Nicholas Roerich Estate Museum in Izvara
Nicholas Roerich
Estate Museum
in Izvara
«Roerich in America»
The exhibition of Nicolas Roerich’s paintings.

In October 2003 an exhibition devoted to the 80th anniversary of the Roerich’s museum in New York was opened in Izvara Estate Museum, which also kindly provided the majority of the exhibits.

The exhibition is featuring some unique pictures, documents, first American editions of the books by Nicolas Roerich, published by the Museum and the International Art Center "Corona Mundi" (Crown of the World), booklets, museum posters, letters written by the employees of the museum and other objects.

Nikolas Roerich in the Roerich Museum.
Nikolas Roerich in the Roerich Museum.
New-York, 1929.
Nikolas Roerich. New-York, 1929.
Nikolas Roerich.
New-York, 1929.

The exhibition highlights a period of N. Roerich’s life spent and art created in America in 1920-1923, which is little-known in Russia, and celebrates a unique phenomenon that belongs both to Russian and American cultures – the New York Roerich Museum. It also shows the development and evolution of Roerich’s ideas, which though always universal in character, were realized in accordance with Roerich’s principle of “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.

Lessons in children’s studio of the Institute of United Arts
opened under the auspices of the Roerich Museum in New York. 1930-s.

In 1920 Roerich received an invitation from Robert Harshe – then Director of the Art Institute of Chicago to come to the USA for an exhibition tour around American cities, and accepted it. The first exhibition was open in December 1920 in New York, then the tour continued in other 28 cities around the USA. All of them enjoyed great success and attracted attention of the Americans from different circles of society not only to art and culture of Russia, but also to the cultural and educational ideas of Roerich. He found like-minded people and supporters, such as Sinaida and Maurice Lichtmann, Francis Grant and others.

The building of the Roerich Museum in New-York.
The building of the Roerich Museum in New-York. 1930-s.
Modern building of the Roerich Museum in New-York.
Modern building of the Roerich Museum in New-York. 1990-s.

That was a beginning of a surprisingly fruitful period of N. Roerich’s life that he spent in America in 1920-1923 and that was a starting point in work of organizations launched by the artist and his supporters. Among them were: Master Institute of United Arts, that was set after the example of School of the Society for the Encouragement of Art in St. Petersburg of which he had been the Director in 1906-1918; International Arts Centre "Corona Mundi" ("The Crown of the World"); and Art association "Cor Ardens" (Flaming heart). It was the success of the aforementioned institutions, that quickly became famous in America, that made it possible to organize a trip to India for the Roerich family in 1923 and an expedition to the Central Asia in 1925-1928.

Based on the exhibition of Roerich’s paintings, that was organized by the "Corona Mundi" centre, on 17 November 1923 the Roerich museum was inaugurated in New York – the first museum in the USA dedicated to the art created by just one person.

The materials presented at the exhibition in Izvara Estate Museum introduce the visitors to a valuable experience of those cultural institutions’ activity, which was supervised directly by Nicolas and Elena Roerich.

A special attention was paid to the period of 1928-1935, when the activity of the museum was at its peak and reached almost an international scale. It was during that period that the construction of the House of Master – a 29-story sky-scraper – took place in New York. The Roerich museum, Master Institute, "Corona Mundi" centre and the publishing house of the museum were housed in that building. The grand opening of the house occurred on 17 November 1929, concurring with the 40th anniversary of the artist’s life in creativity.

The personnel of the Roerich museum in New York.
The personnel of the Roerich museum in New York. From left to right:
Esther Lichtmann, Sinaida Lichtmann (Fosdick), Nicolas Roerich, Nettie Horch,
Frances Grant; standing: Louis Horch, Sofie Shafran, Svetoslav Roerich,
Maurice Lichtmann, Tatiana Grebenshchikova, Georgy Grebenshchikov.
7 December 1924, Roerich Museum, New York.
The signing of the Roerich Pact.
The signing of the Roerich Pact. The White House, Washington, USA.
The President F. Roosevelt study. 15 April 1935.

The Urusvati Institute launched by the Roerichs in India also became a branch of the museum. In the same years the famous idea of Nicolas Roerich on preservation of cultural values (Roerich Pact) started to spread and grew into a grand international movement “The Banner of Peace”. All this became possible thanks to the activity of the museum and its personnel, who under the supervision of N. Roerich in the summer 1929 created the first committee of the Banner of Peace, that started work on promoting the idea of the Pact and later coordinated it.

Additionally, the exhibition also tells about the work of Russian-American cultural association that was launched at the initiative of Nicolas Roerich by the Museum personnel in 1942 in New-York.

The exhibition is completed with the presentation of the current work of the Roerich museum in New-York.

At present the biggest part of the materials of the exhibition is on display.



Museum Address: 188414, Izvara Village, Volosovo District, Leningrad Region, Russia.
Phones: +7-813-73-73-273 (group tours); Phone/Fax +7-813-73-73-298 (general)
Museum Director: Cherkasova Olga Anatolievna E-mail: isvara_museum@mail.ru

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