Schlumberger Jewels Bedazzle

I gave myself an early Christmas present of seeing the Jean Schlumberger show at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida. I got to experience one of the Gulf Coast’s best museums, was able to stand inches away from Guerrilla Girls, Monet, and Kara Walker and a wander through a divine little sculpture garden after tucking into yummy butter toast and a cup of hearty tomato basil bisque. There’s so much more to this museum than I ever imagined.

Here’s why you need to go to the St. Pete Museum of Fine Arts before March 31, 2019.

The Cafe. Do NOT skip going to the cafe. It’s probably one of the best kept brunch secrets in the entire city. A lovely menu with seasonal favorites and generous portions. Excellent coffee. Fantastic view of the water. Sit on the veranda if it’s nice. If not, the seats by the windows are fantastic people watching.

Super cool that you can buy a ticket online and have a year to use it. Buy one for friends. Grab a couple for visiting parents. I love that low pressure purchase.

GUERRILLA GIRLS

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Dreamy lounge area in case it all just gets to be too much. I imagine slinking into this lounge wearing a silk dress and furs and needing someone to provide smelling salts. It’s stepping into the feeling of Tiffany & Company in New York City. It’s like sitting in a velvet lined box. People were silent or whispering. The jewels demanded it. The Schlumberger show is only on until March 31, 2019.

It may seem like you have a bit of time to check it out, but we both know you’ll put it off. Don’t. You’ll regret it.

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Bunny Mellon must have had one heck of a jewelry vault. The woman knew how to inspire. Her friendship with Jean “Johnny” Schlumberger produced jewelry that is so much more than jewelry, it’s the story of the natural world told through precious stones and metal. Her all time favorite piece was the Pisces brooch with red enamel. Look at those little golden fish lips!

I’ve always been fascinated by haute couture of the 50s and 60s. The fashion houses that were inspired by brilliant muses like Slim Keith and defined or destroyed by Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland. They, along with other women like philanthropist Bunny Mellon had style. The kind of unique style that would stop conversations when they entered a room. Not narcissistic, but incredibly vain. And they all wore Schlumberger jewelry. Jackie Kennedy is famous for wearing his enamel bangle bracelets. Slim Keith had a cross made of gold and amethysts.

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Inches away from DV’s favorite piece. Dianna Vreeland, former editor-in-chief of Vogue, had a piece commissioned by Schlumberger in 1941 and it stayed on her bedside table until she died. The ‘Trophée de Vaillance’ brooch is out of the Tiffany archives and on display. And it is magnificent. It seems to glow from within. Like a military trophy, the platinum and gold breast plate and tunic is set with diamonds.  Behind that is an oval shield encrusted with faceted amethysts and rubies, with a blue and gold enamel border. Blue and grey enamel longbow, arrows, spear, pike and axe project from behind the shield, while a ruby-set star pommel projects from within the armor.

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KARA WALKER

Oh how I love her. The use of shadow and light and images of past placed on past. Brilliant.

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Then head outside and walk along the water, or grab an ice cream cone and stroll along the avenue. Looking for a posh place to stay after being inspired by those Mellon jewels? Visit the Vinoy Renaissance Resort just a block or two away. It’s pink! And pure luxury.

Museum of Fine Arts St. Pete

C255 Beach Dr NE
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 896-2667

MUSEUM HOURS

Monday–Saturday: 10:00 am–5:00 pm
Thursday: 10:00 am–8:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm–5:00 pm

CAFE HOURS

Tuesday–Sunday: 11:00 am–3:00 pm

Email: info@mfastpete.org
Tickets: HERE

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Daytrip - Exploring Melbourne, Florida

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Melbourne is an easy hour and fifteen minutes from downtown Orlando, and tolls and highways make the trip simple.  (The alternative is a longer scenic route takes you through Fort Christmas which is another great stop on Hwy 50.)

Get to town and head first to the Historic Downtown area.  Drive slowly over the railroad tracks and park.  You won't want to miss the following:

Jacqueline's Bakery - 906 E. New Haven Ave, Melbourne, FL 32901 

This is a family-owned, French bakery and cafe. Chef Jacqueline uses European style butter, French traditional flour and American artisan flour (both non-GMO) and everything is baked from scratch.

Things to try:

  • Continental Breakfast - tartine, croissant, orange juice, coffee

  • Apple turnover

  • Quiche Duxelles

  • Vegetarian Baguette (ask for it with butter instead of hummus) Trust me.

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Russian House - 822 E. New Haven Ave, Melbourne, FL 32901

You might not realize this but there's a very large Russian population in Melbourne. Perhaps because of its proximity to the Space Coast.  Scientists maybe?  Who knows.  All I know is that a visit to the Russian House can take an hour just listening to stories from the old country and playing with nesting dolls.  The food, drink, trinkets, art, books, posters, and more are worth a visit.

Walking up and down this Main Street area is a good start. If you've got your fill of this first stop, hop back in the car and head a little closer to the coast.

EGAD - Eau Gallie Arts District - About a half-mile down the road is the Eau Gallie Arts District (EGAD) which is full of art, galleries, murals, and so much inspiration. Also...pie.

 

Joan's Perfect Pie - 1478B Highland Ave, Melbourne, FL 32935

Fresh pies, baked daily.  Joan runs a tight ship and her pies are hefty and delicious.  Choose savory or sweet and you won't be disappointed.  All of the fillings and dough are handmade and the crust is an all butter crust; brown and flakey. 

Outdoor Mural Installs - Be sure to check out all the public art murals around this district.  You can find a list here.

Foosaner Art Museum - 1463 Highland Ave. Melbourne, FL 32935

This free museum is a complex that contains three buildings: a 15,000sq ft gallery space; the Renee Foosaner Education Center with spaces for drawing, painting, pottery, and printmaking; and the Harris Community Auditorium for lectures, meetings, and performances. 

The permanent collection is over 5,000 works on paper, paintings, sculpture, and industrial design of the Modern and Contemporary periods.  Click here for the hours and installation details.

Hungry for more?

Chez Quan's - 1470 Aurora Road, Melbourne, FL. (321) 622-6979

This place has to top your list for what to eat for lunch or dinner.  What happens when you mix Thai and American and Latin all together?  Chef Adam can show you.  And you want him to.  A simple cement floor and bowls full of love.  It's always a good idea to show up for Wu Tang Wednesday. 

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There's so much more to explore so look for a second installment happening Fall 2018.

Gallery: Morse Museum of Art

I was so fortunate to be host of our regional PBS station's local show called GALLERY.

GALLERY takes you inside the halls of prestigious museums, as well as unique private and community galleries on Central Florida. Experience the amazing beauty of expression, creativity, and the timeless qualities that identify great art.

EPISODE 8: When you first think of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s work, you probably think of his famous Tiffany lamps. But what many people don’t know, is Tiffany was also famous for his glass windows, jewelry, and overall artistic style. The Morse Museum of Art in Winter Park, showcases a wide variety of Tiffany’s work.