The Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis, MN

When I was last in Minneapolis, I become so enamored with both a special exhibition and the permanent collection, at the Museum of Russian Art, I knew I had to make time in an already packed weekend, to visit again this trip.

“In 1991, Raymond E. Johnson, an art dealer and collector, sponsored the first known retail exhibition of Russian Impressionist paintings in North America. The positive response by American collectors to this exhibition encouraged Johnson to launch a large-scale program to identify the finest examples of Russian Realist paintings from throughout the former Soviet Union. Since then, Ray Johnson and his wife Susan have acquired what is believed to be the largest privately owned collection of Russian Realist paintings outside the borders of the former Soviet Union.” (Museum of Russian Art)

The permanent collection consists of over 11,000 paintings. The museum rotates the collection, so it is always worth a trip. My favorite painting from this visit happened to be the very last painting I saw, by Russian Realist Akhmed Kitaev. Dimensions were not listed, but it is large!

Akhmed A. Kitaev, Among the Birch Trees, 1962
Oil on canvas

There is always at least one special exhibition. I really enjoyed the Alexey Brodovitch: Designer of the Avant-Garde exhibition. “Alexey Brodovitch (1898-1971), one of the most influential graphic designers of the 20th century, opened up new horizons in American magazine and advertising design with his take on the new European Modernist aesthetic.” (The Museum of Russian Art)

“Fleeing Soviet Russia in the throngs of the Russian Civil War (1917-1922), Alexey Brodovitch began his design career in Paris and moved to the United States in 1930. Brodovitch was the art director of Harper’s Bazaar from 1934-1958, boldly experimenting with the magazine’s design and integrating its diverse elements into an extraordinary flow of images and texts.” (The Museum of Russian Art)

Alexey Brodovitch, Cover of Advertising Arts, September 1934
Alexey Brodovitch, Cover of Advertising Arts, March 1931

“The works in this exhibition are drawn from the collection of Dr. Curt Lund, design historian and Assistant Professor of Digital Media Arts at Hamline University, St. Paul, Minnesota. On view are posters, commercial advertisements, book illustrations and more, created by Brodovitch during the 1920s and 1930s.” (The Museum of Russian Art)

Alexey Brodovitch, Plate 1 from Dessins (Paris: A. Calavas), 1930
Pochoir print
Alexey Brodovitch, Libra’s de Mixeria, 1942
Alexey Brodovitch, LIbertad de Palabra, 1942
Alexey Brodovitch, Le Trapeziste, 1928
Alexey Brodovitch, Untitled (Schaum beer poster concept)
Alexey Brodovitch, Poster for Bieres Veuve J. Petit & Fils, 1926-30

One of the best ceramics shows I have seen was Sergei Isupov, Surreal Promenade, at The Museum of Russian Art in 2019. I have a ton of photos from that exhibition, which I’ll have to gather and post one day. It was that good.

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