The Tretyakov Gallery. YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW

Zelfira Tregulova, Tatyana Yudenkova

Magazine issue: 
#3 2017 (56)

Founded at the end of the 19 th century by the Moscow merchants and art-collectors Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov, Russia’s largest museum of national art has became a symbol of the country’s consciousness and culture.

Pavel Mikhailovich (1832-1898), the elder brother, remains much better-known than his younger sibling, and the Tretyakov Gallery directly owes its existence to him. Pavel Tretyakov made a promise to himself to establish in his native city “a National Gallery, in other words a gallery containing the works of Russian artists”[1] and worked relentlessly toward that goal all his life. He passed on his enthusiasm to his younger brother, Sergei Mikhailovich (1834-1892), who became one of the outstanding collectors of his era, assembling an unique collection of 19th century European paintings. In 1892, Pavel bequeathed to the city of Moscow both his own and his brother’s collections. It was an extraordinary precedent in the history of Russian philanthropy, and the united collection was officially named the “Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov City Gallery of Art”, becoming the nation’s major museum of the era.

Façade of the Tretyakov Gallery
Façade of the Tretyakov Gallery
Photograph by Anastasia Zamyatina, Evgeny Alekseev

For Pavel, the creation of a public museum of the Russian national school of art was a lifelong commitment. In his youth, Tretyakov started buying artwork in the 1850s, largely at the Sukharevskaya flea market, then the most popular antiquities trading location in Moscow. He first became interested in old prints and books and later bought nine works by little-known Western artists.

The first Russian painting that the beginning collector acquired was “A Brawl with Finnish Contrabandists” acquired on May 22 (10 May, Old Style) 1856 from Vasily Khudyakov, a member of the Academy of Fine Arts: ever since then, that date has been considered the foundation of the Tretyakov Gallery.[2] Subsequently Pavel Tretyakov tried to acquire pieces directly from their creators, either at exhibitions or from their studios, thus concentrating his attention on works of contemporary art.

Viktor VASNETSOV. Façade of the Tretyakov Gallery. 1900-1901
Viktor VASNETSOV. Façade of the Tretyakov Gallery. 1900-1901
Watercolour, ink, brush, pen on paper. 90 × 194 сm. Tretyakov Gallery

In his first will, prepared in 1860 when he was 27, the young merchant had already showed himself a good citizen: he expressed a desire to use the resources he had earned for the creation of “a public repository of fine arts accessible to everyone, a source of use for many, a pleasure for all”: he thus made sure that artists would be supported and the taste for higher things cultivated. Tretyakov emphasized that the prospective institution would be a museum of the Russian national school of art, aware that it should be situated in Moscow “in the heart of Russia”.

At this early stage of his collecting career Tretyakov acquired mostly landscapes and scenes from contemporary life, a genre then coming into its own and proving popular. His collecting strategies noticeably changed when he bought Vasily Perov’s “Easter Procession in a Village” (1861, Tretyakov Gallery), which had been banned by the censors. “Providing a shelter” for the Perov painting, Tretyakov afforded the artist a chance to work without having to worry about the authorities’ prohibitions.[3]

In the early 1860s Tretyakov stated something that in many aspects defined the course he would follow as a collector: “I don’t need either lush scenery, or a splendid composition, or spectacular lighting - no miracles - give me as little as a muddy puddle, only with a truth in it, with poetry; poetry can reside anywhere, this is the artist’s business.”[4] Leanings towards things poetic and truthful in art became what may be termed the collector’s aesthetic ideal.

Tretyakov did not force on artists any rigid constraints of pre-selected themes and stories. He acquired compositions created in Russia and in Italy with equal enthusiasm. However, from the first years of his collecting he preferred national themes; there is no doubt that, when selecting paintings, he gravitated towards the “Russian concept”, which was understood as a set of nationally oriented ideas free of international borrowings. But he did not place emphasis on Russian themes per se.

In the late 1860s, Tretyakov set about creating a gallery of portraits of “Russian writers, composers and, generally, personalities from cultural and academic circles”.[5] The names of those immortalized in his portrait gallery of Russian art are known to everyone familiar with Russian culture: Pushkin, Gogol, Griboyedov, Nekrasov, Tolstoy, Stasov, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Levitan and many more. However, it is important to remember that Tretyakov independently selected both subjects and artists for his portrait gallery, initiating, in this manner, the creation of many eminent examples of Russian portraiture. Today it is clear that his collection includes many masterpieces by the greatest Russian 19th century painters such as Perov, Kramskoi, Repin and Serov, who depicted Russia’s key cultural personalities, each of whom undoubtedly left behind an indelible mark on the history of Russian art.

As the collection grew, the collector’s approach changed. Tretyakov was increasingly relying more often on his artistic taste, acquiring for his collection paintings that were in keeping with his views on the evolution of contemporary art. He looked for works revealing their creators’ true personality. In the 1870s Tretyakov became close to the “Peredvizhniki” (Wanderers) artists, the largest and most influential group of their time. His circle of contacts among St. Petersburg and Moscow painters became so extensive that in 1871 he bought a number of paintings before the opening of the group’s first exhibition. Such works included Vasily Perov’s “Hunters at Rest”, Nikolai Ge’s “Peter the Great Interrogating Tsarevich Alexei at Peterhof”, Ivan Kramskoi’s “Mermaids” and Alexei Savrasov’s “The Rooks Have Arrived”. It was at that time that Tretyakov secured for himself the right to be the first to choose paintings which he found in keeping with his aesthetic vision. Since the expanding collection required more space, Tretyakov added rooms to his residence, converting it into a picture gallery. In 1874 the Tretyakov family’s friends and acquaintances began to be admitted to the gallery, and in 1881 it was opened to the general public. The compositions of the “Peredvizhniki” acquired by the collector became landmark works of Russian art, which today are cited in every textbook as among the best paintings of the 19th century.

As a collector, Pavel Tretyakov was at his most active and productive in the 1870s-1880s. “I set out to collect artwork of the Russian school such as it is in the course of its evolution,” he wrote, and his words reflect the collector’s desire to reflect in his collection the specifics of national art as it had evolved historically, beginning with works by 18th century masters.[6] Pavel Tretyakov’s collection began to acquire a museum dimension. His preferences, meanwhile, were changing as well. He purposefully kept buying pieces “interesting in content” and significant for the Russian school, which would complement works by their creators that were already in his collection. Nevertheless, the quality of the art concerned remained the most important criterion for selection. “Some landscapes are richer in content than some intricate narrative compositions,” Pavel Tretyakov wrote to Lev Tolstoy in 1890.[7] Systematically adding the best Russian paintings, Tretyakov formed significant holdings of his favourite masters, such as Vasily Perov, Ivan Kramskoi, Ilya Repin, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Fyodor Vasiliev and Vladimir Makovsky. By the end of Tretyakov’s career in collecting, some of these artist’s collections numbered more than 100 pieces, as was the case with the work of Alexander Ivanov, Vasily Polenov and Vasily Vereshchagin. In the late 1880s, Tretyakov created a new section devoted to “watercolours and black drawings”.

In his collecting policies Tretyakov may not have depended on the judgement of others, but he was also capable of ignoring his personal predilections “for the public good”. Like Tretyakov’s first biographer Vasily Stasov, other authors writing about him have often repeated: “Every piece... that was talented and good was immediately added to the Tretyakov Gallery’s collection.”[8] However, this was not strictly the case - Tretyakov would collect a wide variety of pieces, choosing those that were characteristic, typical, as well as more standard, but nevertheless representative of the Russian school’s evolution. He respected and accepted the course that contemporary art was following and understood that artwork was not reducible to any common denominator. The art critic and historian Alexandre Benois once noted: “Tretyakov by his nature and knowledge was a scholar.”[9] Indeed, he observed the art scene almost as a researcher, with a degree of detachment: he was never interested in ephemeral disputes or intrigues, nor did he care about an artist’s leanings towards one or another artistic trend. What he was looking for was, first of all, talented works that variously reflected the evolution of the Russian school of painting.

From the 1870s onwards, the Gallery became so popular that many artists were prepared even to accept smaller fees for their works if that meant that they would become part of Tretyakov’s collection. Negotiating with artists, the collector used to point out his special situation: “Marking down the price for me is not the same as for somebody else - some artists give me [their works] even for free - because it’s not for me, it’s for Russian Society.”[10]

Sergei Tretyakov is not as well-known as his brother. He began collecting later than his older sibling and was primarily interested in contemporary Western European art, mostly French, which was then considered more valuable than the Russian school. Pavel and Sergei’s principles of collecting, as well as the nature of their collections, were different.

Sergei’s collection was held in a mansion on Prechistensky (now Gogolevsky) Boulevard and prospective visitors had to have “an endorsement from an acquaintance”. However, this did not bar a large artistic community from familiarizing itself with pieces by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean-Frangois Millet, Charles-Frangois Daubigny, Maria Fortuny and others. According to several young artists, including Konstantin Korovin, Valentin Serov, Mikhail Nesterov, Yelena Polenova and others, a number of compositions in Sergei Tretyakov’s collection had a significant impact on their work. Sergei Tretyakov created, in Igor Grabar’s phrase, a gallery of Western European art “unique in its category”, which became a place of “never-ending pilgrimage”" for lovers of Western art. At the same time Sergei was also buying Russian artists, their work displayed among Pavel Tretyakov’s artworks already during his lifetime. Such compositions include masterpieces like Fyodor Vasiliev’s “In the Crimean Mountains”, Arkhip Kuindzhi’s “Ukrainian Night”, and Ivan Kramskoi’s “Moonlit Night”.

