Faberge may be world-renowned for eggs, but this is surely beyond a yolk. The Faberge Museum in Baden-Baden shelled out a jaw-dropping $1 million for an unsavory composition by the Russian jewellers: the firm never again produced anything of the kind.
So move over, dainty bejeweled Easter pieces. In this 1905 combo, we see a FRIED egg – sunny side up – with fly, torn newspaper, half-empty glass of vodka, fish bones, and an unfinished fag.
But this hangover breakfast is not as simple as it seems. The brick pedestal is in fact pure jasper, the eggs white stone and amber, the paper, fish and fly are made of silver, the glass and its contents are crystal, and the cigarette end crystal and quartz.
And there’s an even deeper twist. This experiment in naturalism carried political overtones: the scrip is an exact copy of a St. Petersburg daily, which Russians would have been reading at the time. It carries the October Manifesto on the Improvement of State Order, issued by Russia’s last Tsar Nicholas II following the revolution of 1905.
“This work is one of the most interesting ever created by Faberge,” says the founder of the museum, Russian collector Aleksandr Ivanov. “Despite the fact the Faberge never created anything similar, he went really avant-garde with this work, having unmistakably recognized the revolutionary mood of that time.”
Such raw images became common in Russian avant-garde art only a decade later, experts say. And contemporary British artist Sarah Lucas, famous for her Two Eggs and a Kebab, was clearly streaks behind Faberge.
Baden-Baden’s Faberge Museum was founded by Ivanov in 2009 and features over 700 pricey exhibits, including cigar cases, animal statuettes, jewelry and of course, eggs. The most expensive piece in the collection is the Rothschild egg purchased by Ivanov at Sotheby’s for nine million pounds in 2007.