The Belvedere’s exhibition Silver Age - Russian Art in Vienna around 1900, scheduled for summer 2014, will be devoted to Russian art and the cultural relations between Russia and Austria at the beginning of the twentieth century. The term Silver Age refers to the cultural bloom in Russian literature and the visual arts after 1900 and is considered an equivalent to the German expression Jugendstil or Art Nouveau.
Two important exhibitions organized by the Vienna Secession in 1901 and 1908 introduced the Viennese audience to contemporary Russian art, which met with a highly positive response from both critics and art buyers. While the first show dealt with art production in northern countries and therefore presented only a section devoted to Russian art, the second exhibition, entitled Modern Russian Art, entirely concentrated on the latter. The display primarily comprised works by the then-firmly-established group World of Art (Mir Iskusstva), as well as examples by members of a young association of artists named Blue Rose (Golubaia Roza), the very last generation of Russian Art Nouveau. Three paintings on view in the exhibition held in 1908 were acquired for the Modern Gallery, i.e., today’s Belvedere, including the outstanding Portrait of the Polenov Family by Boris Kustodiev, which had been rejected by the conservative Russian art scene.
The exhibition Silver Age - Russian Art in Vienna around 1900 will present works by such Russian artists as Michail Vrubel, Valentin Serov, Nicholas Roerich, and Boris Kustodiev, whose pictures were on display in Vienna more than one hundred years ago, and illustrates the mutual influences of this cultural exchange between Russian and Austrian art.