My take home pieces

October 28, 2008

Artistic Luxury is open, the exhibition is full of people, and as I’ve wandered through the galleries evesdropping, listening to how much everyone loves my exhibition, I’ve noticed a growing trend. Patrons are picking their favorite “take home piece.” In other words, a hypothetical piece they fall in love with and would take home if they could, without security and the law in tow.

Joining in the fun, I’ve picked three take home pieces. Hey, I’m the curator, I can do what I want.

Take home piece #1 – The Adam’s Vase.

Adam's Vase, c. 1893-95, Tiffany & Co., The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Adam's Vase, c. 1893-95, Tiffany & Co., The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Adam’s Vase (c. 1893-95) was designed by Paulding Farnham of Tiffany & Co. and created from American gold (nearly 23 pounds), gemstones (pearls, amethysts, garnets and tourmalines) and mineral specimens (gold-bearing quartz, rock crystal and petrified wood). The vase was displayed at the 1900 Paris World’s Fair as the crowning achievement of Tiffany & Co.

Take home piece #2 – Kelch Rocaille Egg.

The Kelch Eggs, done by the House of Fabergé for heiress Barbara Kelch, were Easter eggs meant to compete with the Imperial eggs (also done by Fabergé) for the Russian Tsar. Said to be gifts of Alexander Kelch (Barbara’s husband), Barbara Kelch actually purchased her own Easter eggs from the House of Fabergé each year for seven years.

Take home piece #3 – Jester Hand Mirror.

The Jester Hand Mirror (c. 1898-1900) by René Lalique shows a mocking jester confronting the user of the hand mirror, while stag beetles proclaim the true beauty of the beholder on the reverse. Lalique’s repertoire of subject matter ran the gammet from flora and fauna to the human form.

For more on why these pieces are my take homes and visuals, watch my video blogs for more curatorial insight.

Now what are you waiting for? Come to Artistic Luxury and pick your own take home piece, just don’t actually take it home of course.



Ok, the exhibition is open. People are lining up to see the fruits of my labor. And you may be asking yourself…just how can I take home a piece of this show?

Well, if you have a few thousand dollars to spare, a Russell Trusso original is available for you in the museum store. And if you don’t have that kind of cash stashed in a tin box under the rose bushes, you can check out the fabulous Mr. Trusso (and myself) in person.

One-of-a-kind pieces from Russell Trusso

One-of-a-kind pieces from Russell Trusso

I personally invite you to attend my Artistic’s Dialogue featuring local jewelry designer Russell Trusso, 1 p.m., Sunday, October 26 at the museum. This free Actors Studio type of discussion provides a unique opportunity to hear how the master artists featured in Artistic Luxury: Fabergé, Tiffany, Lalique have directly influenced this renowned local artist’s work.

Russell Trusso, a former Cleveland Clinic neuroanesthesiologist, is known for his breathtaking botanical-themed necklaces, earrings and brooches. Inspired by his love of nature’s beauty, the bold creations are distinguised by their delicate and feminine qualities. Russell uses pearls, diamonds and gemstones to create these exquisite pieces.

His pieces sell for thousands and have been featured in Time, W and countless other publications. Come spend a Sunday afternoon wrapped in luxury and see just what may inspire you.



Joys of Post-It Notes

October 9, 2008

One week until the opening!

I thought about starting this entry with a really bad joke about flying around the world and how tired my arms have become, but I realized, it’s not really a joke. 

The part about my arms being tired may not be true, but I have been back and forth across the United States countless times and around the globe at least twice in gathering objects for my exhibition.

Overseas I’ve been to Paris, London, Barcelona, Moscow, St. Petersburg, the Ukraine and Monaco. In the states I’ve flown to Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Virginia, San Francisco, Dallas, Nashville, Los Angeles, Seattle, Kansas City, New Orleans and Florida.

Actually looking at the list of places in writing makes me want to go get a cup of coffee, or something stronger.

You see for some of the objects in Artistic Luxury, I’m responsible for picking them up, taking them through airport security and bringing them, in one piece, to the Cleveland Museum of Art. Private, exclusive and elite lenders have entrusted me with their prize possessions; meaning I can focus on nothing else until that object is safely housed in the museum.

Check out my video blog on WKYC for a behind-the-scenes look at Artistic Luxury…I’m going to go get that cup of coffee.



  • Get free admission to Artistic Luxury by becoming a member of CMA.
  • Own your own piece of Artistic Luxury in print – Browse through five centuries of prints, including the Guilded Age, at the Fine Print Fair Saturday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Corporate College, I-271 and I-480, in Warrensville Heights.


September 17, 2008

Artistic Luxury: Fabergé, Tiffany, Lalique.

An era of opulence, of empires, of grandness…of artistic luxury.

The turn of the 20th century saw a world embracing an explosion of wealth and the rise of decadence.

Return to this era at my special exhibition, Artistic Luxury: Fabergé, Tiffany, Lalique opening on October 19 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. In the upcoming weeks I invite you to return to my blog and learn about the adventures, history and scandal that lie behind Artistic Luxury.

For me it has been a labor of love years in the making. I wanted to create an exhibition that closely examines the artistry and techniques of the three most prominent designers of jewelry and luxury goods: Peter Carl Fabergé, Louis Comfort Tiffany, and René Lalique.

Looking critically at the development, design and marketing of each designer, Artistic Luxury will explore the demand for luxury goods in the 20th century. The exhibition will highlight some of the key patrons and personalities of the period and will examine the inspirations and creative legacies of the three artist-jewelers. Many of these rare objects come from private collections and have rarely been seen by the public.

On October 19, join me in returning to a time that has inspired the way we perceive art and luxury today.

To see some behind-the-scenes action and hear about the exhibition from my perspective, check out my video blogs at

Looking forward to seeing you in the galleries this fall.



  • Advance discount tickets are currently on sale for Artistic Luxury  – $12 if purchased by October 19, 2008.  
  • In the spirit of Artistic Luxury, build your own luxurious getaway package at
  • Staff from the CMA Community Affairs Department are trying their hand at chalking works from Fabergé, Tiffany and Lalique at Chalk Festival  – September 20 & 21.
  • Get free admission to Artistic Luxury by becoming a member of CMA.