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Winner of the 2021 The Art Newspaper Russia Prize

The first account of Ivan Morozov and his ambition to build one of the world’s greatest collections of modern art

A wealthy Moscow textile merchant, Morozov started buying art in a modest way in 1900 until, on a trip to Paris, he developed a taste for the avant-garde. Meticulous and highly discerning, he acquired works by the likes of Monet, Pissarro, and Cezanne. Unlike his friendly rival Sergei Shchukin, he collected Russian as well as European art. Altogether he spent 1.5 million francs on 486 paintings and 30 sculptures—more than any other collector of the age.
Natalya Semenova traces Morozov’s life, family, and achievements, and sheds light on the interconnected worlds of European and Russian art at the turn of the century. Morozov always intended to leave his art to the state—but with the Revolution in 1917 he found himself appointed “assistant curator” to his own collection. He fled Russia and his collection was later divided between Moscow and St. Petersburg, only to languish in storage for decades.

Morozov: The Story of a Family and a Lost Collection is being published to coincide with "The Morozov Collection" exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, in September 2021


Praise for Mozorov:

"A century of Russian culture distilled in the story of the life, family and collection of the lavish, lazy, kindly, eccentric grandson of a serf who brought Monet and Matisse to Moscow, waited three years for the right 'Blue Gauguin'—and survived the first years of Bolshevik rule."—Jackie Wullschläger, Financial Times "Best Books of 2020: Visual Arts"

"Semenova was wise to widen the focus, and make this the biography of a family, and also of a collection … The descriptions of their activities read like raw material for Gogol or Dostoevsky." Martin Gayford, Spectator

"It is difficult to imagine what further revelations might usurp [Semenova’s] volumes on Morozov and Shchukin as the definitive studies of their patronage … These far-sighted Russian patrons merit their own place in the story of modern French art." Rosalind P. Blakesley, Literary Review

"What is clear to me ... is the need we now have of that harmony, that tranquillity and joy, that Ivan Morozov sought and found in the paintings that, one way or another, he bequeathed to posterity." —Simon Wilson, Royal Academy Magazine

"This book is a tribute to the commitment of a patron of the arts and a timely warning about the arbitrary power of the state to destroy and mishandle material." Alexander Adams, Alexander Adams Art

"The art historian Natalya Semenova, who told the story of Shchukin and his collection three years ago, now brings her expertise and narrative verve to the less well-known Morozov." Lesley Chamberlain, Times Literary Supplement

"Semenova has performed a valuable service in telling us this entertaining story of how Morozov first brought [his collection] together ... Something that all art lovers should be grateful for." Martin Bentham, Evening Standard

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