Co-owner of Alfa Group Peter Aven wants to create a private museum where works from his collection were exhibited. He told the journalist of The Financial Times in his mansion in Surrey. The opening of the museum in Moscow can be complicated by numerous state fees, and in London the museum may simply not be interesting. Therefore, Aven is considering the option to open a gallery in Riga, where his grandfather was from.
"I am collecting more and more. Russian art of this deserves, "- says the billionaire. The basis of the collection Aven, which he collected over the past 25 years, is the Russian art of the late XIX - early XX century. It contains the works of Mikhail Larionov, Natalia Goncharova and Vasily Kandinsky.
"It comes from childhood. My father did not collect art, but I wanted to see the pictures around me, like his friends, whom we visited, - explains the entrepreneur. - I did not just want to buy art, but also to create a collection from scratch. My main joy is to put everything in order. I like to put books on the shelves. It gives me great pleasure. "
The businessman already had experience working with large museums: exhibits from his collection were exhibited at the Jewish Museum in Moscow, the Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Royal Academy, where this year the exhibition of Russian art will take place. A number of pictures will soon go to New York and Tel Aviv.
The selection of works for the collection was limited. "All the main works of Soviet art are in museums, but you can find pre-revolutionary art," explains Aven. His first picture he bought in 1993, it was a still-life of Pavel Kuznetsov in the 1920s, and he cost the businessman only $ 5000.
Since then, he has been monitoring works, mostly pre-Soviet era, at auctions, buying them out of private collections, and sometimes directly from descendants of artists or other heirs. "I never bought a plane or a yacht. All my money goes to art, "- sums up the billionaire.
According to Aven, if the collection he began to collect now, it would be different: "This would be a completely Russian collection. Gradually it becomes international. I am attracted by the connection between the Italian, German and Russian art of the 20th century, united by the influence of totalitarianism. "
Special pride of the billionaire - Soviet porcelain from 1917 to 1941, released in St. Petersburg at the former Imperial factory. "It was very cheap to collect when I started," he recalls. "Russian painting was inspired by Cezanne and Matisse, but Russian porcelain was original," adds Aven. According to the businessman, he expects that one day the Victoria and Albert Museum, the world's largest museum of arts and crafts and design, will make an exhibition based on his porcelain collection.
Nevertheless, billionaire Aven calls the painting "The Red Houses" (1922) by Marc Chagall a favorite exhibit. "I bought it at Sotheby's auction in London in 2015 [the registered price is £ 3.3 million]," he says. "It turned out that I unconsciously inflated the price by competing with my business partner Herman Khan, who also began to collect works of Russian artists of Jewish origin. This painting is both about Russia, and about the Jewish view of life, which is an eternal movement, and, of course, it is an art of the highest quality. "