French painting of the second half of the nineteenth and of the twentieth century
The gallery of modern French painting in the Pushkin Museum has earned a high reputation. Only the largest museums in the world—the Louvre and the Musee National d'Art Mo-derne (Paris), the Tate Gallery (London), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) and the Art Institute of Chicago—can vie with the Moscow Museum in quality, diversity and scope of their French collections.
The exposition illustrates all the artistic schools and trends developing in French painting during this period: from Impressionism and Post-Impressionism to Symbolism, Fauvism, Cubism and, lastly, Neo-Realism which originated after the Second World War.
The gallery owes its present scope to several generations of collectors, art scholars, museum experts and artists. At the turn of the century art collectors played the main role. After the October Revolution, which attached national importance to museum work, among the gallery's most active builders were many intellectuals: museum experts, art historians and artists.
No one writing about the history of the collection fails to note the extraordinary importance of its founders—Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov. Much has been written about their activities, but there are still important documents in state and museum archives as well as reminiscences and opinions of contemporaries that are known only to few people. Some of them will be mentioned in the present edition and this, we hope, will help to elucidate some facts and even refute certain erroneous views that are current now. (18 It particularly concerns the history of S. Shchukin's collection.)
Originally the Museum exposition of modern French painting was based on two famous private collections which in the early 1900s were built up by Moscow art connoisseurs Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov. It also included pictures from the well-known collections of Mikhail Morozov (Ivan Morozov's elder brother) and Ilya Ostroukhov. Like the Tretyakov brothers, these four enthusiasts represented a new type of art collector that took shape in the Moscow artistic milieu during the last decades of the nineteenth century.
In the early 1860s Pavel Tretyakov put forward the idea of establishing a Moscow gallery of Russian and Western European painters. ( А. Боткина, Павел Михайлович Третьяков в жизни и в искусстве, Moscow, 1951, р. 52.) He himself concentrated on a collection of Russian masters, except for a few occasional foreign purchases in the first years. However, his example could not but influence the younger generation of Moscow collectors who were greatly impressed by the success of his gallery and by its bequeathal to the city of Moscow in 1892. His activities were an inspiration to his brother Sergei Tretyakov, a collector of Western European paintings. The catalogue of the Municipal Gallery of Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov, drawn up in 1894 under the heading Foreign Paintings and Drawings Collected by S. M. Tretyakov, listed eighty-four items. Among them were canvases by Dagnan-Bouveret, Bonnat, Vollon, Bastien-Lepage, Breton, Cabanel—works which are now in the possession of the Museum.
From the mid-nineteenth century Moscow came to the fore as a center of art collecting in Russia. It was here that the first serious attempts were made to start systematic purchases of contemporary foreign paintings. In 1920, comparing the activities of St Petersburg and Moscow collectors, A. Sidorov, an art historian and himself a collector of drawings, wrote that in St Petersburg "good things were collected, but only those which were generally accepted." On the other hand, "Moscow from the very start concerned itself with the young revolutionary art, which was not yet understood or appreciated." (Творчество, Moscow, 1920, 7-10, р. 33.)
The Morozov brothers, Shchukin and Ostroukhov followed in the footsteps of the Tretyak-ovs. They all had wide connections in the artistic circles of Russia and Western Europe, particularly France. Some of them were also active as painters, either professional (Ostroukhov) or amateur (the Morozov brothers).
Buying productions of the Impressionists, Van Gogh, Cezanne, Gauguin, Picasso and Matisse long before they began to gain recognition either in Russia or France, the Morozov brothers and Shchukin displayed good judgment and foresight.
The first Russian collector of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings was Mikhail Morozov (1870—1903). (M. Morozov was always in touch with the Russian painters V. Serov, K. Korovin, M. Vrubel, A. Vasnetsov, I. Ostroukhov, V. Surikov, V. Perepliotchikov. He often bought their pictures. Among the actors, musicians and singers who visited his house were F. Shaliapin and M. Sadovsky. A frequent guest there was I. Morozov whose views on art collecting were shaped under the influence of his brother.) In the early 1890s, though a very young man, he was already a well-known art connoisseur.
Starting from 1891, almost every year Morozov visited Paris. (Воспоминания М. К. Морозовой (урожденной Мамонтовой}, part 2: 1891-1903, ЦГАЛИ, ф. 1956, on. 2, ед. хр. 7, л. 96, 101, 102, 108, 111, 125, 142, 156, 162, 163.) His first trips to France resulted in buying Manet's The Bar and Van Gogh's Seascape at Saintes-Maries. These were the cornerstones in his collection of late nineteenth-century French painting which was to become very popular with the Russian public.
Morozov must have had an exceptional artistic flair and courage to buy a sketchy work of Manet, when in the artist's own country bitter disputes had hardly died down over the acceptance of his famous Olympia by the Louvre (1890). Until now The Bar remains the great master's best work in the museums of the Soviet Union. It gives a good idea of Manet's chief merit — his amazing ability to convey the immediacy of the first optical impression. In the mid-1890s, Mikhail Morozov witnessed another dispute going on in Paris: whether the Musee de Luxembourg should accept a collection of Impressionist paintings which in 1894 was bequeathed to it by Gustave Caillebotte.
Morozov's career was cut short by his early death. (In an obituary published by the newspaper Moskovskiye No-vosti (1903, No 281) were the following lines: "We should also pay tribute to the work done by the late M. Morozov on the Committee for the construction of the Emperor Alexander III Museum of Fine Arts attached to the Moscow University.") In 1910, his widow (evidently in pursuance of his will) donated a considerable part of his collection to the Tretyakov Gallery. Besides Russian paintings, the Gallery received works by Manet, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec. In 1925, they were transferred to the Pushkin Museum.
