The State Hermitage Museum is pleased to announce a pledge of three plasters by the French artist Edgar Degas (1834-1917) and two oil paintings by the Russian artist Vladimir Sterligov (1904–1973). This pledge is to honor the long-lasting relations between the State Hermitage Museum and the M.T. Abraham Foundation, which emphasize the close ties between Russia and Israel, and as part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of the State of Israel. The pledge adds a great significance to the museum’s permanent collection of French Impressionist sculpture and of Russian post war art.
The ceremony of presenting the donation was attended by: Director of the State Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky; President of the M.T. Abraham Foundation, President of the Hermitage Museum Foundation Israel Amir Kabiri; Consul General of the State of Israel to St. Petersburg Olga Slov.
“The donation we have received today is not just a wonderful gift, but also the one that has a great scientific, political and cultural meaning. Most importantly, this donation adds to the development of excellent relations between the Hermitage and our friends in Israel. We have formal friends in Israel and a significant number of people who have been our friends for many years, like Amir Kabiri and his great family. This donation reflects our ongoing friendship and our mutual assistance”, said the Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky.
“10 years ago I met with the Director of the Hermitage Mikhail Piotrovsky, and I never imagined that many years after that meeting, I would be standing here for such a wonderful occasion. For us, for my whole family, being here today is not only a great honor, but also a privilege. Both the Hermitage Foundation Israel and the M.T. Abraham Foundation contributed greatly to this donation”, said Amir Kabiri.
“I am very glad to be here today because we have gathered for a wonderful occasion – the presentation of the donation to the Hermitage. However, what is no less significant is the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, which we formally celebrated last year. I would like to thank Mikhail Piotrovsky for all his efforts to make this event come true. We have many joint projects with the Hermitage. A new exhibition will open very soon, where the Afghan geniza from the National Library of Israel will be presented, and we really hope that the collaboration between the Hermitage and Israel will continue in the future”, emphasized Olga Slov, Consul General of the State of Israel to St. Petersburg.
Edgar Degas is considered as one of the most complex and intellectual Impressionist. He has been described, often paradoxically, as both conservative and cutting-edge, as elegant and aristocratic — yet also as a revolutionary. Take for example Femme Sortant du Bain (Woman Getting Out of the Bath). There is no tub as such — only movement of the woman ascending upward, leaving to the viewer’s imagination that she is about to step over a tub’s rim. The other two Degas plasters being donated are Danse Espangole (Spanish Dance) and Danseuse Regardantla Plantde Son Pied Droit (Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot). Both are prime examples of Degas’ exceptional series of sculptures depicting dancers in variousposes.
The two oil on canvas paintings, which are a part of the pledge, outline restoration atthe Hermitage and are dated circa 1946. In 1946 Vladimir Sterligov, a Nonconformist artist, a pupil of Kazimir Malevich and a founder of his own art school, was commissioned by the Leningrad Council of Artists to paint the Restoration of the Hermitage to record the museum’s rebirth after the war and siege. Between 1946 and 1948 he was making sketches in the Ancient Sculpture Rooms which were then undergoingrestoration.
Sterligov’s drawings are a testimony to the process which was not recorded on film. In 1948 the so-called “Leningrad Case” was fabricated, and even mentioning the struggle of the Leningraders during the siege and after the liberation of the city was now dangerous, which affected the fate of the painting and prevented it from being completed. The two paintings were part of the exhibition “The Unpainted Picture. Vladimir Sterligov, restoration of the Hermitage 1946–1948”, which took place on May 2016 at the State HermitageMuseum.
The M.T. Abraham Foundation, which is celebrating 15 years since its establishment, is encouraging scholarship and research in art history, and to that end it organizes international traveling exhibitions of works from the Foundation’s own collection of Impressionist and Modern art to museums and art institutions worldwide.
In its desire to contribute to museums and art institutions to stimulate an appreciation of culture and the history of the arts, the Foundation is continually expanding its current collection with the aim of creating a wide-ranging and comprehensive body of works from which traveling exhibitions can be mounted.