Samara Art Museum is one of the largest and finest art museums in the country. Its collections include several thousand works of art spanning some sixteen centuries with an emphasis on Russian and Soviet painting, and Russian Avant-Garde. Other notable collections are those of local artists and Oriental art.
Founded in 1897, the Museum is located in a grand example of Neo-Classicism (1913-1915, arch. Vladimir Yakunin) in Ulitsa Kuybysheva with a few other locations. Ilya Repin House-Museum in the right-bank village of Shiryaevo is also a branch of the Museum. The main building is a registered Federal Historic Landmark.
The history of the museum began in April 1897 when a local merchant and artist Konstantin Golovkin donated some works to the art collection of the Public Museum. Then letters were sent to Russian artists asking them to help build the collection, and soon some Russian artists sent their paintings to Samara. By 1911 the number of works rose to 130. Apart from paintings, donations of icons, copper casting, ceramics, graphic and Oriental art works were taken from local merchants.
After 1917 a lot of items from private collections were transferred to the museum. Works by Ilya Repin, Vladimir and Konstantin Makovsky, Vasily Polenov, Vasily Surikov, Mikhail Nesterov were only part of the stock. Yakovlev’s collection of more than 1000 items (icons, copper casting, old books), Alfred von Vakano’s collection of more than 1000 items (Japanese and Chinese applied art, bronze and marble sculptures, Egyptian art) were among private collections donated or expropriated and transferred to the art collection.
In January 1937 the art collection was transformed into the Art Museum. The Museum was housed in the newly built Kuybyshev Palace of Culture (now Opera House) and opened to public on 28 March 1939. The middle of the 1930s was the time of great loss when hundreds of icons were destroyed, silver casings and crosses were melted and several tons of copper casting were handed over to scrap. In all, a few thousand items were lost. Other 400 works (including 100 Russian Avant-Garde paintings) were nearly lost after the War and only Stalin’s death saved them).
In December 1989 the main collection was transferred to the Museum’s present location in Ulitsa Kuybysheva. Soviet Art collection was still exhibited in Kuybyshev Palace of Culture until it was closed for restoration in the 2000s. Nowadays there are a few locations around the city.
The museum now has more than 35,000 exhibits in its collection, including paintings by Ilya Repin, Ivan Aivazovsky, Karl Bryullov, Vasily Polenov, Vasily Surikov, Ivan Shishkin, Vladimir Makovsky, Boris Kustodiev, and Kazimir Malevich. Oriental art part of the collection includes Chinese, Japanese, and Indian art. The Art Museum also houses a collection of Valentin Purygin paintings and Alexander Vasiliev collection of paintings, drawings, costumes, books, and photographs.
Let’s have a closer look at what collections are there in the Samara Art Museum.
- Old Russian art (late 16 – 18 cc). Icons (17 – 19 cc).
- Russian painting (18 – early 20 cc): Johann Heinrich Wedekind, Ivan Argunov, Fyodor Rokotov, Dmitry Levitsky, Vladimir Borovikovsky, Ivan Smirnovsky, Mikhail Lebedev, Karl Bryullov, Ivan Aivazovsky, Vasily Tropinin, Mikhail Peskov, Vasily Perov, Nikolay Ge, Nikolay Yaroshenko, Vladimir Makovsky, Ilya Repin, Vasily Polenov, Vasily Surikov, Ivan Shishkin, Arkhip Kuindzhi, Isaac Levitan, Boris Kustodiev, Valentin Serov, Konstantin Korovin.
- Russian Avant-Garde: Pyotr Konchalovsky, Kazimir Malevich, Aristarkh Lentulov, David Burlyuk, Mikhail Le Dantu, Mikhail Menkov, Olga Rozanova, Alexander Vesnin, Sofya Dymshits-Tolstaya, Vladislav Strzeminski, Samuil Adlivankin, Nikolay Popov.
- European art (16 – 19 cc): Philips Wouwerman, Ludolf de Jongh, J. Buns, David Teniers the Younger, Hendrick van Steenwijk the Younger, Franz Joseph Degle, Bernardo Bellotto, Hubert Robert, Narcisse-Virgile Diaz de la Peña.
- Oriental art (5 – 20 cc): Chinese painting, applied art, wood carving, art enamel, bronze, sculpture, china, ceramics (5 – 19 cc), Japanese art, china, sculpture, Maki-e lacquer, engravings (19 c.), Indian applied art, metals, fabrics, miniatures (19 – 20 cc), applied art from Central Asia, Iran, and Mongolia.
- Soviet art (20 c.): Vasily Rozhdestvensky, Nikolay Plekhanov, Konstantin Yuon, Pavel Korin, Arkady Plastov, Gely Korzhev, Andrey Tutunov, Vladimir Stozharov, Valery Vatenin, Valentin Purygin, Ivan Komissarov, Nikolay Sheyin, Rudolf Baranov, Ivan Karpunov.
- Valentin Purygin Workshop-Collection – to be housed in Ventseka 55 branch. More than 10,000 items.
- Alexander Vasiliev and Alexander Vasiliev, Jr. Collection – more than 1600 exhibits.
92 Uliltsa Kuybysheva
Tel.: +7-846-332-3309 (guided tours section), +7-846-332-0564 (exhibitions sector)
First two floors are accessible for guests with special needs
Open: Wed, Fri-Mon 10am – 6pm (ticket office 10am – 5:30pm), Thu 1pm – 9pm (ticket office 1pm – 8:30pm)
Admission: 120 ₽ (Russian Art: icons, paintings, Avant-Garde), 60 ₽ (Western art), 60 ₽ (Oriental art), +80 ₽ (guided tours, in Russian), 50-300 ₽ (temporary exhibitions) – all prices are for foreign visitors
Shikhobalov House branch (closed for restoration)
«House with Atlantes», 55-57 Ulitsa Ventseka
Ilya Repin House branch
14 Ulitsa Sovetskaya, Shiryaevo
Open: Wed-Mon 10am – 6pm (ticket office 10am – 5:30pm)
Admission: 200 ₽