Thursday

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art

BGFA
(Fig. 01)
01/12/2015 Visit Notes: My friend Jim Herring and I decided to go to the “Fabergé Revealed” exhibition currently being held at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA)(Fig. 01). I have to admit that we were both amazed by the detail and craftsmanship of the artifacts on display. This showing, the fourth of six country-wide exhibitions, was organized in partnership with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The name Fabergé is synonymous with refined craftsmanship, jeweled luxury, and the last days of the doomed Russian imperial family. The Russian jeweler Karl Fabergé crafted objects for the Russian imperial family in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including specially commissioned Easter eggs. Such was the confidence that the Tsar had in him after the first two orders, which gave him total freedom to create the design, but with the only condition that each should contain a surprise gift inside, as was the tradition of Easter to represent any of the royal collections. Throughout the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, the House of Fabergé produced more than 150,000 objects of art, jewels and silver articles – many of which were one of a kind. Thanks to the generosity of Lillian Thomas Pratt and other donors, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts owns one of the finest Fabergé collections in existence.
                                 
The exhibit showcases 238 rare Fabergé artifacts that are synonymous with exquisite craftsmanship, impeccable taste and the rich history of the Russian imperial family from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Displayed are a wide array of enameled picture frames and clocks, gold cigarette cases and cane tops, hard stone animals and flowers in rock crystal vases, and ruby encrusted brooches and boxes. These treasured objects tell the story of the fall of the Russian imperial family. Unfortunately eight eggs were lost after the chaos of the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, in which the Communists led by Vladimir Lenin, overthrew Nicholas II and then shot him along with his entire family.
                         
Signature pieces featured include the Imperial Pelican Easter Egg (1897)(Fig. 03), created to celebrate the Dowager Empress of Russia. The red-gold egg unfolds into eight oval frames graduated in size, each rimmed with pearls and inscribed with the names of the institutions that appear on the front (Fig. 02). A pelican stands in a nest atop the egg and feeds her young, symbolizing maternal care; the Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912 (Fig. 04). Workmaster Henrik Wigstrom. Egg: Lapis lazuli, gold, diamonds, 4 7/8" H x 3 9/16" dia. Picture frame: platinum, lapis lazuli, diamonds, rock crystal, watercolor on ivory, 3 3/4" H x 2 3/8"; the Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, 1903 (Fig. 05). Workmaster Mikhail Perkhin. Egg: Gold, platinum, silver gilt, diamonds, rubies, enamel, watercolor, ivory, rock crystal, 4 3/4" H x 3 1/8" dia. Statue: gilt bronze, sapphire, 1 7/8" H x 2 3/4" W.; and the Miniature Easter Egg Pendant,1899–1908 (Fig. 06). Workmaster August Holmstrom.  Agate, gold, rubies, 5/8" H x 3/4" Dia.
                             
Tickets are $17; $14 for Nevada residents and seniors 65 and older; and $12 for students, teachers and military with valid ID. Children 12 and younger are free. Audio tours are included in the price of admission. BGFA is open daily 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Last admissions are sold 30 minutes prior to closing. The exhibit will end on May 25, 2015.
                     
Imperial Pelican Easter Egg, 1897-2
(Fig. 02)
The eight oval frames found inside the Pelican Easter Egg, each rimmed with pearls and inscribed on the back with the names of the institutions that appear on the front.
Imperial Pelican Easter Egg, 1897
(Fig. 03)
Photo Credit: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Imperial Pelican Easter Egg, 1897. Workmaster Mikhail Perkhin. Gold, diamonds, enamel, pearls, ivory, watercolor, glass, 4" H x 2 1/8" Dia. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt. Photo:
Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912
(Fig. 04)
Photo Credit: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912. Workmaster Henrik Wigstrom. Egg: Lapis lazuli, gold, diamonds, 4 7/8" H x 3 9/16" dia. Picture frame: platinum, lapis lazuli, diamonds, rock crystal, watercolor on ivory, 3 3/4" H x 2 3/8" W. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt.
Imperial Peter The Great Easter Egg, 1903
(Fig. 05)
Photo Credit: Katherine Wetzel © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Imperial Peter the Great Easter Egg, 1903. Workmaster Mikhail Perkhin. Egg: Gold, platinum, silver gilt, diamonds, rubies, enamel, watercolor, ivory, rock crystal, 4 3/4" H x 3 1/8" dia. Statue: gilt bronze, sapphire, 1 7/8" H x 2 3/4" W. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt.
Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, 1899-1908
(Fig. 06)
Photo Credit: Travis Fullerton © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Miniature Easter Egg Pendant, 1899–1908. Workmaster August Holmstrom.  Agate, gold, rubies, 5/8" H x 3/4" Dia. Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond. Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt.