Ivan Abramovitch Morozov  (1871-1921)

Ivan Abramovitch Morozov was born into one of the most famous trading dynasties in Russia on November 27, 1871 in Moscow. Ivan was the second son of Abram Abramovich Morozov and his wife, Varvara Alexeyevna Morozova, born Khloudova.

The founder of the famous Morozov dynasty was Savva Premier (1770-1860). It was he, the serf of the counts Riumine, who later became the trader Savva Morozov of the first guild of Bogorodsk. Savva opened a workshop for silk lace production in his native village Zuev in the Bogorodsk region. The lace was woven on a single trade, then transported over a hundred yards (a former Russian distance measure equivalent to 1067 meters) to Moscow by Savva Vassilievich himself. From year to year, this skilled farmer expanded his business; however, it took twenty-three years to save seventeen thousand rubles, a considerable amount at that time, to free his entire family in 1825.

Ivan Abramovitch Morozov

The five sons of the former serf of Rioumine (of which the four branches of their father’s famous company were de facto part at the end of the 19th century) had all inherited the entrepreneurial spirit of their father. This gene had to be so powerful that each brother separately (and the five together) created the Morozov group of the national textile industry.

Timofei Savvich became the owner of the factory in Nikolsk. Eliséi and Vikula became owners of the factory in Orekhovo-Zuev. The factories in Bogorodsk-Gloukhovsk belonged to Zakhar. Abram owned the one in Tver. When Morozov’s property was redivided in 1872, the cotton mills in Tver (the first town to be crossed by the Nicolas railway line linking the two Russian capitals) became properties of both Abram and David Abramovich.

Main entrance of the Tver Manufactory 1900

David and Abram Abramovitch Morozov

Tver, Morozov factory

Abram Abramovitch Morozov became the Director of the “Tver Manufacture Society” which was created by the two brothers. As was the case with all Morozov, and without exception, the business was made in large. State-of-the-art weaving equipment was ordered in England and Sweden and foreign specialists were hired. Their own dyeing and other ancillary equipment transformed the Morozov factories into a  perfectly-oiled  mechanism that transformed cotton and raw silk into fabrics for all tastes and budgets.

For these prosperous entrepreneurs a successful marriage was a serious business. In this merchants’world, the young men “to marry” having good but not being very well known, had a strong inclination to choose their brides from those “bearing a name”. By marrying Varvara Khloudov, Abram Morozov had chosen a good partner that was akin to the family of Khloudov factories with which the “Abramovitch” were already close relatives.

Of this union were born three boys, Mikhail Abramovitch (1870-1903), Ivan Abramovitch (1871-1921) and Arsenï (1874-1908).

The managers of the Tver factory 1915

Abram Abramovitch

Varvara Alexeïevna

Mikhaïl Abramovitch

Ivan Abramovitch

Arsenï Abramovitch

At the age of 21, Moscow University student Mikhail Abramovitch Morozov became the legal heir to millions from his father. That same year, Ivan Abramovitch left for Zurich and joined the Faculty of Chemistry at the École Polytechnique Supérieure. It should be noted that at that time such knowledge was particularly popular in the textile industry; Savva Morozov was also a trained chemist. In Switzerland, Ivan was passionate about art and studied diligently. He drew with students in architecture, and on Sundays went to paint landscapes in oil.

In 1898 and at the age of twenty-four, Ivan Abramovitch Morozov, a graduate specialist and the hope of his family, returned home to go directly to Tver, where thousands of workers weave calico, Indian and velvet, and where the factories of the Tver Manufacture Company, the famous empire of the Morozov, spread.

Morozov Factories

The young Morozov actively began his work. Production was increasing, opportunities were expanding, and owners were getting richer. Mikhail, one year older than his brother, Ivan, didn’t even want to hear about the factory. Arsenï, although he had studied in England and even had an internship in “production practices”, spent his days hunting or with his dogs. This did not prevent the brothers from receiving a substantial income on a regular basis, since they were equal shareholders of the company. Only Ivan matched the image of the typical manufacturer created by Russian literature. It must be said; however, that he played this role with great pleasure. Under a soft appearance – the painter Sergei Vinogradov called him “the calf with good eyes” – Ivan Abramovitch distinguished himself in business by being rational and sometimes even hard and inflexible, especially when it came to raising the wages of workers. Morozov was completely unfamiliar with “the Slavic dream inherent to the Russians”, considering that in business it can only be harmful.

