The impact of the trailblazing Russian patron Sergei Shchukin has been firmly established in the annals of modern art. In 2016–17 there was a sell-out exhibition of works from his collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris, and Natalya Semenova’s detailed biography of him followed in 2018. Yet all this has served to overshadow the patronage of the equally percipient Ivan Morozov, seventeen years Shchukin’s junior. Shchukin, the more expansive personality, was sociable and welcomed visitors to his collection, often giving them a guided tour himself. By contrast, Morozov was private and reticent and shared his paintings and sculptures with only a select few. Even Matisse had to write to Morozov twice to plead with him to allow a respected German art collector to see the remarkable displays of art in his Moscow home.
It is now Morozov’s turn to enjoy the spotlight. Spurred by the success of its exhibition of Shchukin’s collection, the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris is currently hosting ‘Icons of Modern Art: The Morozov Collection’ (until February 2022), having been compelled by the pandemic to postpone the original opening.