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Russian treasures reinstalled in renovated galleries named for Eda Hofstead Cabaniss

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ renowned Fabergé collection is returning from an international tour, and will be displayed in a new suite of renovated galleries opening to the public on October 22, 2016. The new installation will feature 280 objects– composed of Fabergé and other Russian decorative arts– in a multi-layered interactive experience. VMFA will be the only American art museum with five galleries dedicated to Fabergé and other Russian objects.

VMFA’s holdings comprise the largest art museum collection of Fabergé and Russian objects outside of Russia. The collection includes five of the 52 Russian Imperial Easter Eggs created by the Fabergé firm led by jeweler Karl Fabergé. Most objects by Fabergé are made from hardstones, precious metals, including gold, platinum, and silver, as well as diamonds, gemstones, and other materials. The newly redesigned space will allow a view of each Imperial Egg in the round. Organized by material, the five galleries include sections that feature objects of gold and silver, jewelry, enamels, hardstones, icons, and an Old Russian style table with hammered-brass panels never before displayed in a museum. The suite’s three central Fabergé galleries are named in honor of Eda Hofstead Cabaniss, a former VMFA Foundation Board member and generous patron of the museum.

“Our Fabergé and Russian decorative arts collection is a longtime visitor favorite,” VMFA Director Alex Nyerges said, “and we are thrilled to be reinstalling it this year in a larger modern space. The Fabergé collection has traveled the globe and is coming home to a suite of galleries that boast digital components, which will allow visitors to engage with the art in new and dynamic ways.”

Redesigned with a focus on interactive components, the suite will feature four large touchscreens allowing visitors to view the intricate construction of the five Imperial Eggs as they open and reveal their interiors. After viewing the collection of the Fabergé miniature Easter eggs, visitors can create and share their own design on an interactive application that will be featured discretely throughout the galleries. The mobile application will also bring to life the rich fairytales featured on various decorative objects and provide an in-depth, historical experience that narrates and enriches the entire Fabergé collection.

About This Exhibition
The name Fabergé is synonymous with refined craftsmanship, jeweled luxury, and the last days of the doomed Russian imperial family. The array of enameled picture frames and clocks, gold cigarette cases and cane tops, hardstone animals and flowers in rock crystal vases, and ruby encrusted brooches and boxes continue to fascinate viewers as they did when first displayed in the windows of Fabergé’s stores in St. Petersburg, Moscow, and London.


Faberge image credits:

Fabergé firm (Russian) (image left). Imperial Tsesarevich Easter Egg, 1912. Platinum, lapis lazuli, diamonds, watercolor on ivory, rock crystal, 3.75 x 2.375 in. (9.53 x 6.03 cm.) Virginia Museum of Fine Arts; Bequest of Lillian Thomas Pratt. (Photo: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

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