Considered a “convinced capitalist and conservative”, Ivan Morozov was more than once accused of stinginess. In this regard, there was an anecdote that at a mass the rich merchant lent five rubles to his brother on condition that he returned them with interest.

However, it was absolutely impossible to accuse Ivan Morozov of not honestly loving the business he was leading because it was precisely this extraordinary tenacity in the effort to achieve his goal that enabled him to become, at twenty-five years, the head of the company. Until her death, his mother Varvara Alekseievna remained chairman of the board of directors. Ivan; on the other hand, held the permanent position of director of the company until November 1917 when he handed it down to the Workers’ Committee. The first strike in 1897 took place during his tenure. Much more serious was the year 1899 when Ivan Abramovitch was forced to leave Tver. Then came the unrest of 1905 which led to the first Russian revolution. Sergei Vinogradov recalls that after these events the owners never showed up again in the factory. The painter found himself to be the unwilling witness of boos and insults from the workers: “Mikhail had already died, while Ivan had put on a lot of weight. It was this obesity that caused the workers to swear rude and disgusting swear words. That time was bad – a time of mutiny.” However, even this disrespectful attitude on the part of its own workers did not prevent Varvara Alekseievna from allocating millions to improve the daily lives of workers: “It was an entire city on the outskirts of Tver. Nearly twenty thousand workers lived there. The layout of the small, working-class town was amazing. A huge theater had been built that could hold several thousand spectators, reading rooms, a library, and beautiful model apartments for workers.”

But neither the unrest nor the political tremors prevented the company from doubling its capital, which Morozov managed to do in less than a decade. He even managed to triple his father’s capital on the eve of the 1917 revolution.

Having spent almost five years in a row in this provincial town of Tver, the energetic Morozov wanted, of course, to escape. The young man preferred happy companies, followed fashion, liked to eat well. Obesity was a family evil, Yuri Bakrouchin called it “the big pink sybarite” and “the good lazy dough”. In other words, Morozov loved life and knew how to live. Not surprisingly, he sought to escape by dating women, traveling abroad, and buying paintings. Curiously, this last passion will overshadow others and become the main one.

In the life of Ivan Morozov, the Moscow period will last for almost twenty years. At first there were only occasional visits. Then in 1899, after purchasing a house or more precisely a noble property, he moved permanently to the capital. So Morozov celebrated the coming of the new twentieth century as a Moscow homeowner.

Palace of Ivan Abramovitch Morozov in Moscow (photo 1920)

The choice of an old private mansion on the Pretchistenka, classic, without too much magnificence and having belonged to the widow of his uncle David Abramovitch, reflected good taste and great ambitions. Moreover, this house seemed to be in complete opposition to the pompous palace of his brother Mikhail’s Smolensky Boulevard with its aparthotel decorated “in styles” and was even more distinguished from the Moorish palace of his brother Arseni, who was so struck so by his oddity.

It should be noted here that so far very little is known about relations between the brothers. On the other hand, all memorialists considered it their duty to recall the despotism of their mother Varvara Alekseievna against her own sons.

In December 1901, Ivan Morozov met Eudoxie Kladovchikova (1885-1959), a young artist who performed at the restaurant “Iar”. From this relationship a girl, Eudoxie Ivanovna, was born on July 24, 1903. The marriage will only take place four years later, on July 27, 1907.

Pretchistenka street (photo early 1900)

Arsenï Abramovitch Morozov Palace

Main facade of the Palace of Ivan Morozov

Restaurant “Iar”, Moscow, early 1900

Eudoxie Sergueïevna Kladovchikova

Born on February 10, 1885 in Rostov on the Don. She died at her home, 1 rond-point Bugeaud in Paris 16th on March 4, 1959. She will be buried in the Russian Orthodox cemetery of Sainte Geneviève des Bois.



Eudoxie Morozov portrait by Valentin Serov, 1908.

Actually exposed at the Trétiakov Gallery.

Eudoxie Ivanovna Morozov

Only daughter of Ivan and Eudoxie Morozov.

Born on July 24, 1903 in Moscow. She died at her home 3 rue Franklin Paris 16th on December 27, 1974. We have no information about her place of burial.

