Hardback, two volumes
Covering nearly six hundred paintings, including pastels and watercolours, by nearly two hundred artists, this catalogue presents the full range of the Hermitage’s collection of French painting in the period, from Salon and Orientalist artists to Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Symbolists, Fauves, Nabis; Cézanne, Matisse and Picasso. The volume rounds off with works from the 1990s by Bernard Buffet and Pierre Soulages.
For the first time ever, the catalogue covers paintings removed from Germany at the end of the Second World War and now in the Hermitage.
These paintings not only tell the story of French painting but of Russian collectors, those forward-looking individuals of the second half of the nineteenth century and the start of the twentieth who often shocked society with their purchases of radical art. The most famous of these are the members of the Shchukin and Morozov families. There are also portraits of some of the leading figures in Russian society, from Countess Obolenskaya to Princess Zinaida Yusupova.
A summary English-language catalogue appeared in 1999 (Albert Kostenevich, French Art at the Hermitage: Bouguereau to Matisse 1860–1950) and a fuller Russian- language edition in Russian in 2008, but this covered just 465 entries on paintings and drawings and had only relatively brief entries, with black and white images of many works. Thus although many of the best-known paintings have been published, this is the first time that the whole collection – some 590 works – will be covered in a full scholarly catalogue complete with colour illustrations.
Dr Albert Kostenevich, has been curator at the Hermitage since the 1960s and has written extensively on French art and on the Russian collectors who were responsible for the magnificent collection in the Hermitage today. His book Matisse et la Russie was published by Flammarion in 1993. He is a member of the Société Paul Cézanne. Dr Catherine Phillips is an art historian who initiated the English-language publishing project for the Hermitage in 2003 and has translated several other volumes of catalogues for of the museum’s collection.