Opening of the exhibition RUSSIA! in the Solomon
R. Guggenheim Museum in New York
On 16 September 2005 a major art exhibition opened in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, timed to coincide with the 60th anniversary of the United Nations. The exhibition was opened by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.
The following Russian institutions have loaned works to the RUSSIA!:
the State Hermitage, State Tretyakov Gallery, State Russian Museum, the
State Historical Museum, the Moscow Kremlin State Historical d Cultural
Museum Preserve , the State Museum and Exhibition Center ROSIZO, Moscow.
In the words of Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, this exhibition provides a unique opportunity to show to the international public outstanding masterpieces from the collections of Russian museums.
This is the first time that Russian art - from 13th century icons
to experimental modern art - is exhibited abroad on such a grand
scale. The more than 250 works of art on display demonstrate Russia's
contribution to world artistic culture. The exhibition is arranged in
chronological order. It opens with items from medieval Russia - icons
from the 13th - 16th centuries. Then the 18th century is presented,
beginning with Emperor Peter the Great and Empress Catherine the Great.
The 19th century is represented by the Academic and Romantic Schools of
the first half of the century and the Romanticism and Critical Realism
of the second half. The section on the early 20th century features the
Avantgarde, while the period from about 1930 until 1960 shows off Soviet
art. Finally there is a section covering the period from the 1970's
to the present.
A special feature of the exhibition is works from the celebrated collections of Western European art which exerted a substantial influence on the development of Russian art in the period after Peter the Great. The exhibition includes canvases by the Old Masters which were acquired during the reigns of Peter I, Catherine II, and Nicholas I, as well as masterpieces from the collections formed by the Russian merchants Sergey Shchukin and Ivan Morozov.
About 30 paintings come from the collection of the State Hermitage. Among those which are especially interesting are Anthony van Dyck's Self-Portrait, Guido Reni's Repentance of St Peter, Bartolome Murillo's Immaculate Conception, Claude Lorrain's Morning in the Harbour, Claude Monet's Poppy Field, Paul Cezanne's Lady in Blue, Paul Gauguin's Conversation, Henri Matisse's Girl with Tulips, Pablo Picasso's Woman with a Fan and Kazimir Malevich's Black Square. There are also works of sculpture, including B. K. Rastrelli's Portrait of Peter I and Luigi Bienme's Portrait of Nicholas I.
The General Sponsors of the exhibition are: The Alcoa Foundation and
Sintezneftegaz. The Sponsors are: The Vladimir Potanin Charitable Foundation,
the International Foundation of Russian and Eastern European Art; The
Foundation of Mutual Understanding.