Index of Historic Collectors and Dealers of Cubism
Morozov, Ivan
Moscow, 1871–Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, 1921

Ivan Morozov was one of two collectors and art patrons in Russia who took a significant interest in Cubism, the other being Sergei Shchukin. Both came from families of wealthy industrialists and carried on a friendly rivalry, each aspiring to purchase the works of the foremost European artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Morozov accumulated particularly extensive holdings of paintings by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, and Paul Gauguin, yet his collection also included works by Pablo Picasso. He owned one of Picasso’s most important Cubist portraits, Ambroise Vollard (1910; Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow).

Morozov made most of his purchases from galleries and dealers in Paris, and he traveled there with particular frequency starting in 1903. He attended Cézanne’s posthumous retrospective at the Salon d’Automne in 1907, and that year began to purchase Cézanne’s work. In 1908 Morozov acquired his first painting by Picasso, the blue period canvas The Two Saltimbanques (Harlequin and His Companion) (1901; Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow). Morozov bought the picture from the gallery of Ambroise Vollard, from whom he sourced much of his collection. He purchased Picasso’s portrait of Vollard from the dealer in early 1913. Later that same year, Morozov acquired Picasso’s painting Young Acrobat on a Ball (1905; Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow), until then owned by the siblings Leo and Gertrude Stein, from the gallery of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. Kahnweiler would subsequently attempt to sell several other paintings by Picasso to Morozov, although apparently without much success.

Morozov housed his collection in his villa residence in Moscow. Like Shchukin, he had a reputation for opening his home to the numerous visitors who regularly flocked there. In late 1918, after the Russian Revolution, the collections of both Morozov and Shchukin were nationalized by the state and transformed into two branches of a new Museum of Modern Western Painting. Morozov left Russia the following year, relocating to Switzerland and then Czechoslovakia, where he died in 1921. When the Museum of Modern Western Painting was dissolved after World War II, its holdings were transferred to the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, where most of Morozov’s collection remains today.

Contributed by Nicholas Sawicki, February 2016
For more information, see:

Fénéon, Félix. “Ivan Morosoff.” Bulletin de la vie artistique (May 15, 1920). Reprinted in Félix Fénéon, Oeuvres plus que complètes, vol. 1. Geneva: Libraire Droz, 1970.

Kean, Beverly Whitney. All the Empty Palaces: The Merchant Patrons of Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Russia. New York: Universe Books, 1983.

Költzsch, Georg. Morozov and Shchukin: The Russian Collectors. Exh. cat. Essen: Museum Folkwang, 1993.

Kostenevich, Albert. “Russian Clients of Ambroise Vollard.” In Rebecca Rabinow, ed., Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde. Exh. cat. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2006.

Podoksik, Anatoly. Picasso: The Artist’s Works in Soviet Museums. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1989.

A selection of Morozov’s correspondence with galleries and dealers, including Ambroise Vollard, is housed in the Archives of the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow. For additional information on Morozov’s purchases, see also the Ambroise Vollard Archives [Fonds Vollard, MS 421], Bibliothèque and Archives of the Musées Nationaux, Paris, France.