Many French paintings (for the most part works of Impressionists and Post-Impressionists) came to the Museum from the collection of Ivan Morozov (1871—1921). (His collection was housed in his Moscow mansion (21, Pre-chistenka St.).) His first considerable acquisitions of French paintings were made in 1902—3 (prior to that he had concentrated on works of the Russian school). Like his brother, Ivan Morozov was a man of considerable culture. One of his tutors in landscape painting was the artist Konstantin Korovin. (Б. Терновец, "Собиратели и антиквары", Среди коллекционеров, 1921, 10.) In 1900, Ivan Morozov left Tver and settled in Moscow, where he soon made friends with painters and actors whom he met in the house of his brother. From that time on Morozov was in contact with many Russian artists and was known in the artistic circles of France.
Morozov had a predilection for Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting. One of the first pictures that attracted his attention was Sisley's landscape Frosty Morning in Louve-ciennes. He bought it from Durand-Ruel in 1903. His favorite artists were Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sisley. Somewhat later he became attracted to the works of Van Gogh, Cezanne, Signac, Valtat, Bonnard. The year 1907 was the beginning of the most active period in his career as an art collector. In that year Durand-Ruel sold him Monet's Boulevard des Capucines, and at Vollard's he bought a number of pictures including two Cezannes — Peaches and Pears and Field by Mount Sainte-Victoire, Derain's Drying Sails (Sail Boats], Vlaminck's Boats on the Seine, six canvases by Valtat, etc. In 1908, his purchases at Vollard's included Renoir's Bai-gnade dans la Seine. Bonnard's Mirror in the Dressing-room was bought from Bernheim Jeune. Finally, the year 1908 brought Morozov his first Picasso— The Strolling Gymnasts, which was also acquired at Vollard's. It may be noted that three years later Morozov wrote to Vollard, asking about the artist's first name. "The answer to your question about Picasso's first name has only been received today: it is Pablo..." ("Je recois aujourd'hui seulement le renseignement que vous m'avez demande pour le prenom de Picasso lequel est Pablo. . ." (Архив ГМИИ, on. H/II, л. 18).) answered Vollard to Morozov on June 1911.
Among the acquisitions of 1909 were three canvases by Van Gogh which were bought at the Paris gallery of Druet. Two of them— The Red Vineyard and The Prison Courtyard— belong to the master's best works. According to Boris Ternovetz, when selecting these pictures in Paris Morozov sought advice from the artist Valentin Serov. (Б. Терновец, Каталог собрания И. А. Морозова, Архив ГМИИ. According to his widow, N. Yavorskaya, В. Ternovetz learned about this directly from I. Morozov.) Besides Serov, he often consulted Konstantin Korovin, Sergei Vinogradov, Fiodor Botkin, Matisse. Thus, in one of his letters Matisse called his attention to a large canvas by Gauguin which he had seen at an art dealer's in Faubourg-Saint-Honore. ( Архив ГМИИ, ф. 13, д. 40.)
The final decision, however, was always made by Morozov himself. He would choose his pictures unhurriedly, with deliberation. Sergei Makovsky, the author of the first publication devoted to Morozov's collection (1912), thus described his visits to the gallery: "I remember, on one of my first visits, being surprised to notice a void on the wall which was hung with works by Cezanne. Answering my question, Morozov explained: 'The place is reserved for a blue Cezanne (i. e., for a landscape of the artist's late period). I have been considering a purchase for a long time, but cannot make my choice.' For over a year the place remained vacant, and only recently a new magnificent Blue Landscape, chosen from dozens of others, has been enthroned next to the other select creations." (С. Маковский, "Французские художники в собрании И. А. Морозова", Аполлон, St Petersburg, 1912, 2, p. 5.)
In Paris Morozov had an agent whom he occasionally entrusted with purchases and the dispatch of the acquired objects of art to Russia. Morozov kept up correspondence with collectors and art dealers—Durand-Ruel, Bernheim Jeune, Vollard, Druet. ( 30 Durand-Ruel's letter to Morozov of October 24, 1907 can give some idea of what were the duties of Morozov's agent in Paris, M. Tarchevsky, and also of his estimation of the pictures he dealt with: "Pursuant to the instructions in your letter, today I have sent Monet's picture, View of London, to your representative M. Tarchevsky, 46, Rue de la Petite Ecurie. To my regret, I couldn't deliver simultaneously the other work of this master, Le Boulevard des Capucines, as it has not yet arrived. You know that it was sent to the Mannheim exhibition which will last until the 20th. I hope we shall receive it without delay. Then we shall send it directly to your representative.
P.S. Your representative did not wish to take upon himself the picture we have sent him, saying that, being unable to dispatch both pictures at once, he would not like to keep a picture of such value." (Архив ГМИИ, Н/5, л. 28.)) He also corresponded with many French artists, including Matisse. When staying in Paris he visited the Salon d'Au-tomne, the Salon des Independants, private galleries and studios. (31 I. Morozov was an honorary member of the Salon d'Automne Society, on a par with such prominent figures of French culture as Anatole France, Claude Debussy and the well-known Paris collectors Cheramy and J. de Camondo.
The library of the Pushkin Museum houses catalogues from the Salons d'Automne and the Salons des Independents of 1903-13 with notes made by I. Morozov. From short pencil notes in the Salons d'Automne catalogues of 1909-10 we can learn what artists interested him at the time. These were Ch. Guerin, La-coste, Valtat, Bonnard, Van Dongen, Le Fauconnier, Metzinger.)
In 1920, Felix Feneon, a French art critic and author, described Morozov's method of choosing pictures in the following lines: "No sooner had he got off the train than he found himself in an art shop, seated in one of those deep and low armchairs in which a customer would sit, having no wish to rise, looking at the parade of pictures which followed one another in succession, like stills in a film. In the evening Mr Morozov, a spectator capable of great concentration, was too tired even to think of going to the theater. After a few days spent in this way he would leave for Moscow, without having seen anything but pictures and carrying with him several canvases selected during that time." (32 ". . .Et a peine hors du train, il s'installait dans les fauteuils des boutiques d'art, lesquels sont bas et profonds afin que 1'ama-teur renonce a se relever cependant que passent devant lui des toiles dont la succession s'enchaine comme les episodes d'un film. Le soir, M. Morosoff, regardeur singulierement attentif, etait trop fatigue pour aller meme au theatre. Apres des jours de ce regime, il repartait pour Moscou n'ayant vu que des tableaux; il en emportait quelques-uns, pieces de choix." (Bulletin de la vie artistique, May 15, 1920.) Cited after the book: F. Fe-neon, Au-dela de I'Impressionnisme (presentation par Francoise Cachin), Paris, 1966, p. 152.)
