The dispute of museums caused a change of leadership in the Pushkin Museum Automatic translate
A few days ago, the newspaper The New York Times published a large article commenting on the situation with the change of leadership of the Pushkin Museum to them. Pushkin in Moscow. According to newspaper columnist Sofia Kishkovskaya, the resignation was the last chapter in a fierce dispute between the Pushkin Museum and the Hermitage for the work of Matisse, Picasso and other modern masters.
The feud of Russian museums with Putin in the middle. The director of the Pushkin Museum resigned after asking the president for support.
The resignation of Irina Antonova from the post of director of the State Museum of Fine Arts. Pushkin, according to the official version, is associated with her age. In fact, Antonova, who headed the museum since 1961, is already 91 years old.
This debate is about huge money. The Russian government has allocated about $ 700 million to restore and expand the Pushkin Museum, which opened in 1912, which will make it one of the largest cultural projects in Russia.
At a press conference convened on the occasion of the resignation of Antonova by the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky, the minister himself, and Irina Antonova, and her successor as director of the museum, Marina Loshak, denied this. Conference participants emphasized that Antonova remains to work in the new position of president of the museum, which will allow her to devote more time to her family.
Marina Loshak was presented as Antonova’s personal choice. But in a newspaper interview published in Izvestia last Friday, Irina Antonova said that she wanted to see one of the scientists in this position, but was forced to choose a receiver from the proposed list.
In late April, Irina Antonova went to aggravate the conflict with the Hermitage, asking President Putin to help restore the State Museum of New Western Art (GMNZI) under the auspices of the Pushkin Museum. The Museum of Western Art was opened in Moscow in 1923, and it was based on the collections of Sergei Schukin and Ivan Morozov, wealthy industrialists in pre-revolutionary Russia.
These collections, which included many of the most significant works of the late 19th - early 20th centuries, were nationalized by founding the GMNZI. However, by the decision of Stalin, in 1948 the museum was closed for ideological reasons, and dozens of valuable works from its funds were divided between the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.
Irina Antonova, who always strongly supported the idea of rebuilding the museum, told Vladimir Putin that Stalin’s unfair “from a moral point of view” should be reversed and the museum revived.
“Mr. President, modern Russia has done a lot to correct the injustices of the past regarding its citizens, but there is still a lot of work left in this direction,” she said. “All the works [from the closed museum] were transferred initially to our museum, but then part of the collection was transferred to the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Would you be ready to consider the possibility of returning this part [of the collection] and restore the museum, which will become a real cultural pearl of Moscow? ”
Note that those paintings that fell into the Hermitage are today one of its main attractions. Among them, for example, “Portrait of the Actress Jeanne Samari” by Renoir and “Dance with the Veils” by Picasso.
Vladimir Putin said he will support the idea of rebuilding the museum after experts discuss this possibility. After that, he turned to Mikhail Piotrovsky, who is known as an ardent supporter of the current president of Russia, with the question: “Mr. Piotrovsky, are you ready to return part of the collection to Moscow and help revive the museum of modern art?”
Mr. Piotrovsky, seemingly taken aback by this question, replied that a large collection of paintings by old masters had already been removed from the Hermitage funds and sent to Moscow back in 1920. Mr Putin stated that this fact should be taken into account.
The liberal intelligentsia of Moscow and St. Petersburg reacted differently to this dialogue. Irina Antonova was accused of exploiting the topic of errors of the Stalinist regime, as well as her role in the export of "captured art" inherited by Soviet troops from Nazi Germany. In St. Petersburg, even football fans, better known for their rejection of homosexuality and racism than for their love of culture, began to protect the treasures of the Hermitage.
(Nikolai Svanidze, a political commentator on Ekho Moskvy radio, said that Antonova would not be able to ask her question live without support at the highest level.)
Mr. Piotrovsky warned that any further forced redistribution of museum property could open Pandora’s box. Claims for restitution can cause irreparable damage to many more museums, and not just to the Hermitage.
“The museum should not be affected,” he said in an interview after the broadcast. “This is untouchable because it is not a store or gallery. Everything has its place. The collection located in the Hermitage has long been associated with all other museum collections with special types of spiritual and artistic connections in the eyes of visitors, so any violation of this will poorly characterize our museum community. ”
Geraldine Norman, a British art historian who acts as an adviser to Piotrovsky, said in an interview last Friday in St. Petersburg where she is working on a book about the post-Soviet history of the Hermitage that “the loss of these paintings would be a tragedy for the museum.”
With the inauguration of Marina Loshak, the situation around the revival of the GMNZI did not become less tense. Marina Devovna said that while she did not plan to repeat the request of Irina Antonova to Vladimir Putin, but she fully supported this proposal.
“This is a great idea,” she said of the restoration of the Museum of New Western Art. “But I think, and I say this to everyone, that this is not the task of museums. The state must decide how appropriate the reconstruction of this museum is. ”
Sophia Kishkowski, The New York Times.
Original: A Russian Museum Feud With Putin in the Middle. Pushkin Director Departs After Bid for President’s Support
Translation: Anna Sidorova © Gallerix.ru
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