1948: Acquisition of the collection of European paintings of the late 19th - early 20th centuries from the former collections of Sergei Shchukin and Ivan Morozov
In 1948 a collection of 316 paintings was transferred to the Hermitage from the State Museum of New Western Art in Moscow, which had been closed just before the War. In this important event, the collections of the Museum of New Western Art were divided between the Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow. For the most part the Museum of New Western Art was made up of items from the collections of two famous Moscow collectors, Sergey Shchukin and Ivan Morozov.
The Hermitage acquired notable paintings by such celebrated late 19th- and early 20th-century artists as Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Gauguin, Marquet, Bonnard, Matisse and Picasso. On the advice of the Keeper of French painting, Antonina Izergina, the Director of the Hermitage Iosif Orbeli chose The Red Room, Dance and The Painter's Family by Matisse; Two Sisters (The Visit), Dance of the Veils and Three Women by Picasso; a triptych, The Mediterranean, by Pierre Bonnard. For more than eight years these fine works were not available to the public, as Soviet official art policy perceived them as degenerate. It was only in 1956, after the death of Stalin and with the coming of a more liberal era, that the Hermitage, jointly with the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, was able to open an exhibition entitled French Art of the 12th to 20th Centuries in USSR Museums. At last nearly all the paintings by Impressionists and Post-Impressionist