Hidden cache of the master showman, who dined with royalty and kept company with titans, to surface for the first time in over a decade
At the close of 2013, the Liberace Foundation, together with its Liberace Museum, was bankrupt. After over $6 million had successfully been distributed through scholarships over many generous years, a recession hit hard. There were no more exhibits or attractions, almost no income, and crippling debt and overhead remained from the museum that had closed years before. A host of crooked lenders, emboldened thieves and self righteous opportunists moved in for the kill, and began picking away at the edges of the vast Liberace Museum Collection. The latest in a line of short-lived chairmen, perhaps understandably, then quit, along with many of the board of directors.
But new leadership took over, and went to extraordinary lengths to protect the massive Liberace Museum Collection, literally moving it under ground, to the subterranean vaults of Thriller Villa. With the treasure out of reach, Foundation leadership fought a battle royale to keep it from being decimated. Ultimately the debt, overhead, usurious loans and swindling interlopers were eliminated. In the vaults it stayed for nearly a decade, where only supporters were invited to see just a sample of the cache. The press and the public often asked what happened to the millions of dollars of incredible personal belongings of Liberace.
Now they’ll see at last.
With the Collection safe, it grew by donation of additional artifacts from the few in the know. Meanwhile, a new “who’s who of Las Vegas” board of directors of the Foundation came together, to advance the legacy. Now, the Collection is larger than ever.
After a decade in hiding, debts paid, Lost Treasures of Liberace occupies a newly unveiled 5,000 square foot addition to Liberace Garage. It is the curation at last of the incredible lifestyle of opulence of one of the greatest collectors and showmen of all time. Inspired by King Ludwig II of Austria, Liberace surrounded himself with the influences of Kings Louis XIV, Louis XV, and George V. Czar Nicholas II and Queen Elizabeth II were also among those who captivated him. Like them, Liberace was a path breaking icon of influence, who came to define the style of an era and a place.
Liberace’s personal collections include china of John F. Kennedy, Crystal of Napoleon, art of Paderewski and Gloria Vanderbilt, jewelry from Barron Hilton and Bill Harrah. Mosher, Baccarat, Andrew Grima: The names of some of the greatest designers of all time astound, among pianos played by Chopin and Gershwin. His tapestries, his king’s ransom in furnishings – it’s all here, protected with the same defiant vigilance as when it was deep in hiding. Gone but not forgotten, some treasures literally lost – a few artifacts which disappeared before the move underground – will also be publicized, with rewards offered.
But it’s not just about the artifacts themselves. This is a study of how Liberace himself curated and exhibited them; how his stagecraft influenced his décor, and vice-versa. The exhibit explores at last the tremendous, unexpectedly subtle cultural influence of Liberace’s over-the-top, stagecraft-driven taste.
Featuring QR-coded audio, video and text details accessible on your own smart phone throughout, hidden rooms revealed rival the legendary treasure troves of the ages. Curated by Jonathan Warren, Liberace Foundation Chairman for the past decade, this experience occupies astounding space created by Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl, designer of Liberace Garage, Thriller Villa, and many other homes and collections, herself a student of Liberace’s design. Neither this curation, nor this collection of artifacts, has been seen in one location before.
Lost Treasures also showcases both the showmanship of Liberace – by the re-creation one of his final stages with never-before-exhibited artifacts including the twelve-foot tall, Radio City “FAB Egg,” juxtaposed against his personal treasures, behind the scenes.
These are not replicas. These are not projected images. This is the real thing, in the very city it inspired.
Beyond what most will expect. More spectacular than fiction. Unforgettable.
Opening December 30, 2021, at the newly expanded Liberace Garage in Las Vegas.
INCLUDED WITH THIS TICKET:
- Admission to the Hollywood Cars Museum, including famous cars from TV and Film
- Admission to Liberace Garage show car collection and rental fleet collection
- Admission to “Ultimate Influencer: Liberace and Pop Culture” at Liberace Garage
- Admission beyond the golden door to the Lost Treasures of Liberace, with some surprises
- No children under 12 please
- No smoking of any kind anywhere in the building
- No food or beverage in exhibit area
- No videography
- No flash photography
- No commercial use photography (unlighted photography for personal use ok)
- No unauthorized press photography
- No speakerphone usage in, or broadcasting from the exhibit
- Please keep voices and noise to a minimum
- ID may be required
- Face masks covering nose and mouth are required
- We reserve the right to remove anyone from the facility at any time