Author Topic: Where did the furnishings go ?  (Read 4380 times)

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Offline londo954

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Where did the furnishings go ?
« on: November 07, 2005, 07:53:17 AM »
I am curious about the items currently displayed at the AP today. What happened to them in the intervening years between the war and when the palace was used as a msueum. Where they used by the military as decoration? Were they in storage at the palace? or at Pavlvosk? If so how did they get Pavlvosk to release them. More importantly if they belonged the Nicholas and Alexandra how were they kept from destruction?
And the paintings on display were they ever displayed elsewhere or were they kept at the Palace?
« Last Edit: April 07, 2009, 07:15:58 AM by Sarushka »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2005, 03:16:38 PM »
Hi londo,

One thing that many people don't realize is that there are very very few original items from the AP in today's exhibit.  Most of them are either analogues, or items that were recreated and donated to the museum by the film producers who filmed 'Romanovi Ventzenosknaya Sem'ya" there in 1997.

More original AP items do exist, but they are now in possession of the Pavlovsk Museum and they are not about to give them back! After WWII, central storage was set up at Pavlovsk Palace and a lot of the original items from the AP went there because it was restored first. Many other items got distributed among various museums, and at this time it is a complicated political process to try to return them, which will probably never happen. They did at one point have a temporary exhibit at the AP where these items were on loan from Pavlovsk, but this was before this permanent exhibit opened at the AP...

A lot of the personal stuff from the AP was destroyed or lost. Mostly  the personal items that were saved were  Nicholas and Alexandra's  books. These are still in TS, at the Rare Book Fund in the Catherine Palace.

Offline londo954

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2005, 07:20:58 PM »
But what about the furnishings such as the chairs and piano and the paintings where were they in the interum.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2005, 08:06:25 PM »
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But what about the furnishings such as the chairs and piano and the paintings where were they in the interum.


I believe they were evacuated and kept in storage at another museum, but I can't say where for sure...

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2005, 05:28:33 AM »
The Hermitage has  rooms full of N&A stuff, a fraction of which seems to always be on tour/exhibit somewhere. I was told that  a lot of the personal items came there after the end of WWII for storage as it was not considered worth displaying at the time [not of "artistic value" or rather politically irrelevent]. Whether or not that is true I have no idea, people tell you lots of things do they not ? But what is obvious is the touring exhibits do come from the Hermitage.
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Offline ChristineM

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2005, 06:01:23 AM »
Yes Robert, and they are still all labelled as originating from the Alexander Palace.

It was the Alexander Palace which re-housed the contents of the imperial palaces and became the distribution point.   The reason why is ironic - it was the least damaged of all the palaces after the Nazi retreat.   The double irony is that from here most of its own, original, contents were relocated.

The bulk of Nicholas II's library was sold to America.

tsaria

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2005, 08:34:14 AM »
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The bulk of Nicholas II's library was sold to America.
 


Many of these books are still in Pushkin, at the Catherine Palace Rare Book Fund, in addition to some of Alexandra's books that she brought over from Darmstadt. This past summer, they planned to move  the books  that belonged to N & A, and other books that were originally from the AP library collection, to the exhibit at the AP, and put them into the bookcases that are now set up in the room where N's pool used to be... I am pretty sure that they should all be there by now.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2005, 08:41:23 AM »
I was told that the reason the AP did not get to keep their own items at the time of post WWII distribution was because it was no longer a museum at that point. So Pavlovsk got to keep most of the stuff because it was a museum, and it was restored relatively quickly...

The AP in fact is still not a museum today, and will only become one when its ownership is transferred over from the government to the TS Museum, which will hopefully happen in the next several years. Maybe at that point they will have a better argument as to why they should get their original items back... But from what I understand, no one at the TS Museum really expects that this will ever happen.

