OK, I’ll admit a lot of things didn’t go very well as I planned this trip, but one thing went very right. I discovered a collection of Faberge artifacts were on special exhibition at the OKMOA. We would have gone to the museum anyway, because they have wonderful, marvelous Chihulys, but to also see Faberge Imperial Easter Eggs? We were in heaven. I don’t want to go all nanny-nanny-poo-poo on you, but the exhibit ended back in September.
Faberge Eggs I Have Seen and Loved
The story of the Romanffs and their Easter Eggs are not exactly a hidden gem of the art world. I can’t remember not knowing about them. However, my first opportunity to get up close and personal with them was at the Kimbell Art Museum in 1982. Sometime around that time I also saw some Faberge items in New Orleans, but back in those days I had no idea I’d be a blogger one day and I can’t find a shred of evidence to prove I was there or exactly where I found them. I’m guessing they were a few items on loan to the New Orleans Museum of Art from the famous Hodge collection which were later featured in a full blown exhibition of the collection back in 2008.
I do however cherish the book I got at the Kimbell exhibit. I have read so many books and watched so many movies about the Romanoffs that I can’t tell you what I’ve actually seen in person and what was delivered to me via various media.
The OKCMOA Exhihibition
The signature item of the OKCMOA Exhibition, featured on banners throughout the city, was a lapis lazuli egg decorated with gold filigree. I made the mistake of assuming the entire exhibition would be eggs, which was not true, but we were in no way disappointed, because the exhibit was full of spectacular, awe-inducing items collected by an avid American fan of Faberge.
The first egg displayed in the galleries was this darling piece with the pelican on top. It was a gift from Nicholas II to his mother the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna. Pelicans are not exactly my favorite birds, but according to the information provided by the museum, they symbolize motherly love and care, so that makes it more charming. It was displayed as it is shown on this postcard, but a video showed how it opened up into a series of frames holding pictures of members of the royal family. Quite a remarkable feat.
Along a wall, magnificent religious icons dripping in jewels and precious metals filled a case. The lighting was low to preserve the artwork, but it also made it difficult to appreciate all the details. However, you didn’t need much light to tell you they were spectacular.
The next case had a grove of gold, tree-like arms holding miniature eggs exquisitely decorated by Faberge. The Pelican Egg, the icons and the miniature eggs filled the first room of the exhibition, but there were four other rooms full of treasures to enjoy. There was everything from furniture, to serving pieces, to animals, to lots and lots of frames, to cigarette cases, to…well pretty much whatever you can imagine. Photography was a new fad in those days, so a frame from your sovereign with a family photo was a real treat. Pre-rolled cigarettes were newly fashionable at the time too, so cigarette cases are well represented. I think the items which sparked the most interest for me were parasol handles. Fashion demanded the well-put-together woman complete her ensemble with a parasol and woe to the woman who didn’t have an assortment of parasols to chose from. Similarly, men carried canes with handles to rival the women.
Audio tours were available on your smartphone and the museum provided earphones to cut down on the noise. The information available, some of which I have shared here, is quite interesting. However, the Kimbell has spoiled me. Their acousti-guides are a little more user-friendly, because you don’t have to go in order. You just input the number of the item you’ve happened upon and listen to what is said. You really had to follow the order of audio guide on your phone at the OKCMOA, because there was no way to select a specific item. You also used up a lot of phone juice. I had to charge up after I left.
I also felt like they were stingy with their information. There were so many wonderful items in the show and only a fraction were touched upon in the audio guide. I know they can’t tell us everything about every single item, but the guide only explained 14 of the 230 items. That’s not even a tithe of the objects.
Upstairs was a hands-on craft area for families to enjoy. Many people had designed plans for their own Faberge Eggs using colored pencils and glued on rhinestones. There was also a timeline with photos of all the Romanoff Easter Eggs. The rest of the floor held the bulk of what was being displayed from their permanent collection. We strolled through, but we were getting antsy to see the Chihuly’s
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, so I hope each and every one of you has a marvelous day. I hope you come back next week and check out the Chihulys.