St Petersburg Hermitage has one of the world's finest collections of French and Russian painting from the early twentieth century. Seventy-five of these works are now on display for the first time in the Netherlands, at the Amsterdam branch of the Hermitage Museum, offering a perfect opportunity to get a taste of the Russian collection.
Most of the works come originally from the collections of two wealthy Moscow textile merchants, Ivan Morozov (1871-1921) and Sergei Shchukin (1854-1936), who, in their desire to show new paths and possibilities to Russian artists of their time, introduced French art into their homeland.
Fauvists and Cubists such as Matisse, Picasso, Van Dongen, Derain, Vlaminck and other creative pioneers of their age who played key roles in the avant-garde movement are represented in the Amsterdam exhibition, along with some of their famous Russian contemporaries including Malevich and Kandinsky.
The exhibition focuses on the genesis of modern art as a phenomenon in the history of art, but also emphasises the inspiration of the artists themselves, which was to trigger an artistic revolution in the early years of the twentieth century, a turning point in the history of artistic movements.
Among the highlights of the exhibition, are Harmony in Red (1908) and Still Life with Blue Tablecloth (1906), by Matisse; The Port of Hamburg (1908), by Albert Marquet; Composition VI (1913) and Winter Landscape (1909 ), by Kandinsky; Woman in a Black Hat (1908), by Van Dongen; and The Absinthe Drinker (1901) by Picasso, inspired by the solitary protagonists of Parisian nightlife.
Hermitage Museum Amsterdam