The Shchukin Collection: Russia’s great art rescue


Henri Matisse’s “L’atelier rose” (1911) being restored at the Pushkin Museum

They survived revolution, war and the cold. Now restored works from a legendary Moscow collection are going on show.

This summer, as 130 works from the collection head to Paris for an exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in October, Russian and French art experts see it as a triumph of art over the century-long onslaught of war and revolution. “Considering what they have been through, the paintings are in good condition,” says Anne Baldassari, the exhibition’s curator. The Soviet authorities considered the works bourgeois and not ideologically correct, so they were banned for a long period from being shown in public. It would be half a century before Shchukin’s achievements as a pioneering collector were acknowledged.

‘Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection’ is at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris, from October 22 to February 20;
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