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A room full of MoMA in St Petersburg's Hermitage Museum

This marks the first in a series of planned loans of modern and contemporary American works from MoMA to the Hermitage

The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg has opened an exhibition of three Abstract Expressionist paintings from the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA).

The paintings, Willem de Kooning's “A tree in Naples”, 1960, Franz Kline's “White forms”, 1955, and Robert Motherwell's “Elegy to the Spanish republic, 54” 1957-61, are on display until 15 August. They are just the first in a series of planned loans of modern and contemporary American works from MoMA to the Hermitage. "Although the Russian public has many opportunities to view outstanding examples of European modernism, both in their own Russian museum collections and through loan shows, there has been virtually no postwar American art seen in Russia until now", explained Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the Hermitage. "This series of loans strengthens and extends the relationship that already exists between the Museum of Modern Art and the Hermitage and its director", said Glenn Lowry, director of MoMA. "We hope to bring a larger appreciation of MoMA's collection to a new and different audience."

Neither MoMA nor Hermitage officials would provide details about insurance on the three paintings. Piotrovsky, however, commented that it was more than a million dollars, and that such costs, as well as transport, had been covered by the American side. The three paintings are on display in a small room, in the vicinity of the Hermitage's early twentieth-century masterpieces, that is from now on specially reserved for works of art from MoMA. The programme, titled "The MoMA room in the Hermitage", is part of Piotrovsky's effort to better acquaint Russian audiences with contemporary American art, and he is working on opening a similar room in the Hermitage for the Guggenheim Museum. "In no other museum in the world is one room permanently set aside for the works of art from another museum", said Mr Piotrovsky.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'A room full of MoMA in St Petersburg'