As a collector known in the French artistic circles Morozov often received invitations from art dealers and painters to visit their galleries or studios. (Examples of these are a letter from Druet (Архив ГМИИ, H/II, л. 4, letter of April 4, 1910) and a letter from J. Manouri, the owner of a private gallery in Paris (Архив ГМИИ, H/II, л. 14, letter of 1911).) Some of them came from Matisse. "Can I hope," he wrote in 1913, "that during your next visit to Paris you will come to see me? I have two Moroccan pictures that could be of interest to you, but I prefer not to send you their photographs." ("Puis-je esperer, a votre prochain voyage a Paris, avoir votre visite; deux importants tableaux du Maroc que j'ai chez moi pourraient vous interesser; je prefere ne pas vous en envoyer la photographic." (Архив ГМИИ, ф. 13, д. 40.))
Morozov was also in correspondence with Vuillard, Bonnard, Denis, and sometimes commissioned works from them, as well as from Maillol. (In 1908-9, upon Morozov's order, Denis painted eleven panels, The Story of Psyche. They were intended for the concert hall in Morozov's mansion. Now these works belong to the Leningrad Hermitage.
In 1910-12, Maillol produced four bronze figures for the grand hall of the same mansion: Pomona (1910), Flora (1911), Female Figure (1912) and Woman with Flowers (1912). All are now at the Pushkin Museum.
In 1911, Bonnard painted a triptych, The Mediterranean, which had been commissioned by Morozov for the main staircase of his mansion. Now the work is at the Leningrad Hermitage. Large decorative panels, Early Spring in the Country and Autumn (Fruit Picking) (Spring and Autumn, 1912), also executed by Bonnard on Morozov's commission, are now at the Museum.) During a comparatively short period (1903—13) Morozov was able to build up an excellent collection of French art consisting of more than 140 paintings and a considerable number of drawings and sculptures. His last important acquisitions were made in 1913.
Among the pictures that subsequently came to the Museum from Morozov's collection are such excellent works as Boulevard des Capucines by Monet, Baignade dans la Seine by Renoir, The Garden of Hoschede by Sisley, Peaches and Pears, Field by Mount Sainte-Victoire, The Banks of the Marne by Cezanne, Bathers — a highly expressive little study by the same master.
Thanks to Ivan Morozov, the Museum owns a very good selection of Van Goghs. The master's three pictures — The Prison Courtyard, The Red Vineyard and Landscape with Carriage and Train — vividly characterize his art in general and show different stages of its development.
For his collection Morozov acquired Gauguin's still life Parrots, remarkable for exquisite color harmonies. He also bought a charming little study by Signac — Spring in Provence. His gallery included characteristic works by Marquet, Derain, Vlaminck. The monumental genre was represented by Bonnard's large decorative panels, Early Spring in the Country and Autumn (Fruit Picking).
Along with other pictures by Matisse, Ivan Morozov acquired a youthful work of 1896— the still life The Bottle of Schiedam. It is an indication of his desire to show the master's art in its evolution (the same principle was adopted in selecting canvases by Cezanne). All the works of Matisse that were acquired for his collection were of very high artistic quality. The most notable among them were the still life Fruit and Bronzes and the Moroccan Triptych.
Morozov bought only three of Picasso's early works: The Strolling Gymnasts, Young Girl on a Ball and Portrait of Ambroise Vollard (all are now in the Museum collection). In our days the importance of these pictures in Picasso's early period is quite obvious.
Very many paintings came to this section of the Museum from the collection of Sergei Shchukin (1854—1936). As a collector of French painting Shchukin followed the example of Ivan Morozov. Among his first acquisitions, which were made in the late 1890s, there were canvases by Cottet and Simon. In 1897, Fiodor Botkin, who had lived in Paris for many years, called his attention to works by Monet which were displayed in the gallery of Durand-Ruel. At that time Shchukin bought Lilac in the Sun. This early piece was followed by many canvases of the artist's mature period. Some of these excellent pictures are now in the Museum: Luncheon on the Grass, The Rocks at Etretat and The Rocks at Belle-He — two of Monet's most successful seascapes, two views of the Rouen Cathedral (Rouen Cathedral at Noon and Rouen Cathedral in the Evening), Water Lilies, Vetheuil and Sea Gulls. The Thames in London. The Houses of Parliament.
Shchukin's collection illustrated every stage in Monet's artistic evolution. Likewise, characteristic works represented the art of other Impressionists and their followers. Suffice it to mention Pissarro's Avenue de I'Opera, Renoir's Nude, or Degas's Dancers in Blue.
The gallery contained several pictures by Cezanne, the most notable being Landscape at Aix (Mount Sainte-Victoire)—one of the artist's late achievements, and the genre composition Mardi Gras (Pierrot and Harlequin)— a very rare and valuable example of this kind of painting in his work. At the early stages of his career Shchukin built up a large collection of Gau-guins, its gems being Her Name Is Vairaumati and Are You Jealous?
Shchukin's gallery had a high reputation in the artistic circles and was known to the Moscow public. Its first systematic description was published in 1908 by P. Muratov. In a letter to his friend Alexander Turygin (1911) Mikhail Nesterov wrote that Sergei Shchukin was buying "French decadents — Puvis, Monet, Manet, Degas, Marquet, Denis, Cezanne, Matisse, Sisley and Pissarro," and further on, "Shchukin also has the best Gauguins, which are worth several hundred thousand francs (the last picture was bought for 100,000 francs)." (M. Нестеров, Из писем, Leningrad, 1968, p. 197.) Shchukin showed a particularly fervent interest in Matisse and Picasso. Their numerous and excellent works formed the bulk of his collection. Matisse was represented by thirty-seven canvases, Picasso by more than fifty, all of the highest quality. Tugendhold wrote: "I have seen many of his (Matisse's — E. G.) exhibitions in Paris and have been to his own studio, but it is only after my visit to Shchukin's house that I can say that I really know Matisse." (Я. Тугендхольд, "Французское собрание С. И. Щукина", Аполлон, 1914, 1-2, с. 23.) The fairness of this appraisement was vividly confirmed in 1969 by an exhibition of the artist's works which was held in Moscow and Leningrad to mark the centenary of his birth.
