hermitage museum foundation

L'Alliance Franco-Russe in Ceramics, Lecture in Boston

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Tuesday May 29, 2012
6:30 pm, lecture
7:30 pm, handling session and reception

French Cultural Center
53 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116

The Franco-Russian political alliance at the turn of 19th-20th centuries, was the result of a long historical and cultural dialogue between the two countries. The strengthening of this alliance during the fin-de-siecle prompted French artists and craftsmen to create a variety of objects related to this new friendship. Mass produced souvenirs, often made with a sense of humor, expressed a desire to capture the vivid historical events in the life of France and Russia in those years. Decorative plates and dishes, coffee mugs, miniature cups, ashtrays and other items were made to commemorate the visits of the French presidents to Russia and Russian Tsars to France; these depict portraits of Alexander III, Nicholas II and Empress Alexandra Fyodorovna, as well as French Presidents Carnot, F. Faure and E. Loubet . Today these objects serve as a kind of “ceramic Chronicle” of diplomatic relations between Russia and France in the XIX-XX centuries, the best examples of which can now be seen in the ceramic collection of the State Hermitage Museum.

Dr. Ekaterina Khmelnitskaya is curator of the Russian Porcelain and Ceramics collection of the State Hermitage Museum. Author of numerous scholarly publications, she has helped curate over twenty Hermitage exhibitions, among them international ones and has been an invited presenter at the International Ceramic Fair and Seminar (London), the Kunsthistorisches Institut (Florence); Biblioteca Hertziana (Rome) and elsewhere. She is currently in the US for a six month stay as a Fulbright Fellow, at the Library of Congress and the Hoover Institution, Stanford.

Dr. Khmelnitskaya’s book, together with French scholar Wilfred Zeisler, “Chronique ceramique” de l’Alliance Franco-Russe, published in Russian and French in 2010 will also be available for sale.

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