It’s never a bad time to visit Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis-Vuitton in Paris. Now, an extraordinary new exhibition makes it all the more important to include this architectural gem in your list of essential things to do if you are in Paris this winter. In a historical first, the famed Shchukin Collection – widely considered to be the finest and the most important collection of modern art in the world – is on view at the Fondation Louis-Vuitton until the March 5, 2017.
The Shchukin Collection
Between 1898 and 1914, Russian textile merchant Sergei Shchukin collected more than 250 works by impressionist and post-impressionist French artists during his frequent business trips to Paris. Given the importance of these artworks, Shchukin made his collection accessible to the public in 1908 and the Trubetzkoy Palace, where the collection was installed, soon became a meeting point for Russian intellectuals, artists and art lovers. The Shchukin Collection inspired several Russian revolutionary artists, including Larionov, Tatlin, Petrov-Vodkin and Grigoriev, and played a critical role in the development of Russian cubism, proto-cubism, constructivism and Suprematism.
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In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, Shchukin moved to France with his family and the collection was nationalised by the state in November 1918. The Shchukin Collection, along with Ivan Morozov’s collection of French impressionists and post-impressionists, were officially renamed to constitute the two Moscow Museums of Modern Western Art.
As part of the new modern art museum, Sergei’s collection continued to inspire the development of contemporary art movements in Russia in the decade following the Revolution. In 1948, Stalin, who reportedly considered the collection to be bourgeois and cosmopolitan, decreed for it to be divided between the Hermitage Museum and the Pushkin Museum and for several years, the collection remained forbidden from being exhibited in public.
Icons of Modern Art outside Russia
Following changes in social and political ideologies in the seventies, works from the Shchukin collection began to be re-exhibited in Russia and at international shows. However, Fondation Louis-Vuitton’s Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection is the first-ever large-scale exhibition of these works outside Russia.
As per Bernard Arnault, president of the Fondation, “The quality of the works makes this a unique exhibition, one that belongs, without mincing words, to Art History”. The visitors have the rare opportunity to see 130 masterpieces from this modern art anthology – these include 8 works by Cézanne, 12 works by Paul Gaugin, 8 works by Monet, 22 works by Matisse and 29 by Picasso. Notable works on view include Monet’s Luncheon on the Grass, Cézanne’s Mardi Gras, Gauguin’s Aha Oé Feii? (What, Are you Jealous?), Matisse’s The Pink Studio and Picasso’s Three Women and Composition with a Bunch of Grapes and a Sliced Pear.
The exhibition also touches upon the impact of the Shchukin collection on avant-garde Russian artists at the turn of the 20th century, with a selection of 30 Russian artworks. These include works by Tatline, Rodchenko, Larionov, Popova, Gontcharova, Oudaltsova as well as pieces by Malevich and Klioun.
“Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection” will be on view at the Fondation Louis Vuitton until March 5, 2017.
October 22, 2016 to March 5, 2017
At Foundation Louis Vuitton
Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection
A new exhibition at Fondation Louis-Vuitton brings the famed Shchukin Collection – including works by Monet, Matisse, Picasso, Cézanne and many others – outside Russia for the first time in a century.
Foundation Louis Vuitton