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Matisse to Malevich: Pioneers of Modern Art in Hermitage Amsterdam

DutchAmsterdam.nl — From March 6th to September 17th, 2010 Hermitage Amsterdam is exhibiting one of the best collections of French paintings in the world from the late 19th and early 20th century.

The exhibition “Pioneers of Modern Art: Matisse to Malevich” includes the finest paintings including Picasso, Matisse, Van Dongen, De Vlaminck and Derain. They are considered to be the pioneers of modernism.

It was once primarily the private collectors who brought together such art. After the October Revolution of 1917 many works ended up in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, which has one of the world’s finest collections of French painting of the early twentieth century.

Works by these artists would normally be shown at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam’s world-renowned museum of modern art. But as that venue remains closed due to a large-scale renovation project that has been plagued by many delays the Hermitage provides a good alternative.

Apart from the world-famous French masters, such equally celebrated Russian contemporaries as Malevich and Kandinsky will be represented. These artists are seen as the pioneers of Modernism.

Almost all the works exhibited are on permanent display in St.- Petersburg. Most come originally from the Moscow collections of Morozov and Shchukin.

This is the first time that this extensive collection of avant-garde masterpieces will be on display in the Netherlands.

The exhibition explores the origins of modern art as an art historical phenomenon, but also looks at the passion of the artists, when at a crucial moment in art history at the beginning of the last century they initiated a revolution in art.
– Source: Pioneers of Modern Art from the Hermitage: Matisse to Malevichoffsite

Due in part to the advent of photography these artists believed that it was no longer necessary to simply paint what their eyes could see.

Instead they produced a wild, vibrant style of expressionistic art that shocked critics, who referred to the group — led by Henri Matisse and André Derain — as “Les Fauves”, French for wild beasts. It was a term of derision, meant to convey their seeming lack of discipline.

But Fauvism has since been recognized as one of the seminal forces that drove modern art.
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This post was last updated: May. 18, 2011