A major international exhibition, which opened in Paris last fall after being postponed three times due to COVID-19, offers a rare view of 200 masterpieces from the collection of the Russian brothers, Mikhail and Ivan Morozov. As Russia invaded Ukraine last week, the exhibition of exceptional paintings from Russian museums remains on loan in France until, for now, an extended date of April 3, 2022.
On four floors of galleries at the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by Frank Gehry, The Morozov Collection. Modern art icons is the collection’s first loan outside of Russia since its creation at the turn of the 20th century.
“Following its great success, the Louis Vuitton Foundation, in agreement with its partners, the Hermitage Museum, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the Tretyakov Gallery, has decided to extend the exhibition for five weeks”, reads -on on the museum’s website. (The show was previously scheduled to end on February 22, 2022.)
Curated by Anne Baldassari, the exhibit took years to organize and had “a colossal budget,” The New York Times reported in September 2021. Negotiations for the loan exhibit included assistance from the Foundation Louis Vuitton to the restorations, and “required a colossal diplomatic effort, with assurances that French law would protect Russian museums against any claim by the descendants of the Morozovs, and personal approval for loans from President Vladimir V. Putin.
Alongside the Russian masters, the textile magnate brothers shrewdly amassed a huge treasure trove of Parisian avant-garde works such as Gauguin, Monet, Van Gogh and Picasso, and made Moscow a center of modern French art. circa 1900. With the October Revolution of 1918, their art was dispersed and became part of the national collection. Ivan Morozov then went into exile (his brother died in 1903).
Under the Soviet state, several works from the Morozov collection were sold, including that of Van Gogh Night Cafe (now in the collection of Yale University) and Cézanne’s Portrait of Madame Cézanne (now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art).
Also, some of Morozov’s art was not loaned to Paris and remains in Russia, such as Van Gogh’s work Red vineyard in Arlesthe only work he sold during his lifetime.