Sergei Tretyakov’s sudden death accelerated the merger of the brothers’ collections and their transfer to the city. Taking into consideration his brother’s wishes as set out in his will, Pavel Tretyakov donated his own and his brother’s collections to the city of Moscow, for the purpose of establishing a municipal art gallery. Pavel Tretyakov became the institution’s lifelong trustee, and continued to add new pieces to the collection; he was now spending not only his own resources but also the interest on the sum that Sergei had bequeathed for purchase of Russian art, as well as funds allocated by the Moscow City Council.

The municipal picture gallery was opened to the public on August 15 1893, simultaneously with the publication of the first brief guide to the gallery, compiled by the collector and titled “Inventory List of Art Works in Pavel and Sergei Tretyakovs’ Gallery”. From then onwards Tretyakov regularly published such “Inventory Lists”; after 1897, they became “Catalogues” of the collection. In 1897, Pavel Tretyakov was awarded the title "Honorable Citizen" of the City of Moscow.

The memory of the Gallery’s founders was also immortalized by the Moscow City Council in its name, the “Moscow City Art Gallery of Brothers Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov”: the words featured on the Tretyakov Gallery’s new fagade, created in 1902-1904 to a design by the artist Viktor Vasnetsov. Thus, the fagades of the main building and its wings, planned in Pavel Tretyakov’s lifetime and accomplished in the early 20th century, were designed in a uniform neo-Russian style, reflecting the collector’s vision of the collection.

Over more than 40 years of such selfless work, Pavel Tretyakov repeatedly served as a “catalyst” for many of the most important processes of Russian art, as well as of the cultural life of Moscow and St. Petersburg in general. Konstantin Stanislavsky called him “a Russian Medici”. Later Mikhail Nesterov expressed an opinion shared by many: “You can hardly find a person who did not think that if Pavel Tretyakov had not appeared, if he had not set about amassing works of Russian Art, it would have fared differently: we might have never seen either ‘Boyarynya Morozova’ or ‘Easter Procession in a Village” or all those paintings big and small that now adorn the Tretyakov Gallery. In those distant years it was indeed a feat...”[12]

 

THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY IN THE 20th CENTURY

After Pavel Tretyakov’s death in June 1899, the Moscow City Council issued the “Regulations on Managing the City Art Gallery of Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov”, whereby the Gallery’s board became responsible for managing the museum. Although six months before his death Tretyakov had introduced an addendum to his will indicating that acquiring new works of art for the gallery would be undesirable, the Tretyakov Gallery’s board nevertheless decided to expand the collection. In 1905, when Ilya Ostroukhov was elected a trustee of the Gallery, the museum stepped up its purchasing, regularly acquiring paintings and drawings both of old Russian masters and exponents of the “new trends”, with some pieces bought at shows of such artistic groups as “Mir iskusstva” (World of Art”), “Soyuz russkikh khudozhnikov” (Union of Russian Artists) and “Golubaya roza” (The Blue Rose). A collection of icons, acquired by the museum after Tretyakov’s death, was established in the same period. In 1910 the Gallery received a collection of European artwork bequeathed to the museum by the Moscow merchant and collector Mikhail Morozov, which included pieces by Claude Monet, Ёdouard Manet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro and Edgar Degas. Morozov’s collection was a logical continuation of Sergei Tretyakov’s collection of 19th century European art.

In 1913 Igor Grabar was elected a trustee of the Gallery. He carried out several reforms: he changed the display, arranging the items in historical order, initiated the establishment of a restoration workshop, and started compiling an academic survey of the collection.

The Bolshevik Revolution brought serious changes to the Gallery. By a decree issued in 1918, it was renamed the “State Tretyakov Gallery”. Grabar was appointed director and continued the rearrangement of the display, as well as projects in the area of preservation, academic research, and public education. In 1919 the Department of Fine Arts of the People’s Commissariat of Education[13] decided to incorporate the holdings of all museums into a single museum fund, which in 1923 was titled the “State Museum Fund” (SMF).[14] In the first years of the Soviet era the SMF transferred to the Tretyakov Gallery a huge range of artwork, including entire collections that has formerly belonged to aristocrats and merchants. Some collectors, like Yelena Borisova-Musatova, Alexandra Botkina, Vladimir Girshman and Mikhail Ryabushinsky, voluntarily gave their art collections to the Fund, worried about their safety in the turbulent years of the revolution and Civil War. The best parts of the famous collections assembled by Fyodor Pryanishnikov and Kozma Soldatyonkov, previously kept at Moscow’s Rumyantsev and Public Museums, were passed to the Tretyakov Gallery in 1925. Alexander Ivanov’s artistic legacy - including the painting “The Appearance of Christ to the People” and its preparatory studies and drawings - were sent to the Gallery at the same time. In 1932 this monumental composition was displayed at the Gallery, in a room specially appointed for the purpose. In 1924-1925 some of the European artwork from the Gallery’s holdings was reassigned to the Museum of Fine Arts and the newly created Museum of New Western Art in Moscow. Thus, the Gallery became a museum dedicated solely to Russian visual art.

