As parts of its Sydney International Art series the Art Gallery of New South Wales is exhibiting, exclusively in Sydney, 65 paintings on loan from the Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, whose artists are regarded as masters of modern art. The confidence and optimism of a century coming to an end and a new one beginning brought forth a desire to break away from the old and embrace the new as artists like those in this exhibition eschewed realism, opting ebulliently towards abstraction and other non figurative forms unrestricted in their nature.

The paintings in this exhibition came from the collections of Shchukain and Morozov who were mocked derisively by a conservative public. They, like their forebears Catherine The Great, Nicholas The First and Alexander The Third, looked to the west for what was new, groundbreaking, innovative and yes even shocking.

The artwork in this exhibition covers the years 1890 to 1932. It was developed and curated by the Hermitage’s Department of Western Europe Fine Art Deputy Director Dr Mikhail Dedinkin and Senior Curator Dr Albert Kostenevich.

The visit of this exhibition was facilitated by the fact that the Art Gallery’s Director Dr Michael Brand has been a member of the International Advisory Board Of The State Hermitage Museum since 2000.

With such artists as Monet, Cezanne, Picasso, Kandinsky and Malevich, this is a blockbuster exhibition not to be missed. Oh by the way there is also a painting on loan from the Hermitage entitled The Mask by George Lambert, who was born in St Petersburg. It is displayed with the other of the Gallery’s George Lamberts in its 19th Century Australian collection. If you look closely in the top left hand corner of its gilt frame, you will see a tiny engraved kangaroo.

The exhibition runs from 13 October 2018 to the 3 March  2019. For art lovers what a summer treat!