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Exhibition at General Staff Building (impressionists)
The Hermitage's superb collection of Modern European Art, the bulk of which is made up of French impressionist and post-impressionist painting, is divided between those works that were received into the Hermitage collections after the Revolution, and art seized from Germany after World War II. The former are displayed on the museum's third floor, and include some of the world's largest collections of works by Picasso and Matisse.
The Picasso collection covers his most popular early periods, and includes Sisters, from the painter's Blue Period, and several cubist masterpieces including Three Women (1908) and a stunning Still Life of 1913. The collection of Matisse's work is even more extensive, and culminates in the spectacular Music and the The Dance, seminal large-scale canvases from 1910, both of which were commissioned by Sergei Shchukin, a Moscow philanthropist, who were among the painters' keenest supporters before the First World War. Ivan Morozov, another Muscovite, was equally significant as an early buyer of works by both artists, and the Hermitage is massively indebted to their foresight and taste.
Impressionist masterpieces in the collection include several major works by Monet, most notably his Turneresque Waterloo Bridge of 1903, two delightful Parisian street scenes by Pissarro, and significant collections of work by Cezanne, Van Gogh, Gaugin and Renoir. Further treasures of the period are displayed on the second floor of the museum in an exhibition of trophy art that was first put on display in 1993 under the title "Hidden Treasure Revealed".
Back on the third floor, the exhibition ends with a small collection of pre-Revolutionary Russian modern art, including four canvases by Vasiliy Kandinskiy and Kazimir Maleevich's Black Square, almost certainly the most and significant work of the Russian avant-garde.