Paperback / softback
June 12, 2009
108 illus., 70 in color
10.50 Inches (US)
8.50 Inches (US)
4.3 Pounds (US)
$60.00 USD
v2.1 Reference

Treasures into Tractors

The Selling of Russia's Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938

Sixteen scholars from Russia, Vienna, and the United States explore the fate of Russian art collections and libraries following the Russian Revolution in 1917, the institutions and individuals responsible for their sale, and the prominent collectors, libraries, and museums that acquired them. Unlike the widely publicized controversy surrounding Soviet-Nazi war loot and its restitution, the sales of the interwar period are not well known outside a small scholarly community. This volume reveals the extent of the Soviet government’s voluntary “realization” of Russia’s cultural patrimony between 1918 and 1938 and its consequences for both the international art market and the perception of Russian art.

The imperial Easter eggs by Fabergé and Old-Master paintings purchased by Andrew Mellon from the State Hermitage and now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. are the most celebrated works that changed hands. Equally significant are the bibliographic rarities from imperial libraries, icons and liturgical art from churches and monasteries, and antiques, furnishings and fine art from estates, palaces, and private homes.

See the review in the New York Times:

About the Authors

Anne Odom is curator emerita at Hillwood Estate, Museum, and Gardens in Washington, D.C. Wendy R. Salmond is professor of art history at Chapman University in Orange, California.


"For the first time readers can really see what Russia lost as a result of the Soviet drive to generate foreign currency: magnificent works of imperial porcelain; paintings by van Eyck, Titian, Rembrandt, and Rubens; Fabergé eggs; the furniture of David Roentgen; icons and illuminated manuscripts."—Slavic and East European Journal

"Odom and Salmond have performed a tremendously valuable public service in assembling so much important scholarship in one place, and in a book so attractively presented that it is sure to win attention… It may be too late for many of Russia's dispossessed (and their relatives) to reclaim even a fraction of their stolen property— but at least the world is beginning slowly to recognize what was lost."—The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

"Treasures into Tractors is a long overdue and highly significant publication."—The Art Newspaper

"More proof that antiques can tell vivid stories of wartime devastation can be found in TREASURES INTO TRACTORS. . . Eighteen scholars, about half of them Russian, contributed essays about how Soviet officials stripped aristocrats' estates, shipped the 'foul bourgeois' contents to museum storerooms and then traded much of the booty for hard currency through galleries or auctions in the West. White Russian exiles futilely protested; their jewelry, paintings, furniture and books ended up at many institutions, including the Louvre, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Library of Congress."—Eve M. Kahn, The New York Times ("ANTIQUES; New Books for Lovers of Old Stuff," November 27, 2009.)

Hillwood Museum

9781931485074 : treasures-into-tractors-odom-salmond
Paperback / softback
400 Pages
$60.00 USD

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