The exhibition is part of the official programme of the France-Russia year of cultural tourism 2016–17 and constitutes as one of its most prominent events.
The exhibition pays tribute to one of the greatest art patrons of the early 20th century, Sergei Shchukin, the visionary Russian collector of French modern art.
From 1898, Sergei Shchukin, a leading Moscow industrialist, quickly became an integral member of the Parisian arts milieu of the era, forging relationships with modern art dealers Paul Durand-Ruel, Ambroise Vollard, and Berthe Weill, then Georges Bernheim and Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler. His friendship with celebrated artists like Henri Matisse heavily influenced the formation of his collection, one of the most radical of its time.
Thanks to the generous participation of the State Hermitage Museum and the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, who participated in the conception of the project, the exhibition will present a significant ensemble of 127 major pieces by Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Modern masters from the Shchukin collection. There will be a particular emphasis on the art of Monet, Cézanne, Gauguin, Rousseau, Derain, Matisse, and Picasso, alongside works from Degas, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Van Gogh.
The exhibition also details the impact of the Shchukin collection on the formation of the Cubo-Futurist, Suprematist, and Constructivist movements presenting 30 works 28 paintings, collages, constructions, and reliefs, as well as 2 sculptures. The works are by major artists of the Russian avant-garde (from the Tretyakov State Gallery, the Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art, the Pushkin Museum, the Stedeljik Museum, and MoMA). The exhibition includes masterpieces by Malevich, Rodchenko, Larionov, Tatlin, Kliun, Goncharova, Popova, and Rozanova.
The exhibition will also provide the opportunity for academic review and will be accompanied by a catalogue. A symposium will be held in February 2017 which will bring together an international community of researchers who will examine the role of the great collectors of modern and contemporary art of the 19th and 20th century.
A cultural programme of events focusing on dance and music will bear witness to the vitality of artistic exchanges between France and Russia from the early twentieth century to today.
The exhibition and related events were curated and planned by Anne Baldassari, who also edited the catalogue. The participation of Sergei Shchukin’s grandson, André-Marc Delocque-Fourcaud, an expert in the work of his ancestor and historical advisor on the project, was crucial to its success, as was the collaboration of Marina D. Loshak, director of the Pushkin Museum, Mikhail B. Piotrovky, director of the Hermitage Museum, and finally Zelfira Tregulova, director of the Tretyakov State Gallery. On 10 February 2016 in Moscow, the project became part of an official partnership between the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the Hermitage Museum, and the Pushkin Museum. The exhibition Icons Of Modern Art. The Shchukin Collection. Hermitage Museum – Pushkin Museum marks a new step in the long-term, ongoing collaboration between the Fondation and the Hermitage Museum and Pushkin Museum, initiated in 2015 with the exhibition "Keys to a Passion".