Alexander IVANOV. The Appearance of Christ to the People. 1837-1857
Alexander IVANOV. The Appearance of Christ to the People. 1837-1857
Oil on canvas. 540 × 750 cm. Tretyakov Gallery

In the late 1920s the Gallery set up a department of “newest” modern painting, which started acquiring works by members of the leading artistic groups, including the Association of Artists of Revolutionary Russia (1922-1932) and the Society of Easel Painters (1925-1931). When the Museum of Visual Culture was closed, a large portion of its holdings was sent to the Gallery in 1929. Such items included compositions by Wassily Kandinsky, Kazimir Malevich, Ivan Kliun, Vladimir Tatlin, Lyubov Popova, Olga Rozanova, Alexander Rodchenko, Alexander Drevin, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova and others. From that time onwards, the Tretyakov Gallery has been home to the work of the great Russian avant-garde artists. The museum policies of the 1920s would determine the Gallery’s distinctive character for many years to come.

It was decided at that time that the Gallery’s exhibition space was in need of expansion, with a new wing to be added to its main building, and the premises technically refurbished. The construction of a two-storey structure, designed by Alexei Shchusev, the Gallery’s director in 1926-1929, was finished in 1936.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s the political atmosphere in the Soviet state changed, with a new focus on a mass propaganda campaign extolling the new socialist way of life, industrialization and collectivization. In 1931, the department of “newest” trends became the department of Soviet art, which cardinally changed the museum’s acquisitions policy. The Regulations issued in 1933 set forth the museum’s main objectives: “The Tretyakov Gallery is an academic and educational institution whose mission is to study, showcase, and politically educate people about, paintings, graphic works, sculptures, applied art objects and architectural landmarks created by the Russian people and the peoples of the USSR in the periods, consecutively, of feudalism, capitalism and the transition from capitalism to socialism. The Tretyakov Gallery illuminates art as a special form of class ideology.”[15]

Alexander DEINEKA. Goalkeeper. 1934
Alexander DEINEKA. Goalkeeper. 1934
Oil on canvas. 119 × 352 cm. Tretyakov Gallery

In 1933, the Gallery received a large number of compositions by Alexander Deineka, Alexei Korin, Pyotr Konchalovsky, Mikhail Nesterov and Ilya Mashkov which had been displayed at two important exhibitions - one featuring artwork created by artists of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic over 15 years, and another devoted to the 15th anniversary of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army. In the 1930s, the Gallery started collecting artwork created in the Soviet republics and was granted the right of first selection of paintings and sculptures from most exhibitions. That allowed the Gallery to put together its collection of compelling and impressive works of art in the style of Socialist Realism.

In the late 1920-early 1930s the Gallery’s halls were redesigned in conformity with the then popular sociology of arts, the result known as “Experimental Marxist Exposition”. Intended to destroy the idea of “classless” art, the new exhibition format was curated by the famous art scholars Alexei Fedorov-Davydov and Natalya Kovalenskaya, who rejected the traditional historical-monographic format of showcasing Russian art and arranged the display along the lines of socio-economic formations. However, this “Marxist exposition” failed the test of time and in 1935 the Tretyakov Gallery returned to its previous display principle. 1936 saw the start of a campaign against formalist art across the country, and all works by avant-garde artists were consigned to storage.

In the first weeks of the Great Patriotic War the Gallery’s staff faced the formidable task of sending its holdings into evacuation: the larger part was sent to Novosibirsk, a smaller part to Perm. Many of the Gallery’s employees were conscripted into the army, while some of the staff was evacuated to take care of the collections. Academic activities never ceased: the Gallery’s staff carried out educational projects, lecturing on Russian and Soviet art at military bases, in hospitals and schools in Moscow, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Solikamsk, Krasnoyarsk and Perm. During the war the Gallery held nine shows in Moscow, while its Novosibirsk affiliate organized about 20. During the shelling of Moscow in 1941-1942 the Gallery’s building was damaged, then subsequently restored in 1942-1944. A week after Victory Day, on May 17 1945, the Gallery opened a show featuring over 2,500 works. Returning from evacuation, the Tretyakov Gallery was the first among the country’s central museums to re-open to the public.

