Link of Times Cultural-Historical Foundation

The Link of Times cultural and historical foundation is a nonprofit charitable organization established by the Russian entrepreneur Viktor Vekselberg in 2004. The foundation conducts projects dedicated to repatriating Russian cultural and historical treasures that were taken out of the country in the past. The Link of Times also takes part in cultural programs jointly with the Russian Ministry of Culture, the Moscow Patriarchate, and the Presidential Administration of the Russian Federation. For example, the Link of Times, together with the Russian Orthodox Church and Harvard University, completed a joint project in September of 2008 for returning the bells from the Lowell House Tower at Harvard back to their original home in the St. Danilov Monastery in Moscow.

In 2004, the Link of Times foundation acquired a collection of works by Fabergé masters that had been gathered for half a century by the American media mogul Malcolm Forbes. The announcement in early 2004 that the Forbes collection would be sold at a Sotheby’s auction suggested the possibility that the collection would be dispersed among many different collectors from various countries. The sudden cancellation of the auction due to all the items being purchased by the Viktor Vekselberg collection was an unprecedented event in auction practice. From this moment on the foundation started to form the world's largest collection of works by Fabergé, with the aim of opening several museums.

The Fabergé Museum is St. Petersburg was created for the preservation, study and promotion of Russia’s cultural heritage, as well as for the development of the city’s museum infrastructure. The official opening of the museum is scheduled for winter, 2014. The basis of the museum's collection is the world's largest collection of works by Carl Fabergé, including nine famous imperial Easter eggs that that are of great value not only as the objects made with the highest jewelry skills, but also as unique historical artifacts. The museum collection also includes decorative and applied art created by Russian masters of the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. The museum is located in the Shuvalov Palace on the Fontanka River in downtown St. Petersburg. The Shuvalov Palace is one of the most beautiful palaces of St. Petersburg, and once belonged to famous noble families such as the Vorontsovs, Naryshkins, and Shuvalovs. The palace interiors were completely restored to their historical appearance by the Link of Times Foundation. Today the Shuvalov Palace is a work of architectural and restoration art in and of itself.

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Greetings from the founder

We were told for many decades that “art belongs to the people.” Meanwhile, millions of masterpieces of painting, sculpture, decorative art and jewelry were taken out of Russia. Many of them became the “pearls” of the world's largest museums, while others disappeared after being sold off in foreign stores. Nobody could stop this “art drain”, and people could console themselves only by saying that true art belongs to the history and culture of all of mankind. However, in their souls, people understood very well that in fact art belongs most of all to its homeland, the country in which it was created.

Thankfully, times have changed. Today, Russia no longer sells off or gives away its cultural heritage. On the contrary, Russia is learning to cherish and protect its heritage. Moreover, treasures of Russian art that seemed to be irretrievably lost are beginning to return home. Just 10 years ago, I didn’t think there was any chance that the world-famous collection of the great Russian jeweler Carl Fabergé, which had been carefully gathered for half a century by the American businessman Malcolm Forbes, would be sold. And morever, I could not have imagined that I would be the buyer of this collection. Nevertheless, the impossible became possible — the largest collection of Fabergé works, and above all, nine Imperial Easter eggs, returned to Russia.


I want these unique pieces of jewelry made by the genius Carl Fabergé to be been seen by as many Russians as possible. That's why I established the Link of Times cultural and historical foundation, which organizes exhibitions of the Fabergé collection both in Moscow and St. Petersburg, as well as in other Russian cities, such as Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, and Tyumen.

I don’t think we’ll stop with the Fabergé collection. The Link of Times Foundation will search for, acquire, and repatriate historically significant Russian works of art found abroad. As Alexander Pushkin once wrote, Peter the Great “opened a window to Europe.” Unfortunately, for nearly 75 years, this was a window through which our cultural masterpieces were taken abroad. It’s time to return them.

Viktor Vekselberg
Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Link of Times Cultural and Historical Foundation


Collection of the Link of Times Foundation

The extensive private collection of art objects of the Zurich industrialist Emil Georg Bührle (1890-1956) was converted into a foundation of 1960. The collection has been exhibited from this time in a villa near the former home Bührle in Zurich at Tsollikershtrasse, 172. The exhibition is open to the public on Tuesdays, Wednesdays , Fridays and Sundays from 14:00 to 17:00. The exhibition includes ancient artifacts, medieval sculptures, paintings by old masters such as Tintoretto, El Greco, Rubens, Van Dyck , Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Tiepolo, Canaletto, Goya, Ingres, and Corot; Impressionist paintings by Manet, Degas, Renoir , Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Toulouse- Lautrec, Seurat, Cezanne, Van Gogh, and Gauguin; modernist paintings by Bonnard, Vuillard, Vlaminck, Raoul Dufy, Modigliani, Utrillo, Chagall, Corinth, Matisse, Gris, Braque, and Picasso. Following the publication of the provenance contained in the Bührle collection starting from 1941 of the Claude Monet painting "Poppy Field near Vetheuil", there were then suspicions about the purity of its acquisition: the painting may have been the subject of a questionable transaction in 1940-1941 between Emil Bührle and the Jewish merchant Max Emden who emigrated to South America.

History of the collection

Improved production methods combined with growing demand for jewelry led to the creation of real masterpieces of jewelry art at the end of the 19th century. But just ten to twenty years later, following the Revolution of 1917, the gems in these art works were savagely ripped out, or, in the best cases, these priceless monuments of art were sold abroad. The famous House of Fabergé Easter eggs — one of the most outstanding examples of Russian jewelry art  were among the masterpieces made with precious stones and metals that were stolen from national treasuries and museums.

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