She married Serge Konowaloff on January 20, 1922. From this union was born an only child, Ivan (known as “Jean”) Konowaloff on December 10, 1922. Their divorce will be pronounced on November 15, 1937.

She married Mr. Kasaichvili on May 1, 1942. Their divorce will be pronounced on November 16, 1948. No children were born from this union.

She married Charles Lesca for the third time on September 28, 1953. No children were born from this union.

Ivan Morozov began his shopping for paintings after his installation in Moscow.

He began collecting Russian paintings, but traveled to Paris every year in search of masterpieces. He soon became a regular visitor to modern art galleries (Vollard, Bernheim-Jeune, Durand-Ruel…) and exhibitions (Salon d’Automne…). In 1903 he bought from Durand-Ruel his first foreign artist Sisley “Frozen in Louveciennes” (oil on canvas from 1873, today at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow).

It seems that the example of his elder brother Mikhail, also a collector, was contagious.

“On the way to the Trinity” by Constantin Fédorovitch Iouon

Oil on canvas 53 x 107

Trétiakov Gallery

“Gelée à Louveciennes” Alfred Sisley

Oil on canvas 46 x 61

Pushkin Museum

Proof of purchase

In his purchases of paintings, and unlike Sergei Shchukin, another great Russian collector and patron, Ivan was always careful and strict, fearing extremes, anything unstable or in gestation. He never evaded the advice of such well-known Moscow painters as Valentin Serov, Constantin Korovin, and Sergei Vinogradov, who had been the senior adviser to his brother Mikhail and died prematurely in 1903. The paintings of these painters were also part of the Morozov collection, where the works of living Russian artists had a place of no negligible importance.

The landscape is dominant in the Morozov collection because he had a preference for this type of landscape drawn, on the one hand, from his councilors, landscape painters and, on the other, from the lessons he had learned in his youth with his elder brother from Constantine Korovin. After graduating from Zurich’s Higher Polytechnic School, Ivan Morozov continued to paint landscapes in oil to relax.

“Arc-en-ciel”  Constantin Andréïevitch Somov

Ivan Morozov never sought to attract the attention of the press and critics.

He was reluctant to show off his collection. However, the reputation of the collector Morozov had already crossed borders. He was especially talked about in 1906, when he lent his Russian canvases to Serge Diaghilev for the exhibition “two centuries of Russian art” which he had organized at the Paris Autumn Fair. Morozov was elected honorary member of the Salon and decorated with the Legion of Honor. Since then, more than 30 paintings have entered Pretchistenka Street every year,

“Portrait ofVollard” Pablo Picasso

Oil on canvas 93 x66

Pushkin Museum

Ivan Morozov, whom Vollard called “the Russian who doesn’t market,” was a welcome guest in Parisian galleries, auctions and exhibitions of all kinds. It is known that he could afford to spend between 200,000 and 300,000 francs per year on paintings, a sum that was available to few museums in Europe. For example, he bought from Durand-Ruel paintings for a quarter of a million francs.

Ivan Morozov was keen to show the main stages of contemporary art and to represent each painter in the most complete way, and in the same way in 1905, he approached the development of a painting gallery in his private mansion, the main building of an estate dating from the 1840s.

At his request, the architect Lev Kekuchev gave the rooms on the first floor a strict appearance of a museum, removing all the moldings and covering the walls with a gray and neutral fabric. As for the roof, there was a glass roof, through which the daylight entered as in the museums worthy of the name.

Reciept from Ambroise Vollard

Reciept from Galerie Druet

Reciept from Galerie Bernheim Jeune

Designing his collection as a collection of “works and not names”, Morozov could wait for years for a painting to represent a particular painter. Morosov had fifty impressionist paintings, including Monet, Renoir, Pissaro and Degas. The next generation was mainly represented by Van Gogh, Cézanne and Gauguin, the latter’s works having entered rue Pretchistenka after the painter’s retrospective at the Salon d’Automne in 1906. Morozov’s favorite work was Cézanne’s still life “Pèches et Pires”. In 1907, Ivan Morozov ordered a wall decoration for Maurice Denis for his hotel’s concert hall; these five panels of “the history of Psyche” painted for Morozov were exhibited at the 1908 Autumn Fair.

