Icons of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection
Directed by Anne Baldassari
We had all been awaiting this for years, even though it seemed so hypothetical. Now the original venue of the great collection of modern art gathered at the beginning of the XXth century by Russian industrialist Shchukin has been recreated at the Fondation Louis Vuitton. The catalogue describes the man, born in 1854, who died in exile in 1936 in Paris, the origins of his passion which drew great sarcasm from his contemporaries and the admiration of his fellow businessmen. The Trubetskoy palace was open as of 1910 for visits. But this book goes even further: through the large Italian format, we enter the intimacy of the Moscow avant-guard of 1900. We discover, one room after another, the works of the collection as they were hung, shown through ancient photographs: the Cézanne cabinet, the Picasso cabinet, the former chapel (with Guillaumin and Whistler), the music room (with Monet and Maurice Denis), the dining room (with works by Gauguin and a tapestry by Burne-Jones) and of course, the pink room overflowing with works by Matisse. On one photograph we can even see traces made in black ink: they were actually made by the artist himself, as he marked where he would have liked his works painted in Tanger in 1912 to be hung. This is another proof of the rare understanding that existed between the patron and his favourite artist.
Review published in the newsletter #454 - from 22 December 2016 to 11 January 2017