From Russia with Art: The Morozov Collection Comes to Paris

From Russia with Art: The Morozov Collection Comes to Paris
On September 22, Fondation Louis Vuitton reopened to the public with what promises to be another blockbuster exhibition, “The Morozov Collection. Icons of Modern Art.” The LVMH group has a privileged relationship with Russia and its storied museums, as this show is the sequel to another Russian show, “Icons of Modern Art, the Shchukin Collection.” Big shoes to fill indeed, considering that one had attracted 1.2 million visitors in 2017. Still life by Matisse (C) Sarah Bartesaghi Truong At the origin of the Morozov collection are two brothers, Mikhail and Ivan. Behind them, a fortune amassed in textiles, in the short span of four generations, starting in the 1820s, when their great-grandfather invests his wife’s meager dowry of 5 rubles into a ribbon business. It takes him just a few years to make enough money to buy his freedom back (he was still a serf) and turn his small business into a flourishing textile empire. The first Picasso to enter Russia (C) Sarah Bartesaghi Truong By the time Mikhail and Ivan are born, the family has become extremely wealthy. Their mother, Varvara, hosts a fashionable literary salon and is a patron of the arts. Under the guidance of Russian painter Korovin, Mikhail travels to France and discovers the subversive artists that are wreaking havoc in Paris: Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, van Gogh. The first paintings by these masters come to Russia as part of Mikhail’s nascent collection. It will inspire a new generation of Russian painters, some of which are included in the show alongside the French geniuses. The Prison Courtayrd by Van Gogh (C) Sarah Bartesaghi Truong Sadly, Mikhail dies suddenly at 33, but the collecting baton is picked up with panache by his younger brother Ivan. A trained painter himself, he chooses pieces with the gaze of an artist, and amasses a vast collection composed of 430 pieces from the Russian avant-garde, along 230 by French artists. It is another series of firsts: Cézanne, Gauguin and Picasso join the burgeoning selection, and the Morozov mansion becomes the center of the artistic movement in Moscow.

Lead photo credit : The Morozov Collection at Fondation LV (C) Sarah Bartesaghi Truong

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Sarah Bartesaghi Truong has lived, studied and worked in Milan, Paris and London. Her lifelong passion for art in all its forms and her entrepreneurial dreams were the catalyst for a career change: she left the world of investment banking to go back to school, at the Sotheby’s Institute of London. Ten years ago, she moved back to Paris, the ideal location for an art-lover. As an Italian in Paris, she decided she would keep playing the tourist in her adoptive home town, always on the lookout for the many wonders the French capital has to offer to the curious explorer. VeniVidiParis, the company she founded, plans curated itineraries in the French capital and its vicinity for travellers wishing to discover the city’s vibrant art scene, but not only. Take a look at her recent discoveries on her Instagram feed, @venividiparis, or contact her at [email protected] for help planning your next Parisian vacation.