In the 1950s-1980s the Tretyakov Gallery organized many impressive exhibition and publishing projects. During that period it presented shows of Isaac Levitan (1960), Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin (1966), Konstantin Somov (1970), Nikolai Ge (1970-1971), Mikhail Dobuzhinsky (1975) and Vasily Perov (19841985), as well as themed exhibitions such as “Andrei Rublev and His Times” (1960), “Icons of the Northern Schools” (1964), “Portraits of Peter the Great’s Era” (1973), “First Exhibition of the Wanderers: 1871-1872” (1971-1972), “The Self-portrait in Russian and Soviet Art” (1976/1977) and others. During all that time the Gallery was also publishing catalogues of collections and exhibitions, collections of academic articles, as well as memoirs and archival documents devoted to the history of Russian art. Many of these publications have retained their value for art scholars to this day.

In the early 1980s the Gallery’s director Yury Korolev[16] initiated a large-scale refurbishment of the museum. Its main objective was to create a large museum compound at Lavrushinsky Pereulok, and one of the project’s goals was to expand the exhibition facilities and restoration workshops, as well as re-equip the old building while preserving its historical appearance. In 1985 it was decided to merge the Tretyakov Gallery and the Picture Gallery of the USSR, located at Krymsky Val, preserving the historical name Tretyakov Gallery. Few people know that the decision to erect the building on Krymsky Val was adopted as early as 1956, in the Gallery’s centennial year. However, in 1959-1962 that project was amended and the structure on Krymsky Val was re-assigned to the Picture Gallery of the USSR and the Union of Artists. Construction of the building, to a design by Yury Sheverdyaev, Nikolai Sukoyan, Mikhail Kruglov and others, was completed in the late 1970s.

In the 1980s, during this period of reconstruction, some of the Moscow museums devoted to individual artists - including Viktor Vasnetsov, Apollinary Vasnetsov, Anna Golubkina and Pavel Korin - were incorporated into the Gallery as research departments. A 17th century architectural landmark, the Church of St. Nicholas in Tolmachy, was also incorporated into the Gallery, and has been functioning as part-museum and part-church since 1997. Since 1999 the miracle-working icon the “Vladimir Mother of God”, a highly venerated Orthodox relic, has been displayed at the church.

Since the late 1980s, the Tretyakov Gallery has organized a series of exhibitions devoted to the great Russian artists of the avant-garde - solo shows of Wassily Kandinsky (1989), Kazimir Malevich (1989), Lyubov Popova (1990), Pavel Filonov (1990) , El Lissitzky (1990), “Marc Chagall in Russia” (1991) , Vladimir Tatlin (1994), as well as the themed exhibition “The Great Utopia. 1915-1932. Russian Avant-garde” (1993). One of the most-discussed events of that period was “The Other Art” exhibition (1991), featuring non-conformist (“unofficial”) art of the 1950s-1980s, which had been previously inaccessible to the general public.

Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val, permanent exhibition of 20th century art. Hall No. 6, Kazimir Malevich, “Black Square”, 1915
Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val, permanent exhibition of 20th century art. Hall No. 6, Kazimir Malevich, “Black Square”, 1915

 

THE TRETYAKOV GALLERY TODAY

Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val
Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val

Currently the Tretyakov Gallery occupies two main sites: the historical building on Lavrushinsky Pereulok is home to the part of the collection which starts with the collection of Old Russian art, the finest in the world, of the 11th-17th centuries, and ends with the key stylistic trends and artistic groupings of the late 19th-early 20th centuries. The Krymsky Val building accommodates its direct continuation, featuring artwork spanning the period from the 1910s through to the late 20th-early 21st centuries, including its “newest” trends.

Today the Tretyakov Gallery is a modern museum of the new type, open to the boldest, most daring artistic experimentation. In the last three years the growth of its creative potential has been especially remarkable: the museum adopted its New Development Concept, elaborated by Event Communications together with AEA and Rem Koolhaas’s architectural firm OMA/AMO. The growth in the numbers of visitors to the museum - by one and a half times, from 1.372 million in 2014 to 2.325 million in 2016 - is further evidence that the institution is gaining popularity and public influence.

“Intensive ХХ”, a joint project with the Department for Transport and Road Infrastructure Development, is intended to popularize the avant-garde. Soon these images displayed in carriages of the Moscow metro will be replaced with artwork of the 1930s-1950s, which in turn will give way to the modern, non-conformist art of the 1970s-1980s.

Every year the Gallery hosts a range of interesting events, such as a joint project with the Moscow Film School and the chamber music festival VIVARTE. Concerts, festivals, screenings of Russian and international films, as well as a wide selection of educational programmes and lectures have become commonplace. Systemic efforts are being made to accommodate the disabled.

Every year the Tretyakov Gallery organizes more than 30 exhibitions devoted to different periods in the history of art, from Byzantine icons to the newest trends, many of which have broken records in terms of attendance and media attention. Among such examples have been major shows of Valentin Serov and Ivan Aivazovsky, and the unprecedented recent exhibition of works from the Vatican. The Gallery is presently preparing a reciprocal project, a display of masterpieces of Russian art in the Charlemagne Hall of the Vatican, scheduled for autumn 2018.

Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val. Opening of the Valentin Serov exhibition, October 6 2015. Photo: E. Alexeev
Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val. Opening of the Valentin Serov exhibition, October 6 2015. Photo: E. Alexeev

In 2018, the Tretyakov Gallery plans shows of Vasily Vereshchagin on Krymsky Val and Arkhip Kuindzhi in the Engineering Building, to be followed in 2019 by Ilya Repin at Krymsky Val and Vasily Polenov in the Engineering Building. Alongside such major projects the Gallery’s staff is preparing shows which, while obviously not likely to cause a great furore, matter a great deal for the museum. For instance, the exhibition titled “A Certain 1917”, scheduled to open in September 2017, will be devoted to the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, presenting its story of that dramatic era through works of art created in 1917-1918. At the end of 2018, together with Moscow’s Jewish Museum and Tolerance Centre, the Gallery will present an El Lissitzky show, featuring the artist’s works brought from Western Europe, Azerbaijan and Canada, with one of Lissitzky’s works, created in Germany, coming to Russia for the first time. The Gallery has organized various unique exhibitions abroad, including one presented at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2016.

The Tretyakov Gallery works to make sure that all exhibitions, those in Russia today and those which, over the last decade, have been planned abroad with active input from our specialists, as well as those brought to Russia, become projects that meet the highest international standards, in keeping with the spirit of the times both conceptually and practically. Since early 2017 the Gallery has been participating in the festival “The Thaw: Facing the Future”, a collaborative project of several museums devoted to the life of post-war society in the USSR and Europe. Prints of 30 compositions from “The Thaw” are on display at the Leningrad and Yaroslav railway stations in Moscow, as well as in cities with which the Tretyakov Gallery maintains contacts, including Kazan, Vyatka, Nizhny Novgorod, Chelyabinsk, Samara, Rostov-on-Don, Novosibirsk and Khabarovsk.

Construction of a new building for the Gallery on Kadashevskaya Embankment is currently underway, which when completed will provide the museum with a new exhibition space, an accessible storage location, and restoration workshops. The Krymsky Val building is due for reconstruction, with the project preserving its Soviet modernist exterior while the interior is transformed. Presently the Gallery is involved with the “Museum Mile” project together with the MUZEON Fallen Monument Park, Gorky Park, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, and the V-A-C Foundation. The reconstruction of the museums of Pavel Korin and Anna Golubkina is underway, as well as a project to reconstruct the Tretyakov family home, where the Gallery’s founders were born.

Augmenting collections is a key activity for any museum, and it is especially important for the Tretyakov Gallery with its collection of Russian art spanning the period from the 11th to the 21st century, since the museum began its life as Pavel Tretyakov’s private collection, primarily of contemporary art.

The Gallery’s collection lacks many important pieces by such famous Russian artists as Ilya Kabakov, Erik Bulatov, Oleg Kulik, Vladimir Dubossarsky and Alexander Vinogradov, and the same can be said about artists of the previous generation, including non-conformist artists: the Gallery has a considerable gap to fill with respect to such figures. Eager to correct this state of affairs, the Gallery has turned for assistance to patrons of arts and collectors and started negotiating on the acquisition of a number of seminally important works by Russian artists of the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Over the coming months, such gaps in our collection will continued to be filled. Acquiring works by young artists is another, no less important direction of future activity.

It should be mentioned that the Gallery’s holdings do not currently include a single video art work.

One of the items the Gallery is set to acquire in the nearest future is the Blue Soup art group’s video installation “The Sea”, which will be something of an epigraph to the Aivazovsky show. In addition, one of the Gallery’s partners has expressed a wish to present to the museum a collection of 20 video art installations.

The concept of the reconstruction of the Krymsky Val campus is ongoing, with plans to display publicly some of its reserve collections. It is to be hoped that the results of these initiatives will be on display in 2017.

The world of museums is emerging from isolation. The awareness of the significance of such institutions as museums is increasing today all around the world, and the Tretyakov Gallery is actively participating in the construction and development of such a shared museum space.

