The gallery of 19th and 20th Century European and American ArtRussian: Galereya iskusstv stran Evropy i Ameriki ХIХ – ХХ vekov or Галерея искусств стран Европы и Америки ХIХ – ХХ веков, a subdivision of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine ArtsRussian: Muzey izobrazitelnykh iskusstv imeni A. S. Pushkina or Музей изобразительных искусств имени А. С. Пушкина, is located in a beautiful old building to its left. The Gallery boasts a rich collection of works of Western art from 1810 to the late 20th century, compiled from various private collections that were either nationalized in Soviet times or gifted to the museum. The collection of French Impressionist paintings is truly spectacular. The Gallery’s permanent exhibition displays some 400 paintings; another 600 exhibits are stored in the depot. Among the great painters whose works are on display are Pablo Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Henri Matisse, Francisco Goya, Auguste Rodin, Wassily Kandinsky and many more. Such an abundance of rare works by celebrated European and American artists is not often available in one place.
The history of the collection
The Gallery’s collection consists mostly of personal collections compiled by I. Morozov and S. Shchyukin. They were Russian merchants and patrons of the arts, among the first in Russia to show interest in French Impressionist painting at the turn of the 19th century. Both of them were well-versed in determining the value of artwork before purchasing them and they would often turned for advice to leading Russian paintings, such as S. Vinogradov, V. Serov and K. Korovin. Fascinated by the works of Les Nabis, a group of French avant-garde artists, I. Morozov compiled, in a short span of time, a splendid collection of paintings by Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard and other Nabis artists.
S. Shchyukin used his incredible intuition to identify pioneers of different art movements, took risks and never lost when purchasing paintings by little known fledgling artists. After paying tribute to the artistic talent of Edouard Manet and Paul Gauguin, Shchyukin introduced Russian people to the works of André Matisse, Pablo Picasso and other painters by purchasing their works as soon as they had been completed.
In 1928, the nationalized collections of Morosov and Shchyukin formed the basis of the Museum of New Western ArtRussian: Muzey novogo zapadnogo iskusstva or Музей нового западного искусства. In 1948, both these and other works by European and American painters were divided between the HermitageRussian: Эрмитаж in St. Petersburg and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow. Among the most considerable later additions to the Gallery’s collection are works by Russian émigré artists Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall and others.
In 2012, the left wing of the former estate of Princes Golitsynsone of the largest and most princely of the noble houses of Russia, originated in the Duchy of Lithuania adjoining the Pushkin Museum housed the constantly growing collection of works of Western art that had been created in the past two centuries. This three-storey building dating back to the mid-18th century underwent complete renovation before opening.
The Art Gallery of the European and American Countries of the XIX-XX centuries today
The highlight of the collections are paintings by French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, which attract crowds of art connoisseurs and amateurs to the Gallery. Among these masterpieces are Edouard Manet’s The Luncheon on the Grass, Claude Monet’s Boulevard des Capucines in Paris, Lilacs in the Sun, Water Lilies and seascapes, Auguste Renoir’s Portrait of Jeanne Samary, The Nude, Girls in Black, Swimming in the Seine, and other masterpieces.
Also on display are Camille Pissarro’s magnificent The Opera Avenue in Paris and Edgar Degas’ Blue Dancers, the best known of his ballet-inspired paintings. Among Vincent van Gogh’s paintings are Red Vineyard at Arles, Sea at Saintes Maries and Prisoners Exercising. Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s works on display at the Gallery include Woman at the Window, The Singer Yvette Guilbert and a lithograph, Divan Japonais. André Derain’s landscapes and Henri Rousseau’s paintings also leave a lasting impression on visitors.
Visitors tend to be particularly interested in other schools of painting, too. The French Salon is represented by Jean-Léon Gérôme, Eugène Isabey and Paul Delaroche. Among the French romantic painters whose works are on display at the Gallery are Eugène Delacroix and Jean Ingres; works by landscape painters, such as Camille Corot, Jules Dupré, Théodore Rousseau and Charles Daubigny, are also on display. Among the French Realist artists whose works are hung in the Gallery are Jean Courbet, Jean-Francois Millet and Honoré Daumier.
Another room is devoted to the early 19th-century German school of painting, with works by Caspar Friedrich and painters from the Nazarener group who romanticized their works with religious motifs reminiscent of 15th-century Italian painting. Francisco Goya’s masterpieces are among the highlights of the Gallery’s collection of Spanish art, and paintings by Rockwell Kent, among others, introduce visitors to North American artwork.
The Gallery also displays paintings representative of Italian, German and other schools of modern painting. It also contains sculptures by Auguste Rodin, Aristide Maillol, Alfred Barye, Emile Bourdelle, Osip Zadkine and Jean Arp. Their works blend in perfectly with the atmosphere of the gallery.
The Gallery of 19th and 20th Century European and American Art comprises 26 rooms, where exhibits are arranged by theme, country or name. In some rooms there are cozy sofas for those who want to spend some time contemplating the masterpieces on display. The museum’s cloakroom is convenient and the buffet offers a reasonably-priced and varied menu.© 2016-2022 moscovery.com