#5 - JRL 7214
New York Times
June 8, 2003
New Washington Home For Russian Treasures
By Rita Reif
Marjorie Merriweather Post's extraordinary collection of Russian art has found a new home in the dacha, or country house, that she built in 1968 at Hillwood, her estate in Washington, which is now a museum. The new showcase for the collection of Mrs. Post, the heiress to the Post cereal empire, is a modest log cabin, the traditional form for a dacha, just large enough to present small exhibitions.
The first show there, "The Myths of St. Petersburg: Impressions of the City From the Hillwood Collection," brings together 55 objects to mark the tricentennial of the city founded by Peter the Great. "We tried to fit 300 years of history into 950 square feet, presenting both the pros and cons of how the Russian people actually view this city," said Karen L. Kettering, the curator at Hillwood who organized the show, which remains through the year.
The exhibition of engravings, richly illustrated porcelains, glass beakers and Faberge enameled objects details how Peter the Great, using serf labor, transformed a huge swamp into a magnificent city.
Mrs. Post began collecting Russian art when she went to Moscow in 1937 with her third husband, Joseph E. Davies, the United States ambassador to the Soviet Union. The 800 objects Mrs. Post acquired became the core of her Russian art collection, which numbered 8,000 pieces at her death in 1973. The Russian objects not on view at the dacha are displayed at the mansion. Reservations are required to visit the Hillwood Museum and Gardens, 4155 Linnean Avenue NW in Washington; call (877) 445-5966. General admission, $10. Web site: www.hillwoodmuseum.org.