At the time when Matisse had not yet painted his panels for the Barnes Foundation at Merion (USA), Shchukin's gallery was the only place where one could see the best specimens of the artist's monumental and decorative work. (38) It also contained such masterpieces as Bois de Boulogne, the still life Statuette and Vase on an Oriental Carpet, Still Life with Goldfish, Spanish Woman with a Tambourine and The Large Studio. Matisse maintained friendly relations with Shchukin and Morozov. In 1911, on Shchukin's invitation, Matisse visited Moscow and St Petersburg. ( Documents confirming Matisse's visit to St Petersburg were published by Y'u. Rusakov (Ю. А. Русаков, Матисс в России осенью 1911 года, in: Труды Государственного Эрмитажа, vol. 14, Leningrad, 1973, pp. 167-184).)
Shchukin's vast collection of Picassos consisted mainly of Cubist paintings, but there were also some very good early works. At present a greater part of this collection belongs to the Hermitage, Leningrad. Among the paintings that came to the Pushkin Museum are Spanish Woman from Mallorca, Portrait of the Poet Sabartes, The Rendezvous, Old Beggar and a Boy, as well as the Cubist works, A Hut in the Garden and Queen Isabeau. Most of the Picassos acquired by Shchukin were important and characteristic paintings.
Besides the works of Matisse and Picasso, French painting from 1900 to 1914 was represented in Shchukin's gallery by numerous pictures of other contemporary masters. Thus it included seven canvases by Henri Rousseau, nine works of Marquet, sixteen pictures by Derain, paintings by Rouault, Denis and Signac.
In Sergei Shchukin's family all six brothers were engaged in collecting objects of art. Judging from his correspondence with his brother Piotr (1853—1912), the latter owned a considerable collection of French Impressionists. (Piotr Shchukin also kept his collection in Moscow.) Piotr Shchukin intended to sell a part of his collection and asked Sergei to negotiate the sale with Paris art dealers. In a letter of May 6/19, 1912, Sergei wrote to him from Italy: "I shall be in Paris in the early days of July and shall speak to Durand-Ruel, the Bernsteins (evidently the Bernheims — E. G.), Druet and others about your pictures. On the other hand, it will be regrettable if such good works are sold out of Russia. I, for my part, will be glad to buy some 8 or 10 of your pictures." And further: "I shall give you a good price and am prepared to take your Degas, Renoir, two Monets, Sisley, Pissarro, M.Denis, Cottet, Forain and Raf faelli." (41 ГИМ ОПИ, ф. 265, ед. хр. 213, л. 62, 63.)
The discovery of these documents in the archives added to our knowledge of Piotr Shchukin's role as a contributor to the Museum's French collection. Prior to that the history of its formation was associated mostly with the name of Sergei Shchukin. It is to Piotr Shchukin that the Museum owes its best Renoir — Nude. The purchase of this canvas, at Piotr's request, was negotiated by his brother Ivan Shchukin with Durand-Ruel in October 1898. (Here is what Ivan Shchukin wrote to his brother Piotr from Paris on October 3, 1898: "In accordance with your desire, I called on Durand-Ruel to ask about the price of Renoir's Nude (at the exhibition the picture was hanging close to the entrance, on the left side). At first Durand-Ruel declared that this work- one of Renoir's best, and this is quite true - was part of his private collection in the Rue de Rome. But since he had named the price, he agreed to sell it. The price is 15,000 francs. He wouldn't accept less than that." (ГИМ ОПИ, ф. 265, ед. хр. 208, л. 37 и об.)) In the early 1910s Piotr Shchukin sold his collection, and its best Impressionist paintings entered the gallery of Sergei Shchukin. In those years Sergei Shchukin's gallery was known to many people abroad. Art connoisseurs, artists, museum experts, art historians came to Moscow from different countries in order to see that extraordinary collection. (43 Here are some lines from S. Shchukin's letter to Matisse of October 10, 1913: "It is two weeks since my return to Moscow and during that time I've had the pleasure of a visit from Mr. Osthaus, founder of the museum of Hagen, and again the visit of many museum directors (Dr. Peter Tessen of Berlin, Dr. H. von Trenkmold of Frankfort, Dr. Hampe of Nuremberg, Dr. Polaczek of Strassburg, Dr. Sauerman of Flensburg, Dr. Stet-tiner of Hamburg, Dr. Back of Darmstadt, Max Sauerlandt of Halle, and Jens Thiis of Christiania). All these gentlemen looked at your pictures with the greatest attention and everybody called you a great master ('ein grosser Meister'). Mr. Osthaus has come here twice (once for luncheon, once for dinner). I observed that your pictures made a deep impression on him. . . Jens Thiis, director of the museum of fine arts in Christiania (in Norway), spent two days in my house studying principally your pictures (the second day he stayed from ten o'clock in the morning until six in the evening). . .
"Mr. Morosov is ravished by your Moroccan pictures. I've seen them and I understand his admiration. All three are magnificent. Now he is thinking of ordering from you three big panels for one of his living rooms. He is returning to Paris the 20th of October and will speak to you about it." (A. Barr, Matisse. His Art and His Public, New York, 1951, p. 147.))
P. Muratov, the author of the first publication devoted to Sergei Shchukin's gallery, wrote: "According to the expressed will of its collector and owner, Sergei Shchukin, it will be donated to the Municipal Tretyakov Gallery, where it will add to and extend Sergei Tretyakov's collection of European painting." (П. Муратов, Щукинская галерея, Moscow, 1908, p. 117.) Three years later, in 1911, it was confirmed by Mikhail Nesterov: "Both collections of the Shchukin brothers are intended as a gift to the city of Moscow!" (M. Нестеров, op. cit., p. 197.) Their intention to offer the collections as a gift to Moscow was evidently inspired by the example of the Tretyakov brothers. Sergei Shchukin's letter to his brother Piotr, sent on May 6/19, 1912, from Italy, also indicates that they had such plans: "You know that I have left my collections to the city." (ГИМ ОПИ, ф. 265, ед. хр. 213, л. 62-63.)
