Stroganoff: The Palace and Collections of a Russian Noble Family

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9780810941960: Stroganoff: The Palace and Collections of a Russian Noble Family
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The Stroganoffs were among Imperial Russia's wealthiest and most influential families. Their collection of art, antiquities, and decorative objects, assembled over five centuries, was rivaled only by the holdings of the tsar.

This book, the companion volume to a major traveling exhibition, reassembles masterworks of the Stroganoff collection for the first time since the 1917 Revolution. The more than 200 objects showcased here are extraordinarily varied: exquisite 16th-century icons; European old-master paintings by Botticelli, Poussin, van Dyck, and Watteau; rare antiquities from around the world; and stunning decorative objects, such as the great malachite coupe from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Complete with photographs of that fabled Baroque palace, which is now under restoration, this book will be a revelation to art lovers everywhere.

245 illustrations, 220 in full color, mapes, 9 x 11 7/8"

PENELOPE HUNTER-STIEBEL, formerly a curator of decorative arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is a principal of the Rosenberg and Stiebel Gallery in New York City. JOHN BUCHANAn, Jr., is the executive director of the Portland Art Museum, Oregon.

HLNE DE LUDINGHUYSEN is the director of the Stroganoff Foundation and the last living Stroganoff descendant.

EXHIBITION SCHEDULE Portland Art Museum, Oregon Feb. 19-May 31, 2000 Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas July 2-Oct. 1, 2000

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Review:

Siberia became part of Russia largely as a result of the Stroganoffs' expeditions eastward in pursuit of land and mineral wealth, activities that made them the richest family in Russia. In the 18th century, they focused their energies on amassing art objects; Catherine the Great herself was jealous of their artistic forays. They collected ancient Roman sculpture, French and Italian oil paintings, and fine furniture and textiles, and developed a school of icon painting. When exquisite Sassanian silverware was unearthed on their estates, they ensured that this too was brought to grace their stately palaces. Stroganoff: The Palace and Collections of a Russian Noble Family catalogs the objects that the Portland Art Museum tracked down for an unusually wide-ranging exhibition. A vast bowl of green malachite from the Urals mounted on a gold tripod, obtained ultimately only through blackmail by the museum's director, is the show's pièce de résistance. Paintings and plans of the Stroganoffs' opulent cathedrals, palaces, and dachas are included and form a backdrop for the objects. The family residence on Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg was designed by the influential architect Voronikhin, a freed serf who is believed to have been Alexander Stroganoff's natural son. After decades of neglect, this palace is now being refurbished and the Stroganoff possessions are being rehabilitated by the Hermitage and State Russian Museums, a recognition of the Stroganoffs' vital involvement in Russia's expansion over 500 years. A conscious attempt to reestablish a sense of the continuum of Russian art and history after the disruptions of the last century, Stroganoff is an imaginative and resounding success. --John Stevenson

From Booklist:

It is all too easy to dismiss exhibition catalogs. "No life," readers might say, or "Too little explanation," or "Where's the link to history--and real people?" Against a supporting cast glittering with Rothschilds, royalty, and celebrities, the art collections of the Russian Stroganoff family make a dramatic presentation. Various luminaries and scholars pay tribute to the dynasty, to what remains of their patronage of the arts, and to their collections. Of special note are the wondrous palace on St. Petersburg's Nevsky Prospect, now undergoing restoration; the farsighted aesthetic vision that amassed rarities like Chinese cloisonne-enamel and religious icons; and the immense self-confidence that allowed many members of the family to actually practice as artisans. Although only Portland, Oregon, and Fort Worth, Texas, were graced by this Russian legacy, the rest of America can dream of dachas and Russian grand dukes by way of this lovely book. Bibliography appended. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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