The largest Russian collection of impressionist art leaves Russia for the first time

The largest Russian collection of impressionist art leaves Russia for the first time
Image: Portrait of Ivan Morozov, by Valentin Serov

17 September 2021

One of the world’s most admired collections of impressionist and modern paintings is travelling outside Russia for the first time, to be displayed at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

Bought by the brothers Mikhail and Ivan Morozov at the beginning of the 20th century, the 200 works to go on show include paintings by French and Dutch masters such as Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Henri Matisse, Oscar-Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, François Auguste René Rodin, and Alfred Sisley. Visitors will also have the opportunity to see works by renowned Russian artists including Natalia Goncharova, Igor Larionov, Kazimir Malevich, Ilya Repin, and Mikhail Vrubel.

Considered one of the wealthiest merchant families in Moscow, the Morozovs had their collections nationalised by the Bolsheviks in 1918, following the Russian Revolution. The two brothers left Russia soon after and the collections were put on display at the new State Museum of Modern Western Art (GMNZI), opened in Ivan Morozov’s former Moscow mansion. In 1948, Stalin ordered the permanent closure of the State Museum of Modern Western Art, dismissing it as bourgeois. The collection was spread across the State Hermitage Museum, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, and the Tretyakov Gallery, where the works reside today.

Called Icons of Modern Art, the exhibition is a follow-up to the Shchukin Collection show at Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2016, which attracted 1.3 million visitors.

The collection will be available to see at the Fondation Louis Vuitton between 22 September 2021 and 22 February 2022.

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