Photo Gallery: Pioneers of Modern Art

At the turn of the 20th century, Paris was the center of the art world. The first significant avant-garde art movement of the time took place in the studios of Matisse, Picasso, Derain, and their contemporaries, who liberated painting from the academic traditions. Two Moscow businessmen — Ivan Morozov and Sergey Shchukin — supported the experimental efforts of these visionaries and, in the process, assembled impressive collections of their works.

With the start of World War I in 1914, however, Morozov and Shchukin’s collecting came to an end and shortly thereafter — during the October Revolution of 1917 — their artworks were seized by the new Socialist government. Years later, the highly valued collections were turned over to the state-run Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts and the Hermitage St. Petersburg, where most of them have remained on permanent exhibition — at least until now.

For the first time, a selection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by these daring Parisian bohemian artists, as well as their radical Russian counterparts, Kandinsky and Malevich, are on view in the exhibition Matisse to Malevich: Pioneers of Modern Art from the Hermitage at the Hermitage Amsterdam, through September 17.

Click through below for a gallery of our favorite works.

Henri Matisse, Game of Bowls, 1908 © Succession H. Matisse c/o Pictoright Amsterdam 2010