The Matilda Geddings Gray Collection of Fabergé
March 2007 - June 5, 2011
Join us for Fabergé Fridays April 22nd - June 3rd. All adult visitors to Cheekwood will receive a free copy the Collection catalogue, Masterworks of Fabergé (while supplies last). Docent-led tours of the exhibition will also be held every Friday at 2 p.m.
Cheekwood's Museum of Art has housed the Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation Collection, among the world’s most significant compilation of Fabergé pieces, since March of 2007.
Harold H. “Spook” Stream, a long-time Nashvillian, has arranged for the Collection to be on loan to Cheekwood. Mr. Stream is the great-nephew of the late Matilda Geddings Gray, who began collecting works by Fabergé in the early 1930s and who established the foundation to provide for their enjoyment by a broad segment of the public.
“The Matilda Geddings Gray Foundation is delighted to loan this remarkable exhibit to Cheekwood in hopes that many individuals from this region will have the opportunity to cherish these truly exquisite works of art,” said Harold Stream. “With its careful harmony of botanical gardens and decorative arts, Cheekwood is an ideal home for these fabulous pieces, many of which depict stunning floral arrangements. We are pleased to announce this new partnership”.
Pieces from the Collection have been exhibited worldwide. The Collection includes 57 rare pieces highlighted by three Russian Imperial Easter eggs, and a number of important functional items, fantasy items and floral works. Cheekwood has dedicated a gallery in the Museum of Art to the Collection. Notable works include:
• Imperial Caucasus Egg – (St. Petersburg, 1893); A brilliant egg presented by Alexander III to his wife Maria Feodorovna on Easter Sunday 1893;
• Imperial Danish Palaces Egg (St. Petersburg, 1895); A pink enamel egg modeled in the historic French style;
• Imperial Napoleonic Egg (St. Petersburg, 1912); A six-paneled green and gold egg crafted in the neoclassical style as a gift for Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna.
• Imperial Lilies-of-the-Valley Basket – (St. Petersburg, 1896); Fabergé’s floral masterpiece and a favorite possession of the Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna.
• Imperial Cornflowers, thought to have been in the personal collection of Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna (r. 1894 – 1917).
Peter Carl Fabergé (1846 – 1920) was the “artist-jeweler” celebrated for opulent Easter Eggs and exquisitely crafted objects of fantasy produced in an astonishingly creative array. Matilda Geddings Gray was fond of travel and first encountered the works of Fabergé at Armand and Victor Hammer’s display of Russian art at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1933. The pieces made such an impact on her that Miss Gray determined to assemble a collection of Fabergé objects. Her quest led Miss Gray to all the leading dealers in Fabergé objects, a time long before they received the international attention they now command. After Miss Gray’s death in 1971, her collection passed to the foundation bearing her name with the intention that the objects be placed on permanent display. Following an extensive tour of American museums, the Collection was placed on loan to the New Orleans Museum of Art in 1988.