The spectacular presentation of the Morozov collection in its Gehry premises just outside Paris this year, follows the initial incarnation of the exhibition, staged in 2019 in Saint-Petersburg.
Throughout their lives, Russian brothers Mikhaïl Abramovich Morozo and Ivan Abramovich Morozov provided unconditional support to innovative European and Russian artists, here by contributing to their reputations and visual advancements. To put it bluntly, they had excellent taste, and were well-advised.
Following Paris’s leading gallerists’ tips, think Paul Durand-Ruel, Ambroise Vollard, Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler for example, the Morozovs mounted an incredible collection made of 250 paintings and sculptures by the likes of Cézanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Matisse, Derain and Picasso to name a few. Some of these artists’ most remarkable works are now on view at the Vuitton Foundation until 22 February 2022. Highlights include the iconic Harlequin and His Companion (The Saltimbanque) (1901) by Picasso, and the fantastic paintings Café a Arles (1888) and Femme au fruit (1893) by Gauguin. The entire Gauguin room actually makes visitor’s jaw drop.
Monumental decorative works by Bonnard and Denis, and bronzes by Rodin, Claudel and Maillol were also added to their collection and are presented in this stunning show. The Morozov also committed to collecting contemporary Russian art by bringing together nearly 400 modern Russian paintings by artists of the Realist (Wanderers), Symbolist, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist movements such as Golovin, Larionov, Mashkov, Konchalovsky, Saryan and Konenkov. The exhibition allows visitors to engage with these less-known Russian artists.
The Morozov collection, nationalized in 1918, became one of the world’s first museum of modern art: the State Museum of Modern Western Art / GMNZI, which opened in Ivan Morozov’s Moscow mansion in 1928. From the 1930s to 1948, their collections gradually entered the State Hermitage Museum, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts and the Tretyakov Gallery. This is a rare chance to see it in Europe at the Vuitton Foundation.
For the first and only time, the Music Room in Ivan Morozov’s Moscow mansion is recreated outside the State Hermitage Museum. Consisting of a monumental decorative installation of seven panels commissioned by Ivan Morozov in 1907 from Maurice Denis on the subject of The Story of Psyche (1908-1909), and of four sculptures by Aristide Maillol, the Music Room immerses viewers into the brothers’ collecting lives.
Image: Vincent Van Gogh, La mer aux Saintes-Maries, Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, 1888. Musée d’Etat des Beaux-Arts Pouchkine, Moscou.