Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Matisse To Malevich

Henri Matisse Game of Bowls

Exhibition Title: Matisse to Malevich: Pioneers of Modern Art from the Hermitage
Location: Hermitage Amsterdam
Dates: March 6 - September, 2010

Matisse to Malevich: Pioneers of Modern Art from the Hermitage is an exhibition that is taking place as the Hermitage Amsterdam from March 6 through September 2010. Displaying 75 works selected from the permanent collection of the Hermitage St. Petersburg, Matisse to Malevich displays works by the masters of Modern art such as Matisse, Picasso, Van Dogen, De Vlaminck, and Derain, but through the lens of two collectors: Ivan Morozov and Sergej Shchukin.

The two Russian collectors, Ivan Morozov (1871-1921) and Sergeij Shchukin (1854-1936) sought out revolutionary French art in order stimulate art in Russia. Shchukin bought 51 works by Picasso and 37 by Matisse thus dominating the art world in Russia. The works were displayed in their homes enabling young Russian artists to view French works of art. The start of WWI marked the end of Morozov and Shchukin’s collecting and during the October Revolution of 1917 the collections were confiscated. A major of the works in both collections were donated to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg.

Morozov fell in love with Impressionists such as Cezanne, Van Gogh, Dennis and Bonnard, while Shchukin sought after works by Matisse and Picasso. Shchukin’s collection included works by Matisse such as The Red Room, Game of Bowls, and Woman on a Terrace, which expressed his desire to find the latest and more revolutionary works of the European Avant-Garde. Shcukin also commissioned Matisse to paint Dance and Music for his staircase.

The exhibition takes an interesting angle on exhibiting the art historical narrative as the show includes a discussion of the collection aspect of works of art. The exhibiting provides a refreshing view on masterpieces of Modern art by bringing in the history of ownership of famous modern masterpieces. Matisse to Malevich expresses the profound impact that collectors can have on art history.


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