American Friends of the Tretyakov Gallery
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union there has been an enormous resurgence of interest in Russia's pre-Soviet past, as wel as a great deal of debate and reconsideration of the Soviet era itself. This shift has not resulted in a simple vilification of everything Soviet or a naive embrace of all that preceded it, but it has spurred an unprecedented effort to regain the ancient Russian national heritage. Churches are being restored all across the country, great Russian writers and artists whose works were banned are once again being honored, and the individual character of ancient cities and communities becoming re-established. Next year, the city of Moscow is celebrating its 850th Anniversary, a celebration that will mark the recovery, as well as the commemoration, of its glorious past.
Nowhere else is the richness and diversity of this history captured under one roof; a true and absolute reflection of the once Sovereign Empire embodied in the present collection of The State Tretyakov Gallery – the most important collection of Russian art in the world. This museum consists of more than one hundred thousand works and was the greatest contributor to the exhibition entitled “RUSSIA!” at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, billed as the most successful exhibition ever in its history.
Through the hallways of this great collection threads a passage through time - a reconnection to a foregone era and an understanding of the present. To experience the complexity that is reflected in the very canvas of each work; a picture-book of a history largely unknown. Herein lies the importance and significance of The Tretyakov Gallery in present day Russia. The American Friends of The Tretyakov Gallery Foundation was formed to support the national and international activities of the museum and hosts the Annual Tretyakov Ball in New York to raise funds to support these programs.
In addition, AFTG assists with the exhibition of former dissident artists under the Soviet regime, most of whose works have never been exhibited in present day Russia. The Foundation affords an opportunity to appreciate and understand the unique historical importance and significance of The Tretyakov Gallery, fulfilling a vital role both nationally and internationally by initiating, presenting, financing and preserving art projects, thereby enabling art enthusiasts, supporters and philanthropists to act collectively and significantly as patrons with the satisfaction of actively contributing to present and future projects in perpetuity.
The American Friends of The Tretyakov Gallery’s principal objective is the return of artworks to the museum’s collection of former dissident artists who, having fled the former communist regime, are not represented in the permanent collection of The State Tretyakov Gallery but remain part of the collections of the world’s most famous museums such as Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, MoMA, Metropolitan, Centre Pompidou, Tate Gallery, Hirschorn Museum and the National Gallery of Art.
With equal ambition and urgency, the Foundation is also focused on the extensive renovation, restoration and modernization programs to usher The Tretyakov Gallery into the XXI Century and secure the preservation of this national and historic treasure.
The Foundation is worthy of an artistic tapestry that clearly demonstrates an openness to and acceptance of a global embrace and respect of cultural pluralism and remains committed to the continuity of Russian consciousness through knowledge and understanding.