Morozov The Story of a Family and a Lost Collection Natalya Semenova, Arch Tait

Publication date:
13 Oct 2020
Yale University Press
288 pages: 235 x 156mm
29 color + 27 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


The first English-language account of Ivan Morozov and his ambition to build one of the world’s greatest collections of modern art

A wealthy Moscow textile merchant, Morozov started buying art in a modest way in 1900 until, on a trip to Paris, he developed a taste for the avant-garde. Meticulous and highly discerning, he acquired works by the likes of Monet, Pissarro, and Cezanne. Unlike his friendly rival Sergei Shchukin, he collected Russian as well as European art. Altogether he spent 1.5 million francs on 486 paintings and 30 sculptures—more than any other collector of the age.
Natalya Semenova traces Morozov’s life, family, and achievements, and sheds light on the interconnected worlds of European and Russian art at the turn of the century. Morozov always intended to leave his art to the state—but with the Revolution in 1917 he found himself appointed “assistant curator” to his own collection. He fled Russia and his collection was later divided between Moscow and St. Petersburg, only to languish in storage for decades.

Morozov: The Story of a Family and a Lost Collection is being published to coincide with "The Morozov Collection" exhibition at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, in October 2020.

The Russian art historian Natalya Semenova is author of The Collector: The Story of Sergei Shchukin and His Lost Masterpieces, coauthor of Сollecting Matisse, and coeditor of Selling Russia’s Treasures. She lives in Moscow. The award-winning Arch Tait has translated over thirty books by leading Russian authors.

“[A] jewel-like focus yet epic scope, reads as sumptuously as a 19th-century novel, and makes stunning use of material still emerging from Soviet archives to illuminate dark corners of history”—Jackie Wullschläger, Financial Times

“Drawing on a lifetime of research, Natalya Semenova has produced a riveting biography of an intensely private man who became one of the world's greatest collectors of modern art.  Her pioneering account of the life and times of Ivan Morozov restores a vital lost page in the cultural history of imperial Russia. Morozov's importance has always been unfairly eclipsed by the better-known and more flamboyant Sergei Shchukin. Natalya Semenova has been able to redress the balance, and her latest biography completes a magnificent diptych chronicling the life and times of Russia's two great collectors.”—Rosamund Bartlett