 on March 17, 2006, 03:09:06 PM
I guess this catalogue is no longer avaliable right? :-/
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Forum Admin on March 17, 2006, 03:49:26 PM
I'm sure that if you look on some used book sites, such as addall.com or maybe amazon, you can find it.  It is an excellent work.
Faberge in America by Geza von Habsburg
Thames & Hudson, 1996  ISBN 0-500-01699-2

According to the book, the other items in the Minshall Collection of Imperial provenance (not including the nephrite miniatures):
the Red Cross Easter Egg, the square yellow guilloche frame (from Nicholas' study), hand-seal with purporine handle (belonging to Alexandra), frame for 9 miniatures (belonging to Alexandra), Kremlin Tower Clock (Nicholas'), Miniature Cup in gold.
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: dp5486 on March 17, 2006, 04:14:59 PM
Thank you! That was exactly what I was looking for. I will have to look around for that book too.

Thanks again!

Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Mie on May 25, 2006, 08:47:01 AM
I do not actually know where I could leave this *ad* but I leave it in here. If anyone of you are going to visit or live in Finland you should not miss the exhibition about Faberge itesm in Tampere from 17.6 There is about to be many items from Moscow(Kremil)museom and two imperial eggs but I do not know wich eggs are they.

Heres the finnish link: http://www.tampere.fi/vapriikki/nayttelyt/faberge.html

heres the english one: http://www.tampere.fi/english/vapriikki/exhibitions/theeraoffaberge.html

Please, feel free to ask question from me, maps etc. :]

Petra
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Robert_Hall on May 25, 2006, 10:44:34 AM
Thank you for the info, MIE, sadly, although I am in London now, I will be back in San Francisco before this opens, and not back in Europe until it closes in October ! Can you find out if there will be a catalogue ?
 [as a side note, my friends and I are thinking of coming to Helsinki in May for EUROVISION !!, what a bizarre win !]
 Cheers,
 Robert
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Mie on May 25, 2006, 11:16:44 AM
IŽll send the cataluge when I found one but I promise I send it here :]

Ooo! Thank you  ::) ;D :D you do not have no idea what a mess the win cause to us! Everybody are rambling about it and are so happy  ;D :D you should not be so sure if its in Helsinki ;) half of the folk want the Eurovision to be -yeas in our capital Helsinki - but the other half wants that it is held in Lapland, town called Rovaniemi -the hometown of the singer. I perfer the Rovaniemi -though it is not the real Lapland but sure it gives more sightseen to turists. Well we'll see wont we? WELCOME I am going too with full of enthusiasm and waiting for huge show: will we see more monster heavy rock bands in 2007 ? ;)

Have a nice time in San Francisco!
Title: Re: Romanov Items in Museums
Post by: Mie on June 27, 2006, 02:23:06 PM
Huh, I couldn't find any catalocue about the exhibition  :-? but I've visited there and there were lot's of items (wonderfull) and photos about IF and Faberge-designer with stories(there was an photo about the coronation I had never seen!) and sketches Faberge-items... :) there were also the cloak Alix used during hers coronation and some dresses and religious items for example Bible and cloaks priest use(d). I trie to look the catalocue and when I find one I'll send it here!