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2005, 11:10:29 AM »
Interesting about the books, Helen.  While at the AP in Oct. , in Nicholas'  study, the bookcases are full ! Each volume as an inventory/index card I noticed.  I meant to ask about these as I am a manic book collector, but, alas, I was too busy playing with the kitty [photo sent to you]. They were shelved in the European archival fashion- bindings inward, so I could not tell what they were or even what language they are in.
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Offline ChristineM

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2005, 11:20:48 AM »
The Alexander Palace was effectively the clearing house for artefacts.   At the end of the war its future was still under debate.   There were plans to restore the parade halls and imperial wing as well as create a Pushkin museum in the Court Wing.   It was not until 1952 that its fate was sealed and it was officially handed over to the Defence Ministry.

As of now, the Imperial Wing falls within the jurisdiction of Tsarskoe Selo Museums.   There are ongoing problems regarding the costs of heating and other matters concerning this wing.   The Defence Ministry have handed over the Libraries to TSM - little more than a step away from the Mountain Hall.  

It is my understanding that the Navy have already secured alternative premises in the city, but the staff are reluctant to move.   They will drag their feet for as long as possible.  

It is doubtful that the Alexander Palace still functions as viable military establishment.

tsaria

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2005, 12:13:28 PM »
Quote
Interesting about the books, Helen.  While at the AP in Oct. , in Nicholas'  study, the bookcases are full ! Each volume as an inventory/index card I noticed.  I meant to ask about these as I am a manic book collector, but, alas, I was too busy playing with the kitty [photo sent to you]. They were shelved in the European archival fashion- bindings inward, so I could not tell what they were or even what language they are in.


Hi Robert,

Yes, this is what I was talking about. When I was there this summer, there were only a few books in those cases. I was working at the Rare Book Fund, and helped prepare some of the Acts of Transfer for these books to be transfered from the Fund to the AP exhibit (to the bookcases you saw) as well to another temporary exhibit at the CP, but I left before they were actually transferred to the AP. Yes, each volume does have a catalogue/index card (I typed out some of those too  :)). Many of these books are in French, but also many in Russian. From the ones that personally belonged to Nicholas and Alexandra - many were in English. The books that Alexandra brought from Darmstadt were in German of course. Alexandra's secular books seem to be mostly in English and the religious ones are in Russian. I wrote down some of the titles when they were still at the Fund and I had a chance to look at them, and I put my notes away somewhere in the "safe" place, so now I have to figure out where this safe place is!

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Where did they go ?
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2005, 12:20:02 PM »
Quote
As of now, the Imperial Wing falls within the jurisdiction of Tsarskoe Selo Museums.  


They consider it part of a temporary/permanent exhibit (sort on "lease" from the Navy for now), but the AP (as a building) is still not considered a museum but part of the government's premises... At least this is the way it was explained to me by several people...  It seems that things are moving very slowly, but at least the Navy officially found another place to go and that's half the battle... Hopefully things will move a little faster from now.

Offline ChristineM

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Re: Where did they go
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2005, 01:25:53 PM »
There were four libraries in the Alexander Palace.   During the 30s, about 20,000 books from the libraries were sold to the US.   I will try to find the source.   What remains is but a fraction of what once comprised Nicholas II's library.

Yes, the building of the Alexander Palace still belongs to the Ministry of Defence.   The Imperial Wing is a bit of a hybrid.   The World Monuments Fund and Gleb Panfilov invested hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Family Wing - not for the benefit of the Navy, but in the belief that the building would be returned to the Ministry of Culture.   It is TSM who fund the maintenance of the wing, not without inevitable tensions.  

The Alexander Park and its pavilions are under the jurisdiction of Tsarskoe Selo Museums.   They paid for the restoration of the White Tower and propose, shortly, to commence the restoration of another pavilion in the Alexander Park.

I am optimistic that things are moving, slowly, in the right direction.   When the transfer happens, I think we will find that, suddenly, it is a fait a complis.

tsaria  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by tsaria »