Probably the name of Sergei Ivanovich Shchukin won’t tell you much now. Shchukin was a Russian businessman, a textile merchant who lived at the turn of the 19th and 20th. Why should we care about him, though?
Sergei Shchukin owned one of the most marvelous art collection in history. He amassed 258 works of impressionist, post-impressionist, fauvist and cubist masterpieces, which decorated the walls of his palace-like home in Moscow. Including 50 Picassos, 38 works by Matisse, 13 Monets, eight Cezannes, seven Rousseaus, three Renoirs, four Van Goghs. 16 Gauguins of the Tahitian period hung in his dining room in the manner of an orthodox iconostasis. In 1909, Shchukin opened his home on Sundays for public viewings, introducing French avant-garde painting to the Moscovites. He also was a friend of Henri Matisse and commissioned two of his most famous masterpieces – “Dance” and “Music”.
However, in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution in October 1917, Shchukin’s collection was expropriated by the state, broken up, and distributed among museums in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Stalin called his collection “bourgeois and cosmopolitan”. Shchukin himself had to flew to Paris, where he died in 1936.
It was difficult to see all the Shchukin collection in one place, as it has been split to The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
Until now, when 120 paintings from the collection can be seen on the exhibition at Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris. The exhibition takes place until February 20th, 2017. Below we present a short snapshot of the paintings you can see there:
Vincent van Gogh, Portrait of Doctor Ray, 1889
Pablo Picasso, The Meeting (The Embrace), 1900
Paul Cézanne, Self-Portrait, 1882
Henri Rousseau, View of the Pont Sèvres and the Hills of Clamart, Saint Cloud, and Bellevue with Biplane, Balloon, and Dirigible, 1908
Claude Monet, Woman in the Garden, Sainte-Adresse, 1867
Claude Monet, Luncheon on the Grass, 1866
Claude Monet, Seagulls, River Thames in London, Houses of Parliament, 1904
Paul Gauguin, Aha oé feii? (What, Are You Jealous?”), 1892
Paul Gauguin, Vairaumati téi oa (Her Name was Vairaumati), 1892
Pablo Picasso, Absinthe Drinker, 1901
Henri Matisse, Still-life with a Blue Tablecloth, 1906
Henri Matisse, Red Room (Harmony in Red), 1908
Henri Matisse, Goldfish, 1912
Paul Cézanne, Fruits, 1879-80
Pablo Picasso, Table in a Café (Bottle of Pernod), 1912
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