Yakov Rubinstein art collection on show at Mikkel Museum in Kadriorg Palace

Juri Pimenov. Karmoškamängija. 1929.
Juri Pimenov. Karmoškamängija. 1929. Source: Tanya Rubinstein-Horowitzi private collection

"Re-Encounter: Yakov Rubinstein's Art Collection" opens at the Mikkel Museum on October 1. Tanya Rubinstein-Horowitz, who grew up in Moscow with her famous collector grandfather, brought the artworks to Estonia from Germany, where she now resides.

The collection of Yakov Rubinstein (1901-1983) has been shown at the Art Museum of Estonia before — private exhibitions were held at Kadriorg Palace in 1966, 1976 and 1978.

Rubinstein belongs to the first generation of post-war art collectors, who began collecting in the second half of the 1950s, just after Stalin's death, a practice that the Soviet government deemed dubious.

Rubinstein collected Russian avant-garde art before it was officially outlawed as "hostile formalism."

The exhibition's curator said that the collection stands out for its sheer size, high artistic caliber and "unique" choice of artists.

In addition to the great masters, Rubinstein acquired the works of obscure and persecuted painters.

The collection also contains stage designs, theater costume sketches and graphic portraits of the prominent figures of the art scene during Rubinstein's lifetime, representing the collector's inner circle of friends and acquaintances.

The majority of the collection is dispersed among Russian institutions and private collectors. While only a relatively small part of the collection remains in the possession of Rubinstein's family, it gives a good impression of the collection as it once was.

The exhibition is a part of the Mikkel Museum's 25th-anniversary celebration.

Rubinstein had relatives in Estonia and in 1920s often spent his summer holidays at the Estonian seaside in Käsmu or Pärnu, said the director of the Mikkel Museum Aleksandra Murre.

"With the inclusion of this exhibition in the Mikkel Museum's jubilee program, the museum calls attention to the complex issue of art collecting during the Soviet era," she added.

The exhibition will be introduced by the curator, Olga Sugrobova-Roth (in Russian), and the current owner of the collection, Tanya Rubinstein-Horowitz (in English, with Estonian translation) on October 1.

All public programming for the exhibition is available here.

From 12 to 15 on the same day, there will be a seminar commemorating the Mikkel Museum's 25th anniversary.

The seminar will focus on the museum's founding and opening activities, as well as the transfer of Johannes Mikkel's (1907-2006) collection to the museum.

The event is focused on the development of the Estonian art following the restoration of independence.

The exhibition is on until April 30, 2023.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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