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Works from collection of Marina and Nikolay Shchukin on view at The National Arts Club, New York
Alexey Kruchenykh, ‘El on shchi…” (he ate borsh), c. 1910s-1920s. paper, mixed media, collage.

NEW YORK, NY.- Thirty-five works on paper by some of Russia’s most notable modern artists from the private collection of Marina and Nikolay Shchukin opened at The National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, on May 19, 2014. From Primitivism to Propaganda: Russia’s Modern Masters, curated by Matthew Drutt, showcases works by celebrated and less-known Russian artists including Natalia Goncharova, Mikhail Larionov, Rosalia Rabinovich, the Stenberg brothers, Nikolai Suetin, and Pavel Tchelitchew. Most of these works have never before been shown in the West. The exhibition is part of the 12th Annual Russian Heritage Month®, a celebration of events and exhibits highlighting Russian culture.

Spanning a time frame of the first thirty years of the 20th century, the exhibition includes drawings, gouaches, watercolors, collages, sketches, costume designs, and propaganda posters from the collection of the Shchukins, founders of Gallery SHCHUKIN, which opened its New York branch earlier this month. In fitting testimony to the couple’s instincts as collectors, From Primitivism to Propaganda presents works by groundbreaking artists next to their often overlooked counterparts. The highlights of the exhibition include a selection of works by Mikhail Larionov, including his abstract collages alongside those by Aleksei Kruchenikh, a group of suprematist compositions by Nikolai Suetin, and several drawings Vladimir Bechteev and Vasily Bobrov, artists from Wassily Kandinsky’s circle, which will be a discovery for many. Powerful propaganda posters by Kiev-born Rosalia Rabinovich, who is best known outside Russia for her poster designs for the Soviet Pavilion at the 1937 Paris International Exhibition, are also included in the exhibition.

"This exhibition offers a selective and refreshing look at Russia’s most intensely fertile period of creativity before, during, and after the October Revolution," writes Matthew Drutt in the exhibition catalogue.

Marina and Nikolay Shchukin established Gallery SHCHUKIN in 1987 in Moscow to foster the careers of contemporary Russian artists and were among the first to introduce them to Western audiences. The gallery has since opened locations in Paris and New York, and has dedicated its activities to discovering and nurturing cutting-edge international talent. The Shchukins’ interests as art collectors range from indigenous handicrafts and works from the ancient period to contemporary art and this exhibition represents one of their areas of interest.

“While their collection is broad in scope, it is also by no means encyclopedic,” says Matthew Drutt, “Thus the current exhibition offers but a glimpse into the greater variety that characterizes their holdings.”

From Primitivism to Propaganda: Russia’s Modern Masters will be accompanied by the fully-illustrated catalog published by the Russian American Foundation. Opening reception: Wednesday, June 4, 5-7 pm.

Gallery SHCHUKIN is an international arts organization with a representative office in Moscow and gallery exhibition spaces in Paris and New York. Founded in 1987, the gallery specializes in modern and contemporary art and is dedicated to discovering and cultivating cutting edge contemporary artists. One of the first organizations to bring contemporary Russian art to international audiences, Gallery SHCHUKIN has exhibited many established and emerging artists, including David Datuna, Sasha Semenov, Andrey Shchelokov, Aladdin Garunov, Vladimir Migachev, Natalia Zaloznaya, Igor Tishin, and many others. Gallery SHCHUKIN frequently collaborates with prestigious art institutions, including the State Tretyakov Gallery (Moscow), The State Museum of The East (Moscow), among others, and participates in art fairs worldwide. In October 2013, Gallery SHCHUKIN expanded to Europe, opening an exhibition space on Avenue Matignon in Paris, France, with a solo exhibition of installations by David Datuna, “Power And Beauty.” The newest location of Gallery SHCHUKIN, a two-level, 3,500-square-foot space in the heart of New York’s Chelsea District, opened in spring 2014. Through exhibitions, publications, collaborations, and its non-profit component, “National Foundation for Art Collection,” Gallery SHCHUKIN continues to support and promote established gallery artists and introduce emerging talent.

The founder of Gallery SHCHUKIN, collector Nikolay Shchukin, is a former psychotherapist specializing in psychoanalysis. Presently, Mr. Shchukin works on the universal concept of psychology and sociology of art.

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