Muses of Montparnasse

Exhibition at Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Partnership with Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
Poster der Ausstellung im Puschkin-Museum
Афиша выставки "Музы Монпарнаса" в ГМИИ имени А.С. Пушкина в партнерстве с Фондом Фридриха Науманна за свободу © ГМИИ имени А.С. Пушкина

Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom became a partner of Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in organization and management of the Muses of Montparnasse exhibition dedicated to free women, who worked in the liberating environment of Montparnasse, and defended their path in art.

Poster der Ausstellung auf dem Gebauede des Puschkin-Museums
Здание Галереи искусств стран Европы и Америки XIX-XX веков Пушкинского музея © ГМИИ имени А.С. Пушкина

This period is a turning point in the perception of women in history. That is when they have become themselves, they have started to self-actualize, says Alexey Petukhov, curator of the exhibition and senior researcher of the museum. Organizing the space of the exhibition, Russian and French curators invited visitors to think about the path of women in contemporary art in the first decades of the 20th century. Outlying women of that time became symbols of success and fought for their identity.  

Marina Loshak, Director of Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, suggested the concept of the exhibition dedicated to free women in art:

The idea was that the exposition shall present the most prominent personalities, who asserted the role of women in various arts in 1900–1940-s in the most vivid centre of attraction of that time, which is the Parisian district of Montparnasse. It is at this time and place, that the basics of presently common attitude towards women in art were gradually shaped through disputes and competition, mockery, and misunderstanding.

Ausstellung im Puschkin-Museum, Marina Loschak
Marina Loshak

Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom was glad to support this initiative. Recently, the Foundation has been working on the topic of female entrepreneurship a lot. Efforts included the Female Entrepreneurs podcast, meetings with businesswomen from the sustainable development sector, and revision of multiple pieces of research, which made it possible to conclude, that oftentimes the motivation for women to open their own business is their willingness to change society.

Eröffnung der Ausstellung im Puschkin-Museum
Открытие выставки "Музы Монпарнаса" © ГМИИ имени А.С. Пушкина

Both Montparnasse female artists and businesswomen of our time assert their right to present their work to the public on a par with men, whether they are paintings, sculptures, or a small size cheese factory. At all times, active women have been charismatic, pro-active, and free persons changing the world around them, whatever is their business. Words of French poet Guillaume Apollinaire about female art, which “has turned out to be a great art that can no longer be confused with men’s art”, are also applicable to female entrepreneurship that can neither be confused with men’s business.

Ausstellung im Puschkin-Museum, Eröffnung
Уте Кохловски-Каджая и Алексей Петухов на открытии выставки "Музы Монпарнаса" © ГМИИ имени А.С. Пушкина

There is another important reason for partnership within the framework of this exhibition. As Ute Kochlowski-Kadjaia, director of the Moscow bureau of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, highlighted, “this is a European project, and it is a good confirmation of strong liaisons between Russia and Europe”.