A large part of the collection consists of paintings by European artists, with a particular emphasis on Russian Modernism. It developed over time modestly but purposefully. By the late 1960s, Abraham had acquired significant works including Proun (1924) by El Lissitzky and Abstract Composition (1916) by Nadezhda Udaltsoba, Portrait of a Woman (1911) by Alexander V. Jawlensky, Abstract Composition (1920c.) by Lajos Kassák, Portrait (1918c.) by Hugo Scheiber and others.
By the beginning of the 1970s, notable works by more significant artists were incorporated into the collection, including Three Apes In The Orange Grove (1907c.) by Henri J. F. Rousseau, Flower Bouquet (c. 1930) by Natalia Goncharova, Costume design for Romeo and Juliette (1921) by Alexandra Exster ,and Figure (1930) by Joan Miró. Lyubov Popova’s Portrait Collage (1915) and Vera Pestel’s Collage with Blue Pot (1916), artists who were nearly unknown to the general public at the time, were added by the mid 1970s. In the late 1970s, works by lesser-known artists such as Nikolai Pirosmani-Shvili, Farmer with a Bull (1916), Sergei Senkin, Abstract Composition (1921), Alexander Vesnin, Suprematist Composition (1918) and others were acquierd. The significance of their contributions to the history of modern art would become known in the West art only later in the 1980s.
The political backdrop to Abraham’s collecting activities is important. Given the turmoil of war and social unrest at mid-century, it was not an easy task to collect works of art, given the uncertainty of regional and international stability. There was also a learning curve in terms of where to look for the best works and how to evaluate their worthiness. A growing circle of consultants and trusted advisors were key to a more purposeful approach to acquisitions. Today, the Foundation aims to continue this work, with an eye towards the importance of his example and legacy for future generations.
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