President Vladimir Putin has had the honour of presenting a £9m Fabergé egg to the Hermitage Museum in celebration of their 250th birthday. The Russian President attended a party on Monday with the gift that originally belonged to Catherine the Great’s art collection. The egg which also houses a clock was created for the 25th wedding anniversary of Emperor Alexander III and Empress Maria Feodorovna. It was made in the exclusive Carl Fabergé workshop, who were the official jewellers to the tsar.
In an interview Alexander Ivanov, a Russian businessman who opened the Fabergé Museum in Baden-Baden, Germany, confirmed that the egg was one he had bought at Christie’s in 2007, for a record £9m. Last week the owner of the Fabergé egg accused Britain of raiding his German museum in a failed attempt to stop President Putin from presenting it to the Hermitage museum as a birthday gift.
Alexander Ivanov, the billionaire art collector who made his money importing computers towards the end of the Soviet era, stated that there was a “certain connection” between the raid and the ceremony marking the 250th anniversary”
During his speech President Putin ‘praised the Hermitage for its cultural outreach and said he had discussed plans with the museum’s director, Mikhail Piotrovsky, to open satellites in Yekaterinburg, Omsk and Vladivostok’.
“Plans are in place, and one way or another, the plans are moving forward,” Putin stated on the Kremlin website. “I am certain—absolutely certain—that these museums will be unique, not just as regional centres but as national attractions.”
Photo: Courtesy Christie’s