The author of the book Mercantile Moscow, P. Buryshkin, who in the 1920s met Sergei Shchukin in emigration, cites Shchukin's words concerning the fate of his collection: "I did not collect so much for my personal benefit as for the benefit of my country and its people; whatever happens in our land, my collections should remain there." (Cited after the book: Валентин Серов в воспоминаниях, дневниках и переписке современников, vol. I, Leningrad, 1971, p. 377.) Alexander Benois wrote about him: "His activities as an art collector were not a whim but an exploit..." (Ibid.)
One of the collectors of French paintings of the 1850s to 1890s was Ilya Ostroukhov (1858— 1929). A landscape painter, the author of the popular picture Siverko (The North Wind), he participated in the work of the Society for Circulating Art Exhibitions and was closely connected with the Tretyakov Gallery, where he served on the Board of Trustees. Like the Tre-tyakov brothers, he was an enthusiastic collector of art and began buying paintings in the 1880s.
The pride of his collection were old Russian icons. There were also about forty foreign paintings — a comparatively modest part, but also characterized by high quality of works. To Ostroukhov the Museum owes the privilege of having in its exposition Manet's Portrait of Anto-nin Proust.
The five leading Moscow collectors of modern French painting — Sergei Tretyakov, Mikhail and Ivan Morozov, Sergei Shchukin and Ilya Ostroukhov — were in contact with one another, exchanging pictures and taking interest in each other's collections. Thus, after the death of Mikhail Morozov, Ostroukhov, as some documents in his archives indicate, made an inventory and evaluation of his collection. ( 49 И. С. Остроухое, ЦГАЛИ, ф. 622, on. 1, ед. хр. 45, л. 132. Unfortunately, his manuscript was not dated. It is likely that the work was done at the time when M. Morozov's widow decided to donate the collection to the Tretyakov Gallery. An indication of this can be found in a letter of February 28, 1910, which was sent by Valentin Serov, a friend of Morozov's, to Ilya Ostroukhov: "Four or five days ago Margarita Kirillovna (Mrs Morozov) invited me to call on her and formally declared that she was giving the collection of Mikhail Abramovich (Morozov) to the Gallery, except for a few pieces which she wanted to keep for the time being; she asked me to call a meeting of the Board at her house, at an earliest possible date, about 4 p.m." (В. А. Серов, Переписка, Leningrad - Moscow, 1937, p. 251). Thus the collection of M. Morozov was added in 1910 to the Tretyakov Gallery.) Sergei Shchukin is known to have maintained friendly relations with Mikhail Morozov's family. (S. Shchukin and his wife are known to have visited Moro-zov's family in Switzerland, in 1904, a year after his death (Воспоминания М. К. Морозовой, part 3, ЦГАЛИ, ф. 1956, on. 2, ед. xp. 46, л. 2).) In the early 1900s interest in art collecting brought together Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov. (Б. Терновец, "Собиратели и антиквары", Среди коллекционеров, 1921, 10 р. 41.)
By 1914, the Moscow collections of the Morozov brothers, Sergei Shchukin and Ilya Ostroukhov became the main depositories of modern French painting in Russia. Their importance will be understood better if we take into consideration some general factors which in those years characterized the artistic life of France and Russia.
By the early twentieth century only some of the Impressionists had been partially recognized in their own country and were represented at the Musee de Luxembourg and the private collections of J. de Camondo, J.-B. Faure, Paul Durand-Ruel, Georges Petit, etc. It was only in 1900 that Ambroise Vollard, following the advice of Degas and Pissarro, began to buy pictures by Cezanne and Renoir. (F. Pels, L'Art vivant. De 1900 a nos jours, Geneva, 1950, p. 94.)
The favorites of the official art critics were Carolus-Duran, Bonnat, Blanche. Their canvases were given the pride of place at exhibitions. The Salon d'Automne, which was established in 1903, admitted works by Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat, Gauguin, Cezanne. In 1901 — 7 it mounted several retrospective exhibitions of these masters. However, its first shows passed almost unnoticed either in public or official criticism.
Works by Matisse and Picasso appeared at official exhibitions, but they were hardly noticed in the flow of ordinary artistic production. At that time they were collected by very few people: Marcel Sembat bought pictures by Matisse; the Steins in the United States, works by Picasso. The only event that attracted attention of the public and critics was a scandal caused in the artistic circles by a group of Fauvists who appeared in the Salon d'Automne of 1905. The first serious article about Matisse was published by Apollinaire in 1907. (Guillaume Apollinaire. Chroniques d'Art (J902-1918).1e-a-tes reunis, avec preface et notes, par L.-C. Breunig, Paris, 1960, pp. 40-41.) The next year the artist himself expounded his views in the article An Artist's Notes (Notes d'un peintre). ( 54 An Artist's Notes were published in the journal Grande Revue of December 25, 1908. The Russian translation appeared in the journal Zolotoye Runo (The Golden Fleece), 1909, 6. )
Those collectors abroad who bought examples of the new, unrecognized art usually focused their interest on a certain tendency, or on one or two masters. None of them acquired these works so boldly or on such a scale as did Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov.