Later, it was to Pierre Bonnard that Morozov ordered the triptych “Mediterranean” for the main staircase of his hotel.

“Corner of garden in Montgeron”  Claude Monet

Oil on canvas 175 x 194

Hermitage Museum

“Child with a whip”  Auguste Renoir

Oil on canvas 105 x 75

Hermitage Museum

“Autumn morning in Eragny” Camille Pissaro

Oil on canvas 54 x 65

Pushkin Museum

The Hotel Morozov received visits from Maurice Denis and in 1911 from Henri Matisse. The latter referred to Ivan Morozov, saying: “Morozov, a Russian colossus, owned a factory employing more than 3,000 workers and was married to a dancer.”

In 1918, Ivan Morozov had acquired nearly 200 paintings by foreign impressionists.

The “Cézanne” Hall, in 1920, the former Morozov Palace became the “Second Museum of Modern Western Art”. However, nothing has been changed, from the place of the canvases to the carpet on the floor.

Events took such a turn in Soviet Russia that by 1918, the former owners had no recourse but to flee to save their lives. The collection of Ivan Morozov was nationalized by decree of Lenin on December 19, 1918.

The Morozov House on Pretchistenka Street and the collection it houses become “the second museum of modern Western painting”.

For a few months, Ivan Morozov was the assistant curator of his own collection (task of guiding visitors in the rooms).

Van Gogh Hall, 1920, Second Museum of Modern Western Painting

(former Morozov Palace)

It was in the spring of 1919 that he left Russia forever and never returned. He settled in Paris at the Majestic Hotel and then 4 Square Thiers.

On July 22, 1921 he died in Carlsbad, where he was staying for a cure, without having reviewed his collection.

His remains were to be repatriated to France, but eventually he was buried in Carlsbad.

Grand Hôtel Pupp in Carlsbad, 1900

Obituary of the Parisian newspaper “Obchee Delo”

Hôtel Majestic, Paris

In 1922, the two museums (Shchukin’s and Morozov’s) were united in a single entity “State Museum of Modern Western Art” and regrouped in the Morozov Palace in 1928. Between 1930 and 1934 some of the works were transferred to the Leningrad Hermitage Museum. Two paintings by Morozov (“Mrs. Cézanne in the greenhouse” by Cézanne and “Café de nuit” by Van Gogh) were handed over to an American gallery as part of the campaign to sell works of Russian museums against foreign exchange.

During the Second World War, the museum’s collections were evacuated to Novosibirsk, a painful journey that could not fail to leave marks on the masterpieces. Then, back in Moscow, the canvases stayed in their boxes for a long time. It was approaching 1948, the most tragic year for Soviet art and culture, when the fight against “cosmopolitanism” and all manifestations of formalism began. Categories where all the trends of modern painting were relegated since Impressionism.

It is only through successful risks that the project of the Museums Department of the Committee for Artistic Affairs could not be implemented: disperse the canvases in provincial museums, destroy some of them, and keep only the best works (as they see it) in the capital’s museums.

In 1948, after the museum closed (which had been closed since 1941), the paintings were arbitrarily distributed between the museums of the Leningrad Hermitage and the Pushkin Museum of Moscow.

En 1948 suite à la fermeture du musée (qui l’était depuis 1941), les toiles sont arbitrairement réparties entre les musées de l’Ermitage de Leningrad et le musée Pouchkine de Moscou.

In 1933, the Soviet government, in need of foreign currency, sold a number of paintings including Van Gogh’s “Café de nuit” and Cezanne’s “Madame Cezanne in the greenhouse” from the Morozov collection.

These two canvases were purchased by the American collector, Stephen Clark, through two galleries: the Knoedler Gallery in New York and the Matthiesen Gallery in Berlin.

Clark decided to bequeath the works to the University of Yale and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which took possession of the works upon his death in 1961.

“Night Cafe” Vincent Van Gogh (1888)

Oil on Canva  72,4 x 92,1

Yale University

Shchukin and Morozov’s collections remained invisible for a long time. It was not until the major exhibitions of French paintings in Moscow in 1955 and in Leningrad in 1956 that some of the paintings were permanently displayed. In the mid-sixties, almost all of the collections were finally visible, although without mention of the former owners to whom Russia had to own these jewels of modern art.

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