ST. PETERSBURG, November 19 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian billionaire’s collection of works by tsarist jewelry maker the House of Faberge went on permanent display at a palace in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
“We are now witnessing the emergence of a new generation of museums in our country,” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said at the opening ceremony. “These are private museums, financed by our citizens, our philanthropists.”
The Faberge Museum features over 4,000 artworks from the late 19th and early 20th century, including nine famous imperial Faberge eggs previously owned by the tsarist Romanov family.
The collection belongs to Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, the head of aluminum, energy and telecom conglomerate Renova Group and the largest individual owner of Faberge eggs.
He bought the collection in 2004, months before it was to officially go under the hammer at Sotheby's auction house in New York. The exact value of the deal is unknown, but it has been estimated at more than $90 million.
The recently renovated Shuvalovsky Palace, which houses the museum, was renovated at a cost of 1.2 billion rubles ($36.7 million). The project was financed by Vekselberg's Link of Times foundation, which also manages the collection.