The views and tastes of Shchukin and Morozov were strongly influenced by the Russian artistic milieu in which they moved in the 1890s and 1900s. That period was marked by a general democratization of culture, by the rise of new artistic tendencies and, as a result of this, the organization of numerous exhibitions. The new artistic group, The World of Art, held its first exhibition in 1898—99. Exhibitions of Russian and Western European, mostly French, art were regularly shown in Moscow and St Petersburg. (Г. Ю. Стернин, Художественная жизнь России на рубеже XIX-XX веков, Moscow, 1970, pp. 98-99.) French art was a constant subject of discussion among critics and artists. Their attitudes towards the same facts and masters often changed considerably from year to year. (Thus, Igor Grabar admitted that in 1890 he had not yet heard about Impressionism, while in the mid-1890s Russian critics discussed the role of Monet and Sisley in the development of European painting (Г. Ю. Стернин, op. cit., pp. 92, 95). Sternin also points out that the attitude to the art of Puvis de Cha-vannes underwent an interesting evolution: it was unfavorably looked upon by V. Stasov and I. Repin, but M. Nesterov and V. Borisov-Musatov were fascinated by it, and A. Lunacharsky appreciated it very highly (ibid., pp. 100-101).) The role of the leading collectors and their galleries in the current artistic life was very active. Besides foreign art, they took an interest in contemporary Russian painting. Thus, Ivan Morozov owned many canvases by Mikhail Vrubel, Konstantin Korovin, Piotr Konchalovsky, Ilya Mashkov, Marc Chagall, Mikhail Larionov.
Pictures from the Tretyakov, Morozov and Shchukin galleries appeared at different exhibitions in Moscow and St Petersburg. French paintings from the collection of Sergei Tretyakov, for example, were shown at the French industrial fair held in Moscow, May 1891, and at the display of pictures from Moscow private collections, mounted in 1892.
In 1899, canvases from Sergei Shchukin's collection were shown at the Petersburg international exhibition of painting which was sponsored by The World of Art journal. Pictures from Moscow private collections were on display in 1908, at an exposition mounted in the Salon of the Zolotoye Ru.no (The Golden Fleece) magazine.
After the October Revolution national artistic heritage became the property of the people. In Soviet legislation there is a special law providing for preservation of cultural monuments. Under the new Constitution of the Soviet Union, the protection of artistic wealth is a duty of every citizen. A scientific approach to revealing, conserving and distributing artistic works ensured an effective and uniform handling of the former private collections, which were nationalized soon after the establishment of the Soviet State.
Sergei Shchukin's gallery was nationalized by a Decree of the Council of People's Commissars of October 29, 1918. This document, signed by Lenin, described the gallery as "a remarkable collection of European, predominantly French, masters of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries." (Известия, 1918, No 242.) The galleries of Morozov and Ostroukhov were proclaimed national property by a Decree of December 19, 1918. Soon after the nationalization Shchukin's gallery, now called the First Museum of Modern Western Painting, was opened in the house that had formerly belonged to Shchukin (8, Znamensky Lane).
The Second Museum of Modern Western Painting, based on Ivan Morozov's collection, was opened on May 1, 1919. The museum was housed in Morozov's mansion (21, Prechistenka Street). The two museums were complementary in that they both represented the French School and even the same masters. The character of the collections dictated the necessity of their amalgamation. In 1923, their administration was united and they formed a single Museum of Modern Western Art. The collections, however, remained in their old buildings and were called respectively the First and the Second Sections of the Museum. Now the museum was more strictly specialized as a collection of Western European art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In 1928, all its exhibits were gathered in one building — the mansion of Ivan Morozov. (Moscow, 21, Kropotkinskaya St. At present the building houses the USSR Academy of Arts.)
Remain Rolland, who visited the museum on June 29, 1935, left the following note in the visitors' book: "Walking round this remarkable museum, I was amazed and deeply moved to see once again some of the excellent canvases which had captivated me in my younger days: Renoir, Claude Monet, and Cezanne, then a budding painter whom Vollard had jealously hidden in his shops. I was fortunate to live in the period which proved to be so fruitful for French art and so significant in the history of painting. I am happy to see this profusion of French paintings thriving under the friendly sky of the USSR." (The English version of Romain Rolland's words follows a Russian translation of the original text, unfortunately lost.)
The collections of the museum grew continuously from the time of its establishment. The first additions were made in the 1920s. Many excellent works by Western European artists came in 1925 from the Tretyakov Gallery. Among them were paintings by Manet, Renoir, Denis, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec. Before the Revolution most of them had belonged to Mikhail Morozov. During his visit to an exhibition of decorative art (Paris, 1925), the director of the museum, Boris Ternovetz (1884—1941), acquired two paintings, Vlaminck's Landscape at Auvers and Ozenfant's still life. He also received a gift for the Museum — several drawings by French artists. It was the beginning of the excellent collection of French drawings of the late nineteenth and twentieth century now belonging to the Pushkin Museum.
From the first years of its existence the Museum's collections were continually added to as a result of donations made by Soviet and foreign artists and private collectors. Later this practice turned into a worthy tradition. In 1927, the Museum received a gift from Mr Pierre — Miro's Composition. In the same year Jean Lurcat presented two of his works, one of them Oriental Landscape. Among other donations of that year were Andre Lhote's Landscape with Houses and Leger's three drawings and the painting Composition. Another important source of enlarging the collection were purchases of pictures displayed at various exhibitions.
In 1928, the Museum of Modern Western Art and the Academy of Arts sponsored an exhibition of modern French art. Among the paintings acquired for the Museum was La Rue du Mont-Cenis by Utrillo. For a long time this picture remained the only painting of the master in the Soviet Union. Manet's Portrait of Antonin Proust was received from the collection of Ostroukhov. Until 1929 this collection had belonged to the Museum of Icons and Paintings; after the death of the collector some of his pictures were distributed among other museums.
In the 1920s and 1930s, on the basis of the Museum's French collection, the staff of the Museum organized numerous exhibitions, both monographic and thematic: an exposition of works by Cezanne and Van Gogh (1926), a display of French landscape painting of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (1939), an exhibition of Renoir (1941), etc.
A brief catalogue of the Museum's paintings and sculptures was published in 1928. In the early 1940, Ternovetz and other Museum workers prepared for publication a catalogue raisonne, but their work was interrupted by the war. Later the study of the collection -was resumed, though on a different basis. In 1948, French paintings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries from the Museum of Modern Western Art were transferred partly to the Pushkin Museum and partly to the Hermitage in Leningrad. (In 1948, the Museum of Modern Western Art ceased to exist.) The reorganization was needed for a more complete and historically consistent representation of Western European painting in these two museums of world art, the largest in the Soviet Union.
