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  Tuesday, October 27, 2020
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A $16-million collection of Russian theater
A $16-million collection of Russian theater art from the late 19th - early 20th century will go on display at the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theater and Music, Vladimir Kozhin, head of a private foundation, said.

The collection: Russian Theater and Decorative Art of the 1880-1930s, belonged to Nikita and Nina Lobanov-Rostovsky, and was bought by the St. Petersburg-based International Konstantinovsky Charitable Fund. The deal was reached on February 19, but Vladimir Kozhin requested that the deal remain secret until early June.

Prince Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky, a distinguished art collector, said he wanted the collection to be returned to Russia.

The collection is currently being stored in Germany.

"We did not bring it to Russia until we had decided where to display it," said Kozhin, who is also Kremlin property chief, adding that the decision to exhibit the collection in St. Petersburg was made two weeks ago.

The collection features over 800 watercolors, drawings, theater posters, engravings and gouaches by nearly 140 artists. The most important works include Leon Bakst's costume designs for the ballets "Cleopatre," "Thais," and "Bayadere with Peacock," as well as Alexander Benois's costume designs for "Le Pavillon d'Armide," and "Giselle."

The collection also includes Natalya Goncharova's designs for "Liturgie" and Alexandra Exter's designs for "Aelita.

The Lobanov-Rostovsky family fled Russia after the 1917 October Revolution when the Bolsheviks seized power.

Prince Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky was born in 1935 in Bulgaria and started his art collection in 1959. In 1987-1994 he donated 80 Russian drawings and a porcelain collection to Russian museums.

In February Lobanov-Rostovsky donated two 20th-century works of art to the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow worth 255,000 euros ($351,000).


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