The European building of the Pushkin Museum primarily contains the private collections of three prominent business men of the nineteenth century: Sergei Tretyakov (1834-1892), Sergei Shchukin (1854–1936) and Ivan Morozov (1871-1921).
In 1923 the collections of Sergei Tretyakov, Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov were merged and became part of the collection of the new State Museum of Modern Western Art. Part of its collection was handed over to the Hermitage and some of the best works of art were secretly sold to Western buyers carried out in Berlin. Fortunately for the collection, Hitler’s rise to power meant that Russia could no longer trust Germany and all sales were halted. In the 1930s Stalin decreed that these paintings contain no educational value and with the outbreak of WWII all of the paintings were evacuated to Siberia. Large canvases were rolled up and remained in this state for many years; this includes Matisse’s Dance and Music. During the war the Nazis heavily bombed all of the museums in Russia. Had these paintings not been shipped to Siberia they all probably would have been destroyed. After WWII the paintings returned to Moscow where they were divided up between the Pushkin Museum, the Hermitage and several provincial museums. Some paintings were destroyed completely.
The Pushkin Museum got the very best of the paintings except for Shchukin’s collection of cubist works by Picasso that were handed over to the Hermitage without a tear shed. Now enriched beyond imagination, the Hermitage was unable to display a single one of the paintings it had received. For a long time they were kept in "Storeroom A" where they could be viewed only by a few artists who were able to pull strings.
It is only in the beginning of the 21st century that the new museum building in Volkhonka street was opened to the public. Our guests have a chance to get acquainted with the very colourful lot.
Visitors who are familiar with the history of Western art will find this unique selection a real eye-opener. There is so much to see in this huge collection that we are sure you will want to return!