Collector Culture of the Russian Avant-Garde
by Frank van Lamoen
by Frank van Lamoen
Fourth International Khardzhiev conference – Thessaloniki, October 22-23, 2021
In 2001, the loan of the eponymous Khardzhiev Foundation was transferred to the Stedelijk Museum. Nikolai Khardzhiev (1903-1996) was a Russian philologist and collector, who in his younger years entertained the ambition to document the history of Russian Futurism, a movement that united painters and writers. To this end, he brought together an art collection and documentary archive featuring work by artists such as Kazimir Malevich, Olga Rozanova, Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova, Velimir Khlebnikov, and Vladimir Mayakovsky.
The catalogue of Khardziev’s art collection was published in 2013, and the archive he built can be explored online in the Stedelijk Museum reading room. The Khardziev collection and archive fit wonderfully with the Stedelijk Museum’s collection of works by Malevich, which comprises 23 paintings, 20 drawings, 35 manuscripts, and 18 teaching charts. Together with the 175 works by Malevich included in the Khardzhiev collection–mainly comprised of drawings–the Malevich collection is the largest outside of Russia.
To encourage research into the legacy of Nikolai Khardzhiev, the Khardzhiev Foundation organizes biennial conferences. This year, the Khardzhiev Foundation has partnered with MOMus, Museum of Modern Art of Thessaloniki, the home of another major private collector of the Russian avant-garde, George Costakis (1913-1990). In the 1960s, Costakis’s art-filled Moscow home had served as Russia’s unofficial museum of modern art. In 1977, Costakis donated half of his collection to the Tretyakov Gallery and moved to Greece. The Greek state acquired the other half of his collection, amounting to 1,275 works, after his death in 1997, and transferred this collection to MOMus.
Collector Culture of the Russian Avant-Garde – fourth International Khardzhiev conference – Thessaloniki, October 22-23, 2021