Openings Museums Russian Federation

A double vision for Fabergé in St Petersburg

Two museum spaces dedicated to the work of the imperial jeweller are due to open

Vekselberg bought Malcolm Forbes’ Fabergé egg collection in 2004 for a sum estimated to be up to $120m

St Petersburg will have two museums devoted to the work of Peter Carl Fabergé, jeweller to the tsars. The billionaire collector Viktor Vekselberg, who bought Malcolm Forbes’ Fabergé egg collection in 2004 for a sum estimated to be up to $120m, is due to put 4,000 items drawn from his fine and decorative art collection on show in the Shuvalov Palace this autumn. The Fabergé Museum, on the Moika river embankment, is in an 18th-century building once owned by the Naryshkin and Shuvalov Russian noble families. The extensive restoration of the building, undertaken by Vekselberg’s Link of Times Cultural and Historic Foundation, has delayed the opening, however.

“The initial plan was to finish the renovation in 2011,” a spokesman for Vekselberg says. The Art Newspaper understands that the billionaire has spent around $30m on the conservation project. Vekselberg now owns nine Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, which, according to a press statement, will form the “backbone” of the museum collection.

Meanwhile, the State Hermitage Museum plans to open Fabergé Rooms next year in the restored east wing of the General Staff building on Palace Square, in time for the 250th anniversary of Catherine the Great’s founding of the museum. The Hermitage rooms will focus on the development of jewellery as an art form both through the work of the Fabergé firm and of contemporary jewellers, said the museum in a statement. The museum plans to hold courses and conferences on the jewellery and lapidary arts.

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