RUSSIA’S two greatest art museums are engaged in an unsightly public feud over an idea to revive a Moscow museum of Western art that was shut down by Stalin in the late 1940s.
The State Museum of New Western Art gathered the impressionist and early modern art collected by renowned Russian art collectors Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov in the late Tsarist era.
But it was closed on Stalin’s orders in 1948 as the Soviet authorities rejected anything reeking of “cosmopolitanism” in a drive to play up the importance of Soviet art.
Its collection was divided between the Pushkin Art Museum in Moscow and the famed Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, where the pictures can be seen to this day.
The redoubtable director of the Pushkin Museum, Irina Antonova, 91, last week personally asked President Vladimir Putin during his annual phone-in with Russians to consider reopening the museum in Moscow…
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