Modern Art Icons by Louis Vutton Foundation
The impressive Shchukin Collection with geniuses of Impressionism and the avant-garde of the 20th century can be visited until February 20, 2017.
This exhibition, which is one of the highlights of the 2016-2017 Franco-Russian cultural tourism year, pays homage to one of the greatest art patrons of the early 20th century, Sergei Shchukin, a Russian visionary collector of modern art French and impeller in Russia of a series of great artists that arose by the influence of the French avant-garde movement.
The exhibition has received a generous contribution from the Hermitage Museum and the Pushkin Museum and the participation of both in the elaboration of the project, presents a significant set of 160 masterpieces by Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern artists of the Shchukin Collection, with special Emphasis on the art of Monet, Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse and Picasso, Renoir and Van Gogh among other great artists.
A splendid collection of art.
There were several art collectors in the Shchukin family. Sergei’s brother, Piotr Shchukin, built an important collection of ancient Russian art and artifacts and owned several Impressionist masterpieces, while his brother Dimitri Shchukin assembled «Moscow’s finest collection of Ancient Masters» who eventually entered the Pushkin Museum. Another brother, Ivan, also collected art.
Shchukin made his first art purchases after a trip to Paris in 1897, when he bought his first Monet. He later bought numerous works from a total of 258 paintings that adorned the walls of his palace in Moscow.
In 1914, Shchukin owned thirteen Monets, including the iconic «Lady in the Garden» and a smaller but complete version of «Picnic», three Renoir, eight Cézanne, including the famous «Carnival» (Mardi Gras), four Van Gogh, Sixteenth Gauguin of the Tahitian period of the painter, etc. Shchukin was particularly notable for his long association with Matisse, who decorated his mansion and created one of his iconic paintings, La Danse, especially for Shchukin. La Danse is commonly recognized as «a key point in the career of Matisse and in the development of modern painting.»
The collection also featured fifty works by Pablo Picasso, including most of his earliest Cubist works, such as Three Women as well as important landscapes, but also some key pieces from the Blue and Pink periods. In 1909, Shchukin opened his home on Sundays for public hearings, introducing French avant-garde painting to the leading Russian artists of the moment.
After the revolution.
After the Revolution of 1917, the government appropriated its collection (decree of the Council of the People’s Commissioners, signed Lenin, November 8, 1918), while Shchukin escaped to Paris, where he died in 1936. His mansion in Moscow Became the State Museum of New Western Art, being section II the mansion and the collection of the other famous Russian pattern Ivan Morozov. Eventually (1928), the two sections were combined In 1948 the State Museum of New Western Art was closed by a decree signed by Stalin due to its allegedly bourgeois, cosmopolitan and ill-oriented works of art. The two collections were randomly divided between the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the State Museum of the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.
The revolutionary collector who changed the course of Russian art.
Thanks to Shchukin’s extraordinary ability to select only representative masterpieces, Russian artists such as Mikhail Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, Vladimir Tatlin and countless great female artists such as Goncharova, Exter, Rozanova, or Liubov Popova, to whom we are fortunate able to contemplate in the Thyssen Museum of Madrid.
These great contemporary revolutionary painters were able to acquire an immediate knowledge of the latest and important events of modern art without even having to go to Paris. Shchukin owned 38 of Matisse’s most outstanding works, as well as 50 paintings by Picasso (at that time the most important collection of the genius of Malaga).
An exhibition that can not be missed.
The exhibition ‘Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection’, curated by Anne Baldassari, and the inauguration at the Louis Vuitton Paris Foundation this autumn (October 22-February 20, 2017), will play several important roles. First, it will be possible to distinguish the Shchukin collection from that of Morozov, with which he has so far been inextricably linked, and thus fully appreciate the brilliance and coherence of his artistic judgment. Morozov also bought important paintings, but always slightly in the shadow of Shchukin.
Unlike Shchukin he relied on a team of advisors, and never opened his collection to the public. The juxtaposition of paintings from the Shchukin collection with works selected by the pre-revolutionary Russian avant-garde emphasizes the remarkable role played by this modest and austere man in the modern movement, promoting the work of some of his greatest exponents.