  1. Pavel Tretyakov’s “Letter of Bequest”, dated 17 (29) May 1860. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. Fund 1, item 4750.
  2. This piece has a signed note of purchase attached to it.
  3. In addition to Vasily Perov’s work, Pavel Tretyakov acquired two other paintings banned by the censors: Ilya Repin’s “Ivan the Terrible and His Son Ivan on November 16 1581” (1885, Tretyakov Gallery) and Nikolai Ge’s “'What is Truth?’ Christ and Pilate” (1890, Tretyakov Gallery).
  4. Pavel Tretyakov’s letter to Apollinary Goravsky [January 1861]. In: “Artists’ Letters to Pavel Mikhailovich Tretyakov. 1856-1869”. Moscow: 1960. P. 303.
  5. Pavel Tretyakov’s letter to Sofia Amalia Kukolnik, August 16 1870. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. Fund 1. Item 4751. Sheet 99.
  6. Pavel Tretyakov’s letter to Pavel Chistyakov, April 11 1879. In: Chistyakov, Pavel. “Letters. Diaries. Memoirs. 1832-1919”. Moscow: 1953. P. 97.
  7. Pavel Tretyakov’s letter to Lev Tolstoy, June 29 1894. “Lev Tolstoy’s Correspondence with Pavel Tretyakov”. Published by M. Babenchikov. In: “Literaturnoe nasledstvo” (Literary Heritage), Vol. 37/38: Lev Tolstoy. Moscow: 1939. P. 262.
  8. Ibid. P. 602.
  9. Benois, Alexandre. “History of Russian Painting of the 19th Century”. Moscow: 1995. P. 342.
  10. Pavel Tretyakov’s letter to Vasily Vereshchagin, June 22 1887. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. Fund 1. Item 66.
  11. “Catalogue of Pavel and Sergei Tretyakov’s City Gallery”. Edition 27. Moscow: 1917. P. X.
  12. Nesterov, Mikhail. “Bygone Days (Memories, Essays, Letters)”. Ufa: 1986. P. 443.
  13. The Department of Fine Arts of the People’s Commissariat of Education in the 1920s-1930s was a state agency responsible for education, academia, libraries, museums, theatres, the protection of cultural and architectural landmarks, artistic groups, and the like.
  14. The State Museum Fund accumulated nationalized and confiscated valuables. Its mission was to redistribute artwork for the purpose of establishing museums of fine arts and local history across the country.
  15. “Regulations Concerning the Tretyakov Gallery”. 1933. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery. Fund 8.I. Item 187. Sheet 1.
  16. Korolev, Yury Konstantinovich (1929-1992), People’s Artist of the USSR (1985) and director of the Tretyakov Gallery (1980-1992).

