Woman in a black Hat Kees van Dongen. Oil on canvas, 100 x 81.5 cm. 1908. San Petersburgo, State Hermitage Museum

In the early years of the twentieth century the Hermitage notably lacked collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century art. This situation was remedied after the 1917 Revolution when the great imperial, aristocratic and private collections were nationalised. Important works such as Friedrich's paintings from the imperial Cottage Palace and Rodin's sculptures from the Eliseev family's palace passed directly from their previous locations to the Hermitage. Others, such as Ingres' Portrait of Count Nikolai Guriev, entered the State Museums Fund from where they were specifically selected to complete the Hermitage's collections. The absence of Impressionist and European avantgarde works was remedied at a later date, in 1948, following the closure of the State Museum of Western Art in Moscow, which had principally housed the avant-garde art collections of the two muscovite collectors, Sergei Schukin and Ivan Morozov.

The Hermitage's holdings of modern art have continued to grow through donations, including the group of works by Matisse given by his friend Lydia Delektorskaya in 1971, and by major acquisitions such as Beethoven, Large Tragic Mask by Bourdelle, which entered the Museum in 1973. Numerous other avant-garde works, including Soutine's Self-portrait, were acquired through the mediation of President Boris Yeltsin in 1996. More recently, in 2002, the Russian State purchased Malevich's Black Square.

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