New Acquisitions of Prints and Drawings at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. 2009–2014

18.09.2015 – 31.01.2016

Private Collections

The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts presents the exhibition “New Acquisitions of Prints and Drawings at The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. 2009 – 2014”. New acquisitions are shown to the audience on a regular basis as a form of report on Museum’s activities. This exhibition tells about the acquisitions of the years 2009 – 2014 made for the Departments of Prints and Drawings, and Private collections. It will feature works of Western European and Russian artists of the 15th – 21st century, as well as those from Japan and China. Visitors will see artworks of Wenceslaus Hollar, Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, André Derain, Frank Brangwin.   

The Prints and Drawings Department of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts houses nearly 380 000 artworks of various schools: drawings, engravings, albums, books. The museum collection is formed with close cooperation of the research fellows with owners, artists, collectors, galleries, libraries, and publishing houses. The collection is enriched thanks to owners’ donations and acquisitions of artworks. The exhibition occupies two floors of the Private Collections Department building and displays more than 200 unique graphic works. On the first floor, four rooms are dedicated to Western European art, the exhibition space is sectioned according to periods: 15th – 17th century, 18th – 19th century, 19th century, and 19th – 20th century. The fifth room of the first floor contains works of Japanese and Chinese masters. The second floor shows drawings and etchings made by Russian artists, including those of Erik Bulatov, Ilya Kabakov, Lidiya Masterkova, Oleg Kudryashov, and Dmitry Lion.      

The acquisitions of recent years gave an opportunity to augment the collection of prints and drawings of German, Dutch, Italian, British, and French masters. Among them – Dutch engravings of the 17th century. For instance, an etching with a landscape executed by Herman van Svanevelt, two engravings by Johan van Huchtenburgh after a composition by Adam Frans van der Meulen. The earliest works in the French section are a sheet by Jean Mignon, a master of Fontainebleau school, “The Battle of Troy”, and a group of engravings by Etienne Delaune. Delaune is a French engraver active in the second half of the 16th century, famous for his historical and allegorical miniature compositions. A consistent part of new acquisitions in this section comes from a renowned Moscow collector Yuri Palinov. Another notable piece in the French graphic works section is a drawing by Thomas Charles Naudet – Hubert Robert’s apprentice. Naudet is famous for his gouaches. He also executed picturesque landscapes and large-scale historical scenes. He captured a number of important events related to the French Army. Naudet’s drawings depicting various episodes of Napoleon’s battles were engraved by Pierre-Adrien Lebo. Moreover, the collection of French graphic works of late 19th – 20th century became subject to extension. It is represented by renowned masters – Theophile-Alexandre Steinlen, Andre Derain, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Andre de Segonzac, Jacques Blot, and Maurice Potin. The Museum now houses a splendid first imprint of Toulouse-Lautrec’s “The Chap Book” poster. 

German Engravings and Book Illustrations 
The German section was enriched thanks to the collaboration with Yuri Palinov as well. In 2009 the Museum acquired from him several sheets by German artists of late 19th – early 20th century, including lithographs of Lovis Corinth. Works of Max Liebermann – 12 etchings and lithographs – also came from Palinov’s collection in 2012. The artworks of these masters are rare to be found on the market. Among the Italian graphic works, it is important to highlight a 16th century engraving depicting the Caesar’s obelisk in front of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The sheet made part of a series of 50 engravings executed by Giovanni Battista de Cavalieri after the drawings by Giovanni Antonio Dosio. This series was published in 1569 under the title “Urbis Romae aedificiorum illustrium quae supersunt reliquiae”. Books and engravings depicting the Ancient Rome vedute were popular in the second half of the 16th century.        

British Engravings
The Museum collection of the English school was enriched with more than 150 graphic works. The major part of its new acquisitions consists of illustrations to the British periodicals “London Society”, “Once a week”, and “Good Words” for the year 1862. Victorian illustrations executed in the woodcut engraving and lithographic techniques not only have a historical value but also an artistic one. Other important acquisitions include three chiaroscuros made by an English woodcut engraver J.B. Jackson “The Assassination of Saint Peter”, “Massacre of the Innocents”, and “The Resurrection of Lazarus” (acquired from collector A. Sevastyanov). They are included in the series of 24 imprints created by the master after compositions of Venetian artists. In order to improve the prints quality, Jackson invented a pressing machine, which let him execute large-scale imprints using several wood blocks. Another lithograph acquired from A. Sevostyanov is “The Mine” by another British pioneer Frank Brangwin, whose oeuvre brought major changes to the understanding of the objectives and possibilities of the engraving technique. The exhibition will also feature ten etchings made by Wenceslaus Hollar from Yuri Palinov’s collection.   