The post-war years were marked by increasingly active museum work in the country. During this period the Pushkin Museum received numerous gifts from its friends in the Soviet Union and abroad. This ensured a steady growth of its French exposition, the collection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century painting in particular. In 1958, Lydia Delectorskaya presented an excellent work by Matisse, Still Life with a Seashell (1940). In the Museum it is the only product of the artist's late period. A very good Van Dongen, Spanish Woman, was donated in 1966 by G. Kostaki. Two paintings, by Utrillo and by Dufy, both of very high artistic merit, are a gift of the Paris art dealer M. Kaganovitch (1969). One of the most generous donors (The names mentioned above include only donors of French paintings.) is Nadia Leger. In 1969 she gave to the Museum two remarkable works of Fernand Leger: Reading (Portrait of Nadia Leger) (1949) and Builders (1951). Another gift of Delectorskaya— Matisse's Corsican Landscape with Olives — was received in 1970. An exposition of French Neo-Realism, and post-war French painting in general, was started by the acquisition of three canvases by Fougeron. They were bought in 1968, during an exhibition of the master's work in the Museum.
The jubilee of the picture gallery in 1974 was marked by the opening of a new exposition which included French paintings of the 1850s to the 1950s. It was favorably received both by specialists and the general public. The importance of the inimitable ensemble of masterpieces in the French exposition of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries stands out with particular clearness when we compare the Moscow gallery with any of the numerous foreign collections.
To our brief description of the history of the collection and its general character we want to add a few observations on some of its individual parts.
The two paintings by Edouard Manet can serve as a key to understanding the new tendencies that appeared in French painting in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The Bar testifies to the growing interest in depicting ordinary scenes of town life, while the portrait of the artist's friend Antonin Proust indicates that the traditional formal portraits were giving way to psychological, realistic portraiture. The novel approach entails new methods of execution: the master's manner is bold and sketchy, the colors are pure and without intermediate tones.
The revolutionary principles of Manet's art were sustained and developed in the works of the Impressionists. The Museum collection of Impressionist painting is remarkable both for its size and representative character.
The achievements of Impressionism in its most important genre — landscape — are shown in numerous and diverse examples. Practically all exponents of this movement — the landscape painters (Monet, Pissarro, Sisley) and the painters of portraits and genre scenes (Renoir, Degas)— contributed to landscape painting.
Eleven magnificent canvases represent the art of Claude Monet, the leader of Impressionism and its most consistent champion. Luncheon on the Grass (1866) is unique in that it is a replica of a large canvas of which only two fragments have survived (one belongs to the Louvre, the other is the property of a Paris collector). It was produced a few years before the first public appearance of the Impressionists and concentrated in itself the main postulates of their program: to employ the new methods of painting en plein air in order to reveal the beauty, multiformity and mutability of nature, to depict ordinary scenes of contemporary rural and town life. One of Monet's most successful Impressionist works, the townscape Boulevard des Capucines, was displayed at the First Impressionist Exhibition.
The master's first work brought to Russia, Lilac in the Sun, is believed to have been painted in Argenteuil. The two marine paintings of the mid-1880s, which were done by Monet in Belle-He and Etretat, testify to his gift as a painter of seascapes. Some of the other works — two views of the Rouen Cathedral, Water Lilies and the view of the Thames in London — give an idea of the principles of late Impressionism.
The exposition includes several landscapes by Camille Pissarro and Sisley. Pissarro's early work Ploughland reminds us of his interest in recording rural life, while his Avenue de I'Opera characterizes him as an outstanding master of Impressionist townscape. The small work by Sisley, Frosty Morning in Louveciennes (1873), only presages the birth of Impressionist painting en plein air. On the other hand, his landscapes The Garden of Hoschede and The Edge of the Forest at Fontainebleau are mature creations of Impressionist art.
In the excellent collection of Renoirs two canvases deserve special mention: a study for the portrait of the actress Jeanne Samary and Nude. These pictures of the late 1870s, the artist's most productive period, can be ranked with his greatest works.
Three of the Museum's four Degas are devoted to the artist's favorite subject — ballet. The best of them are Dancers at the Rehearsal and Dancers in Blue.
In spite of some gaps (the exposition does not represent the art of Bazille, Caillebotte and Berthe Morisot), the importance of the collection of the Impressionists, which shows the movement in evolution and the individuality of its leading exponents, can hardly be overestimated.
The exposition of Post-Impressionist painters — Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh—is remarkable for its size and diversity.
The Museum collection of Cezannes, consisting of fourteen paintings, is reputed to be one of the best in the world. It traces the artist's evolution from the early works of the 1860s (Interior with Two Women and a Child) to the masterpieces of his last years (Landscape at Aix, c. 1905). The collection includes a number of pictures which have won fame: Mardi Gras (Pierrot and Harlequin], Peaches and Pears, The Banks of the Marne, Self-Portrait and the small study Bathers.
Most of the Museum's fourteen Gauguins belong to the Tahiti and Dominique periods. Only one of these pictures, Cafe at Aries, was painted in France. Several works—Self-Portrait, Are You Jealous?, The King's Wife, The Great Buddha — were important landmarks in Gauguin's art. The still life Parrots is one of the few examples of the master's work in this genre. In the large canvas Gathering Fruit the subject reminds us of the picture Preparations for a Feast belonging to the Tate Gallery. The collection of Gauguin's paintings in the Soviet Union has won international reputation. As was noted by Th. Rousseau, an American art historian, France and Denmark own many of the artist's early works, while the masterpieces of the Tahiti period are mainly in the possession of the United States and Russia. (Gauguin. Paintings. Drawings. Prints. Sculpture. The Art Institute of Chicago. The Mertopolitan Museum of Art, Chicago, 1959, p. 25.)
