Great Private Collections of Imperial Russia

Great Private Collections of Imperial Russia

by Oleg Neverov, Emmanuel Ducamp
     
 
Among the most important private art collections ever created were those of Imperial Russia. Catherine the Great, guided by Voltaire, amassed treasures on a Herculean scale, laying the basis for what is today the Russian State Hermitage. Favorite courtiers built palaces of unprecedented magnificence in St. Petersburg and Moscow for their vast collections of paintings,

Overview

Among the most important private art collections ever created were those of Imperial Russia. Catherine the Great, guided by Voltaire, amassed treasures on a Herculean scale, laying the basis for what is today the Russian State Hermitage. Favorite courtiers built palaces of unprecedented magnificence in St. Petersburg and Moscow for their vast collections of paintings, antiquities, and decorative arts. In a lively and anecdotal text, Oleg Neverov reassembles these now-legendary private collections-which, after the 1917 Revolution, were dispersed among the Hermitage, Pushkin, and Tretiakov museums, sold to foreign museums, or spirited abroad.

Represented here are works that once belonged to such famed aristocratic families as the Stroganovs and Yussupovs; to the merchant princes Mamontov and Tenischeva; and to the legendary Morozov and Schukin families, the largest purchasers of the early works of Picasso, Matisse, and Braque. Here, portraits of the collectors, period photography, and architectural drawings and watercolors, along with beautiful reproductions of the artworks and texts drawn from the latest research in Russian archives, bring this long-gone era and its treasures back to life.

Author Bio: Oleg Neverov, a Russian art historian, is the keeper of the department of antiquities, Russian State Hermitage. He is the author of catalogues, monographs, and nearly 200 articles. Mikhail Piotrovsky is director of the Russian State Hermitage. Nicholas Romanov is head of the former imperial family.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Families like the Stroganovs or Tretyakovs may be vaguely familiar to U.S. readers, but most of the 30 clans and individuals that did the bulk of Russia's collecting over three centuries will not-making this book all the more valuable. Matching masterworks with the rich travelers to Europe (where most pieces originated) who recognized them and brought them back, most often, to Petersburg, Neverov, a curator at Petersburg's State Hermitage Museum, shows how that institution, along with the Pushkin in Moscow and various others, came to hold so much great art. Jacques-Louis David, Greuze, Gainsborough, van Eyck, Memling, Matisse (Dance), Tiepolo, Cezanne, Picasso (the lovely Young Girl on a Ball) and Bonnard are all here, though works by the likes of da Vinci and Titian that travelers to Russia may have seen and loved are not. The indifferent layout and font choices don't detract too much from the more than 350 full-color reproductions, which are clear if not ravishing. Neverov exhaustively relates the families he discusses to their home cities and those cities to their larger histories; as a reckoning of provenance, the book fully satisfies. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780865652255
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/2004
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 12.62(h) x 1.25(d)

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