Russian Drawings
One of the most remarkable acquisitions of the Russian drawings section is a series of 12 sheets and watercolors from the 1920s – 1930s by Nikolay Kupreyanov. The oeuvre of this excellent graphic artist is very well represented in the Museum’s collection, and now the Museum houses his post-Cubist watercolor works: “Piano”, “Interior with Figures”, “Jazz”, as well as the watercolor “Trombones and Drum” from the “Baltic Fleet” series. Among the Russian masters, it is important to emphasize Dmitry Lion and his works donated by the artist’s widow Yekaterina Korontsevich in 2014. Today, the Museum owns one of the best collections of this master’s works, which includes 44 sheets and covers the whole period of his artistic activity – from the second half of the 1950s to the early 1990s. Lion’s early works created in his college years “The Holocaust” and “Before and After” (1956) are particularly worth of attention. A notable place in the exhibition space is occupied by works of Oleg Kudryashov. The sheet “Untitled” is made with watercolors and drypoint. The color combined with deep black strokes create an impression of an easel painting. A series of small-scale engravings by the master, which he calls “Book of engravings”, will also be displayed at the exhibition.    
Over the last five years, new acquisitions were made to the oriental graphic works section as well. One of the most important acquisitions is the triptych “Toyotomi Hideyoshi and His Five Concubines Admiring the Cherry Blossom in Higashiyama” executed by Kitagawa Utamaro, a renowned master of Japanese Ukiyo-e print. The scene depicted in the print is based on a real historical event, which took place in 1598 during a reception of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a famous Japanese political figure, at the Godai-zi temple in Kyoto. In 1804 Utamaro was arrested and put into stocks for 50 days for publishing this print. The print copies and the print blocks were destroyed, only a few imprints survived. The collection of Japanese original prints and drawings was enlarged thanks to the donations of contemporary Japanese artists.    Ruyseki Morimoto, a famous calligraphic artist, donated his artworks – 17 calligraphic masterpieces including fans, paintings, scrolls, and screens for the tea ceremony – to The Pushkin Museum in 2009. 

New Acquisitions at The Private Collections Department
A significant part of the exhibition space is dedicated to the acquisitions to the Private Collections Department. This Department houses more than 7000 works of Russian and Western European art of the 15th – 20th centuries. Among the remarkable recent acquisitions of the Department is the collection of Vsevolod Nekrasov – a poet, art critic and specialist in art theory. His collection does not result from a definite purpose, it is more of a chronicle of encounters and passions of this artistic man. In the last years of their lives, Vsevolod Nekrasov and his spouse, an art critic Anna Zhuravlyova, wanted to donate their collection to the Museum. Thus, their wish was granted by their heirs – Mrs. Zykova and Mrs. Penskaya –  in 2012, and 335 pieces from the Nekrasov’s collection were donated to the Museum. The collection can be grouped into two blocks: the first one includes works from the 1960s – 1970s by the artists from the “Lianozovo School”  –  graphic works by Evgeny Kropivnitsky, watercolors by Nikolay Vechtomov, drawings by Oscar Rabin, and compositions by Vladimir Nemukhin; the second block shows works of conceptual artists – Erik Bulatov, Oleg Vassilyev, Ilya Kabakov, Francisco Infante.  

Works by Lidiya Masterkova are displayed in a separate room. Lidiya Masterkova is one of the first female artists of the post-war period who adopted abstraction as their own language. The exhibition features artworks of her late artistic period. The sheets are grouped into series dedicated to Russian poets of the Silver Age – Alexander Blok, Andrey Bely, Nikolay Gumilyov, and Sergey Yesenin. The compositions are accomplished in an original technique, combining the freedom of ink drawing and the geometry of paper cut circles, squares, and ovals.  

Visitors will also get to know the collection of Russian Avant-garde graphic works of the 1910s – 1920s, which belonged to the Russian literary critic Rudolph Douganov and his spouse Natalia Shentelevich. The collection was donated to the Museum by their heirs and includes easel drawings and book illustrations of eminent artists – futuristic compositions by Olga Rozanova, Alexandra Exter, and Viktor Bart, a sketch for a poster by Alexander Rodchenko, a decorative pattern by Varvara Stepanova, small-scale drawings by Mikhail Larionov.  

The Russian art of the early 20th century section is extended with studies of nude figures by famous artists from the “Jack of Diamonds” group – Pyotr Konchalovsky (donated by his granddaughter Yelena Semyonova), and Ilya Mashkov (donated by an artist Alexey Beryezin). Konchalovsky’s nudes of the second half of the 1910s are characterized by a sketchy, large and “simplified” charcoal drawing technique. The three female nude drawings by Ilya Mashkov from the late 1900s – 1920s are the first works by this master to come to the Pushkin Museum collection. Mashkov is famous for his “sculptured” drawings. The artist’s pastel drawing “Sitting Nude” makes part of a life studies series, this work is characterized by a velvety surface, distinctive lines, and saturated color accents.  

The exhibition displays graphic works previously belonging exclusively to private collections. 

Anna Chudetskaya, Senior Research Fellow, Private Collections Department of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts
Yulia Matveeva, Junior Research Fellow, Prints and Drawings Department of The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts


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