Beverly Whitney Kean obituary

Actor who revealed the story of two great Russian collectors of modern and impressionist art

Beverly Whitney Kean, who has died aged 89, was a semi-mythical figure to art historians in Russia, the Us and Europe. Her book All the Empty Palaces: The Merchant Patrons of Modern Art in Pre-Revolutionary Russia had no precedent or rival. It is still the definitive account of the two great Moscow collectors who put together before 1914 the finest collection ever known, at the time or since, of impressionist and modern French painters, owning between them more than 50 Matisses, 43 Picassos and 27 Gauguins, not to mention Monets, Renoirs and Van Goghs. The book is a gripping read, authoritative, revelatory and impeccably researched. But what makes it unique is its date of publication, which was 1983.

Virtually nothing was known at the time about Sergei Shchukin or Ivan Morozov, whose names had been obliterated from the Soviet record. Shchukin,

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