Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Artistic Luxury: Faberge, Tiffany, Lalique at the Legion of Honor




This overwhelmingly grandiose exhibit of nearly 250 objects replicates the singular event in history when three prominent jewelers of la Belle Époque converged at L’Exposition de Paris 1900. The luxury bestsellers from New York, Paris, and St. Petersburg fascinated the public then, and surely will repeat the effect now. World-famous enameled and bejeweled Easter eggs, created by the House of Faberge for the Russian royal family; Tiffany’s iridescent lamps and windows, and Lalique’s horn and glass wearable art, ever so slightly accented with diamonds and sapphires were collected from more than 40 international lenders for the show, organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art. “Several important works of art from our collection are showcased in the exhibition, highlighting our own strong holdings in European and American decorative arts,” said John Buchanan, Director of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The Kelch Rocaille mauve green and pink egg, on display among other Faberge masterpieces, came from the Board of Trustees President Diane Wilsey’s collection. At the exhibit opening, Mrs. Wilsey said that her father used to collect Faberge, and shared an anecdotal story of acquiring this particular piece in her favorite colors, which she briefly tried using as a cocktail purse. The MUST SEE show is on display through May 31 at Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF. Call 415-750-3600 or visit www.famsf.org. Photography by Yuri Krasov: Diane Wilsey by the Kelch Rocaille Faberge egg; artifacts from the show.