Russian Art & Soviet Nonconformist Art
The Zimmerli’s holdings of Russian and Soviet art are unmatched in the United States, providing a unique overview from the fourteenth century to the present day. The museum’s George Riabov Collection of Russian Art showcases Russia’s diverse artistic heritage, and includes examples of art from icons to paintings by the Peredvizhniki (Wanderers), Ballet Russes set and costume design, and works by the Avant-Garde.
The Zimmerli holds the largest collection in the world of Soviet nonconformist art, thanks to a remarkable 1991 donation from Norton and Nancy Dodge. Over 20,000 works by more than 1,000 artists reveal a culture that defied the strict, state-imposed conventions of Socialist Realism. This encyclopedic array of nonconformist art extends from about 1956 to 1991, from the beginning of Khrushchev’s cultural “thaw” to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In addition to art made in Russia, the collection includes nonconformist art produced in the ethnically-diverse Soviet republics of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. A generous gift by Claude and Nina Gruen extended the Zimmerli’s Russian art holdings to the post-Soviet era, with later works by nonconformist artists as well as by new generations active in the 1990s and 2000s. Large archival holdings support scholarship in the collection.
Please note: a limited selection of works from the Riabov Collection are currently on view as the gallery undergoes renovations.