The art of Van Gogh is represented by five canvases, all painted after 1886 in France, and showing well-defined characteristics of his mature style. The most noteworthy in the lot are The Red Vineyard and Landscape with Carriage and Train. Here is the history of some of these paintings: The Prison Courtyard and Landscape with Carriage and Train once belonged to Jo Van Gogh-Bonger, the artist's sister-in-law. Portrait of Dr Rey (1889, Aries) was the artist's gift to Dr Rey. In 1900, Rey sold it to the Paris art dealer Ambroise Vol-lard; Sergei Shchukin bought it from the latter and took it to Russia.
The Museum owns two pictures by Toulouse-Lautrec. One of them, the portrait of the singer Yvette Guilbert, carries the author's inscription indicating that he presented it to Arsene Alexandre, critic and editor of Le Rire. The excellent canvases by Signac are typical of the artist's style and at the same time characteristic of the principles of Neo-Impressionism of which he was the leader and theorist.
With the exception of Seurat, the gallery comprises all the major French painters of the late nineteenth century. Now, when more than one hundred years have passed since the birth of Impressionism, and the art of Cezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh and Toulouse-Lautrec has also become history, their contribution to French and world painting can be appraised comprehensively and objectively. Their revolutionary art, which until 1879 was contemporary with the work of Daumier, is now recognized as the most important turning point in French painting at the end of the century.
The importance of the Museum's French collection is also based on the fact that it gives a balanced picture, representing the new art side by side with the work of other schools and trends. It includes paintings by Bastien-Lepage, Dagnan-Bouveret, Lhermitte and Cottet which indicate that the traditions of Courbet and Millet were kept up until the end of the century. The canvases by Cabanel, Gerome, Bonnat and some other painters are characteristic examples of the art that predominated at the official salons from the 1870s to the 1890s. The symbolist current in French painting is illustrated by the works of Puvis de Chavannes and Odilon Redon. Puvis de Chavannes, a painter of a vivid decorative style, deserves special notice. In A Poor Fisherman (1879, a sketch for the Louvre picture), the theme of poverty and misery foreshadows the early works of Picasso. French painting of the 1890s is shown in all its numerous, and often conflicting, manifestations and trends. Among the exhibits representing French art of that period are canvases by Denis, Bonnard and Vuillard which together give a very good idea of the principles of the Nabis. No other museum in the world can boast such magnificent works of Bonnard as the monumental panels Spring and Autumn.
The collection contains many typical works by the originators and followers of Fauvism: Matisse, Marquet, Manguin, Derain, Vlaminck, Friesz, Dufy. Derain's Saturday is an important work ranking with the master's best achievements. Eight landscapes by Marquet, dating from the late 1900s, vividly characterize this outstanding landscape painter of the twentieth century. The art of Henri Rousseau is illustrated by several pictures, including The Poet and His Muse. The model for the picture and its subsequent owner was Guillaume Apollinaire.
The large and varied collections of the leading Western European masters of the twentieth century, Picasso and Matisse, complete an exceptionally comprehensive collection of French painting of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The collection of Picassos includes paintings from 1900 to 1912. Each of the three stages distinguished in the master's work at that period — Blue, Pink and Cubist — is illustrated by excellent examples. The earliest in the collection, The Rendezvous, dates from 1900, the time of the artist's first stay in Paris. The tenor of the work is clearly determined by the young painter's humanistic program. The Strolling Gymnasts (Paris, 1901) gives a good idea of the type of painting prevailing in Picasso's early output, when he took his subjects from the life of itinerant actors, clowns and gymnasts. Young Girl on a Ball, which is undoubtedly his best early work on this theme, was formerly in the collections of Gertrude Stein and Henri Kahnweiler and was later acquired by Ivan Morozov.
One of the most important canvases of the Blue period — Old Beggar and a Boy — was painted in 1903, in Barcelona, to which Picasso returned several times from Paris. The features of tragic desperation, the dramatic expressiveness clearly reveal the influence of his Spanish compatriots, El Greco and Morales. The fact that Picasso was an outstanding twentieth-century portraitist is vividly illustrated by two works in the collection: Portrait of the Poet Sabartes (a Spanish poet who was a friend of the artist's) and Portrait of Ambroise Vollard. A comprehensive idea of the artist's Cubist production is given by A Hut in the Garden, Still Life with a Violin, Queen Isabeau and Lady with a Fan.
The Museum collection of Matisses contains examples of his early works, such as The Bottle of Schiedam, Corsican Landscape with Olives, Bois de Boulogne, as well as paintings of the mature period (A Statuette and Vase on an Oriental Carpet, Fruit and Bronzes). (The well-known Russian painter V. Serov used Matisse's still life Fruit and Bronzes as the background for his portrait of I. Morozov. The portrait, painted in 1910, belongs to the Tretyakov Gallery.)!
In 1911 —12, working at Issy-les-Moulineaux near Paris, the artist painted Still Life with Goldfish, The Large Studio, Studio with "La Danse", Corner of the Studio. The motif of goldfish in an aquarium is known to have been varied more than ten times, but the version belonging to the Moscow Museum excels all the rest in the beauty of color and artistry of composition. Exquisite color harmonies of The Large Studio make it one of the artist's best works in the genre of interior composition, which was his speciality. Superb artistry marks his Moroccan Triptych (View from the Window. Tangier, Zorah on the Terrace, Entrance to the Casbah) as well as the still life Irises, Arums and Mimosas. These are works of the Moroccan period, which was very fruitful for Matisse.
Owing to a generous gift of the artist's lifelong friend and secretary, Lydia Delectorskaya, the Museum was able to enlarge its collection by two works produced by Matisse in his later years: Seated Nude, a charming little study dating from the 1930s, and Still Life with a Sea-shell (1940), one of the pictures the artist himself was very fond of.
The Museum's ensemble of modern French painting is indeed remarkable for the number and quality of works. Together with the canvases by Leger, Jean Lurcat, Ozenfant, Rouault, Van Dongen, Dufy and pictures by Fougeron, which are more recent acquisitions, the French collection of the late nineteenth and twentieth century now counts more than 240 paintings. The best of them are reproduced in this book.
© Алексей Злыгостев, подборка материалов, разработка ПО 2001–2012
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