Illustrations

Ivan KRAMSKOI. Portrait of Pavel Tretyakov. 1876
Ivan KRAMSKOI. Portrait of Pavel Tretyakov. 1876
Oil on canvas. 59 × 49 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Ilya REPIN. Portrait of Pavel Tretyakov. 1901. Фрагмент
Ilya REPIN. Portrait of Pavel Tretyakov. 1901
Oil on canvas. 111 × 134 cm. Tretyakov Gallery Detail
Pavel Tretyakov. First half of the 1880s
Pavel Tretyakov. First half of the 1880s
Photograph by K.Fisher from the negative by Dyagovchenko in Moscow. 11 Kuznetsky Most. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
Viktor VASNETSOV. Diploma from the Moscow City Duma on conferring upon Pavel Tretyakov the title of Honorary Citizen of Moscow. 1897
Viktor VASNETSOV. Diploma from the Moscow City Duma on conferring upon Pavel Tretyakov the title of Honorary Citizen of Moscow. 1897
Vasily KHUDYAKOV. A Brawl with Finnish Contrabandists. 1853
Vasily KHUDYAKOV. A Brawl with Finnish Contrabandists. 1853
Oil on canvas. 95.6 × 133.6 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Detail of the Tretyakov Gallery façade (drawing by Viktor Vasnetsov) printed in the “World of Art” magazine. 1900
Detail of the Tretyakov Gallery façade (drawing by Viktor Vasnetsov) printed in the “World of Art” magazine. 1900
Sergei Tretyakov. 1885
Sergei Tretyakov. 1885
Albumin print. Atelier “Levitsky&Son”. Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
The exposition of the Tretyakov Gallery. Photograph, 1900
The exposition of the Tretyakov Gallery. Photograph, 1900
Department of Manuscripts, Tretyakov Gallery
The Tretyakov family house in Tolmachy. 1890s
The Tretyakov family house in Tolmachy. 1890s
Tretyakov Gallery
The 'Vladimir Mother of God' icon, also known as the “Theotokos of Vladimir” or “Our Lady of Vladimir”. First third of the 12th century
The “Vladimir Mother of God" icon, also known as the “Theotokos of Vladimir” or “Our Lady of Vladimir”. First third of the 12th century
Constantinople. Tempera on wood. 103.8 × 69.1 сm. Tretyakov Gallery
Andrei RUBLEV. The Old Testament Trinity. 1422-1427
Andrei RUBLEV. The Old Testament Trinity. 1422-1427
Moscow. Tempera on wood. 142 × 114 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Ivan KRAMSKOI. Portrait of Ivan Shishkin. 1873
Ivan KRAMSKOI. Portrait of Ivan Shishkin. 1873
Oil on canvas. 110.5 × 78 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Fyodor VASILYEV. In the Crimean Mountains. 1873
Fyodor VASILYEV. In the Crimean Mountains. 1873
Oil on canvas. 116 × 90 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Alexei SAVRASOV. The Rooks Have Arrived. 1871
Alexei SAVRASOV. The Rooks Have Arrived. 1871
Oil on canvas. 62 × 48.5 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Ivan KRAMSKOI. Portrait of Vera Tretyakova. 1876
Ivan KRAMSKOI. Portrait of Vera Tretyakova. 1876
Oil on canvas. 226 × 148 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Vasily PUKIREV. The Unequal Marriage. 1862
Vasily PUKIREV. The Unequal Marriage. 1862
Oil on canvas. 173 × 136.5 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Ilya REPIN. Portrait of Lev Tolstoy. 1887
Ilya REPIN. Portrait of Lev Tolstoy. 1887
Oil on canvas. 124 x 88 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Nikolai KUZNETSOV. Portrait of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 1893
Nikolai KUZNETSOV. Portrait of Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 1893
Oil on canvas. 96 × 74 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Valentin SEROV. Girl in the Sunlight. 1888
Valentin SEROV. Girl in the Sunlight. 1888
Oil on canvas. 89.2 × 71.3 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Jules BASTIEN-LEPAGE. Village Lovers. 1882
Jules BASTIEN-LEPAGE. Village Lovers. 1882
Oil on canvas. 199.7 × 189 cm. Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts
Ilya MASHKOV. Self-portrait. 1911
Ilya MASHKOV. Self-portrait. 1911
Oil on canvas. 137 × 107 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Pyotr KONCHALOVSKY. Portrait of Georgy Yakulov. 1910
Pyotr KONCHALOVSKY. Portrait of Georgy Yakulov. 1910
Oil on canvas. 176 × 143 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Ilya MASHKOV. Portrait of Yevgenia Kirkaldy (Lady and a Chinese Woman). 1910
Ilya MASHKOV. Portrait of Yevgenia Kirkaldy (Lady and a Chinese Woman). 1910
Oil on canvas. 166 × 124.5 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Pyotr KONCHALOVSKY. Self-portrait in Grey. 1911
Pyotr KONCHALOVSKY. Self-portrait in Grey. 1911
Oil on canvas. 141.5 × 112.5 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Alexander KUPRIN. Still-life with Pumpkin. 1912
Alexander KUPRIN. Still-life with Pumpkin. 1912
Oil on canvas. 89 × 98 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Natalia GONCHAROVA. Chinese Still-life. c. 1910
Natalia GONCHAROVA. Chinese Still-life. c. 1910
Oil on canvas. 139.5 × 104 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Mikhail NESTEROV. Self-portrait. 1928
Mikhail NESTEROV. Self-portrait. 1928
Oil on canvas. 103 × 92 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Alexander DEINEKA. Mother. 1932
Alexander DEINEKA. Mother. 1932
Oil on canvas. 120 × 159 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Alexander DEINEKA. Before Going Down a Mine. 1925
Alexander DEINEKA. Before Going Down a Mine. 1925
Oil on canvas. 248 × 210 cm. Tretyakov Gallery
Tretyakov Gallery on Lavrushinsky Lane, Mikhail Vrubel Hall. Concert in the 2nd International Chamber Music Festival VIVARTE, 2017. Photo: A. Zamyatina
Tretyakov Gallery on Lavrushinsky Lane, Mikhail Vrubel Hall. Concert in the 2nd International Chamber Music Festival VIVARTE, 2017. Photo: A. Zamyatina
June 13 2017. Ceremonial presentation to the Tretyakov Gallery of Erik Bulatov’s “Painting and Audience” (2011-2013)
June 13 2017. Ceremonial presentation to the Tretyakov Gallery of Erik Bulatov’s “Painting and Audience” (2011-2013)
Photograph, from left to right: Erik Bulatov, Zelfira Tregulova, Vladimir Potanin, Arkady Dvorkovich. Photo: E. Alexeev
Design of the escalator of the “Park Kultury” metro station (Circle line). “Intensive XX” project, December 2016
Design of the escalator of the “Park Kultury” metro station (Circle line). “Intensive XX” project, December 2016
Interior design of the branded train “Intensiv XX”. Photo: E. Alexeev
Interior design of the branded train “Intensiv XX”. Photo: E. Alexeev
Construction of the new Tretyakov Gallery building on Kadashevskaya Embankment. Photo: E. Alexeev
Construction of the new Tretyakov Gallery building on Kadashevskaya Embankment. Photo: E. Alexeev

Back

Tags:
Download The Tretyakov Gallery Magazine in App StoreDownload The Tretyakov Gallery Magazine in Google play
title ?>" data-url="<?php print $node_url ?>" data-url_text="<?php print $content ?>">