On the Eve of Russian Art Auctions in London, the Fabergé Museum
in Baden Baden Spent 800,000 euros to Acquire a Rare Item Dating from 1905 that Carl Fabergé Made in the Avant-garde Style.
The Fabergé Museum acquired an extremely rare piece for its collection; one that will significantly alter our understanding of Fabergés work, and possibly our understanding of the Russian avantgarde. The stone-cut jeweled still-life shows a fragment made of silver depicting the newspaper, Vedomosti SPB gradonachalstva, dating from 18 October 1905, the day that the October Manifesto signed by Czar Nicolas II was published.
The Manifesto was considered a prototype to the first Russian Constitution; and in this document Nicholas II announced the establishment of a two-chamber parliament, and he guaranteed basic freedoms to all citizens.
Next to the newspaper are leftover foods that are positioned in an avant-garde composition. We see a fried egg sunnyside up with yolk made of amber, and egg-white made of white enamel; two fish (silver), one is whole, while the other is only a skeleton. Also, there is an unfinished glass of vodka (rock crystal) and an unfinished cigarette butt (quartz, silver). Two exquisite flies (silver) crawl over the leftovers, and they complete the picture of a hangover mood.
The year 1905 is interesting because such raw and gritty still-life compositions became imagery commonly used by Russian avant-garde artists only a decade later.
«This item is one of the most interesting that Faberge ever made,» said Alexander Ivanov, owner of the Fabergé Museum, and one of Russias leading art collectors. «Faberge made nothing else like it, and it seems that he also got caught up in the avant-garde and the revolutionary feeling of the times.»
The item was purchased for 800,000 euros from a Paris collector.