It’s been 119 years since one of the most important modern art collections in history has been available to the public. Owned by Russian textile tycoon Sergei Shchukin, the 130 works of art are now being exhibited at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris until February 20, 2017. The Icons of Modern Art exhibit features works amassed between 1897 and 1914 and showcases artists such as Degas, Monet, Matisse, Picasso and Van Gogh.
Shchukin’s history with his collection also makes this exhibition even more significant. During the Bolshevik Revolution the tycoon’s collection was taken from him since it was declared that art should be owned by the public and not individuals. The collection was then ordered by Stalin to be hidden until his death (1953). Over the following years, the art slowly began to resurface in museums, and Shchukin’s grandson began working to bring the pieces together as one collection, within one exhibition.
Today Shchukin’s collection is in one place and will be featured across the entire museum, following his original viewpoint on displaying the art. “The Shchukin is easily the most important collection of early 20th-century Modern art in Russia, and certainly one of the most important in the world,” Anne Umland, a senior curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York told The New York Times. “It’s an unparalleled and not-to-be-missed opportunity to see this group of work brought back together.” A catalogue will be published for the exhibition in English, French and Russian.