This exhibition presents remarkable paintings, which nobody has ever seen. They belonged to private collections and were on display in separate exhibitions. During the SWW the paintings were hidden and after the war they were taken in the Soviet Union like many other displaced works of art. In 1950 a cosiderable number of items, which had been taken away, was transfered to Germany. On display are only some of the items, which the Soviet state left and kept in closed museum repositories. The museum was due to keep these works in perfect condition and this has been done, but exhibiting and studying were forbidden. Due to the changes in Russia the Hermitage with the help of The Ministry of Culture of Russia has an opportunity to represent items from closed repositories. It is up to politicians, diplomats and lawyers to decide their fate. As to museums they are to reveal hidden items that had waited for a peace treaty, which did not take place then. We believe, that making the items, which are points at issue, available to people will help to come to a deserved decision, which will be approved by our descendants. First of all, this exhibition is an artistic event, and it is our duty to study, demonstrate and care for works of art. A wilful history conducted a unique experiment: dozens of masterpieces by such prominent masters as Degas, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Sezanne, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse and many others turned out inaccessible both for the public and art connoisseurs when impressionism and post-impressionism were of great interest. These paintings returned to people will change our understanding of notable artists' works. This uncommon exhibition gives us that unique feeling of a discoverer, which with great pleasure the Hermitage shares now with its visitors.
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