Nine Hundred Years of Masterpieces and Master Collections
Building upon 20 years of groundbreaking exhibitions of Russian avant-garde art--including The Great Utopia: Russian and Soviet Art 1915-1932 (1992) and Kazimir Malevich: Suprematism (2003), among others--the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum presents this blockbuster show, which demonstrates that Russia's contributions to world art history extends far beyond the early twentieth century. Like the exhibition, this catalogue explores the vast and complex phenomenon embodied by the word "Russia" through the lens of the masterworks of Russian art from the twelfth century to today, as well as art from the world-class collections amassed by Russian tsars and merchants from the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries. The remarkable and interconnected history of Russian art and Russia's most important collections over nine centuries includes icons, portraiture in both painting and sculpture, social realist works since the nineteenth century, landscapes from all periods, pioneering abstraction, and experimental contemporary art. Librarian of Congress and renowned historian of Russia James Billington contributes the introductory essay, providing a context for the more specialized selections by Robert Rosenblum, Evgenia Petrova, Lidia Iovleva, Mikhail Allenov, Alexander Borovsky, Alexander Kostenevich, Valerie Hillings and others. The book's design subtly evokes the six major periods covered--Medieval Russia (twelfth to seventeenth centuries), the epoch of Peter and Catherine (the eighteenth century), the nineteenth century, the early twentieth century, the 1930s-1960s, and the 1970s to present. This scope makes Russia one of the most comprehensive sources on the history of Russian art ever to be published in English. The companion publication, Russia Catalogue of the Exhibition , provides expanded and detailed, curatorial information for each work in the exhibition.