Gallery of 19th and 20th Century European and American Art (Russian: Галерея искусств стран Европы и Америки ХIХ – ХХ веков), a subdivision of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts (Russian: Музей изобразительных искусств имени А. С. Пушкина), is located in an old, beautiful 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 had been nationalized in Soviet times or presented to the museum as a gift. Of special importance is the collection of French Impressionist paintings. The Gallery’s permanent exhibition displays some 400 paintings and another 600 exhibits are stored in the depot. Among great painters whose works are on view 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 could be an honour to many art galleries in the West.
History of the collection
The Gallery’s collection consists mostly of personal collections compiled by I. Morozov and S. Shchyukin, Russian merchants and patrons of art, who were 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 this or that work of art before purchasing it 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 built, 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 Edgar Manet and Paul Gauguin, Shchyukin introduced the Russians to the artistic work of André Matisse, Pablo Picasso and other painters by purchasing their works as soon as they had been completed.
In 1928, under the Soviet rule, the nationalized collections of Morosov and Shchyukin formed the basis of the Museum of New Western Art (Russian: Музей нового западного искусства). In 1948, these and other works by European and American painters were divided between the Hermitage 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 Golitsyn 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 had undergone complete reconstruction before the grand opening.
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 Seine, and other masterpieces.
On view 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 show close interest in other schools of painting too. The French Salon is represented by Jean-Léon Gérôme, Eugène Isabey and Paul Delaroche. Among French romantic painters whose works are 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 view here. Among French Realist artists presented 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 painting.
Besides, the Gallery displays paintings representative of Italian, German and other schools of Modern painting. Besides, it presents 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, in which 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 comfortable to use and the buffet offers a reasonably-priced varied menu.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com