In defense of the Museum and the ICR

State Museum of Oriental Art
Attn. the organizers of the Round table
Nikitsky bulvar, 12A
Moscow 119019


To the organizers of the Round table “The State Museum of Roerichs and the Roerich movement”

December 13, on Nicholas Konstantinovich Roerich’s Remembrance Day, activities will be held all over the world. As we learned from the website of the State Museum of Oriental Art, in this day there will be carried out the opening of the new exhibition of the Memorial study of Nicholas Roerich and a Round table “The State Museum of Roerichs and the Roerich movement.”

The members of the European Association for the Support of International Center of the Roerichs and its Public Museum by name of N.K., being representatives of Roerich organizations in the European countries, such as Austria, Germany, Estonia, Republic of Belarus, the Russian Federation, would like to express its views on the mentioned topic. Due to the fact that we will not be able to personally take part in the round table discussion, we believe it is important to express our opinion in this letter we ask to read it out on 13.12.2016 to the participants of the event in the State Museum of Oriental Art.

Yuri Nikolaevich Roerich, who brought his share of the heritage of the Roerich family to the USSR, handed over to the State a large collection of paintings of Nicholas Roerich, relying on the agreement on the establishment of a State Museum of his father. However, neither was this carried out, nor was allocated a separate hall for exhibiting the paintings of Nicholas Roerich in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. The painting passed over to the State by Yuri Nikolaevich Roerich, are hosted in the Tretyakov Gallery and the Russian Museum. They are rarely exhibited, mainly only on anniversary dates of the artist. In the storerooms of the Russian museums are lying hundreds of paintings of Nicholas Roerich, what, in our view, has to be seen as lack of respect towards a great son of Russia and the world, an artist, scientist, great peacekeeper, and also towards Yuri Roerich’s will. Nicholas Roerich’s paintings, which are hidden from the viewer lose their “strength”, their energy and do not perform their role of inexhaustible source of Beauty …

The State Museum is needed for Russia and, in our view, in particular, in St. Petersburg as the birthplace of the great artist. The State Institute & Museum of the Roerich family Museum, which is located in St. Petersburg, does not have any original paintings by the artist, and this would be a great place for the establishment of the State Museum of Nicholas Roerich.

The Public Roerich Museum of the International Roerich Center (ICR) has been created in Moscow in accordance with the will of Svetoslav Roerich. It is working successfully for over 25 years. It is accomodated in Lopukhin Manor, selected by S.N. Roerich for this purpose and re-established by public forces and supporters. The activities of the Public Museum by name of N.K. Roerich, including works on highly skilled restoration of a monument of the 17-19 centuries, was highly appreciated by the government of Russia and the international community.

Almost all, about which S.N. Roerich wrote in his address “Procrastinate”, has been brought to life by public initiative. ICR’s public Museum by name of Nicholas Roerich constantly exhibits a large collection of paintings and drawings of the Roerichs. In addition to this, as proposed by S.N. Roerich, the Museum constantly hosts changing exhibitions, as well as organizes traveling exhibitions, which are delighting millions of people in different cities of Russia and in the near and far abroad for the opportunity to see original works. In the Center and Museum there is a “Lecture and Concert hall as well as a Study for young artists”. The Center is hosting a “large library”, where “collected books on cultural history, on art, philosophy and on Nicholas and Elena Roerich’s work.” “However, in my eyes the Center is also a scientific institution,” wrote Svetoslav Roerich. At present, the Public Museum has established and is successfully developing the Research Center of cosmic thinking, which is attracting young scientists to work. Very popular is a special form of lectures held at the ICR. They are lectures-concerts, lecture-presentation that are performed by artists, art historians, movie stars, film directors, musicians, poets, travellers… Formal meetings are organized within the framework of scientific lecturing of the Museum by name of N.K. Roerich. All this makes the Roerichs’ House a unique synthetic cultural centre to be called Museion of the 21st century, about which Nicholas Roerich at a time spoke as “the abode of all kind of Beauty”.

That is why we believe, that the establishment of a State Museum of the Roerich family can be welcomed, but not based on the funds of ICR’s Public Museum by name of N.K. Roerich. It is important to find a building for such a museum, but without violating the will of Svetoslav Roerich, the donor of that part of the heritage of the Roerichs, which is openly and accessibly exhibited in the Lopukhin Manor. Thus, you can extend the Roerich heritage total exposure, located on the territory of Russia, without destroying the successfully working public Museum by name of N.K. Roerich, and without banishing it from the publicly restored buildings of Lopukhin Manor, which had been promised to Svetoslav Roerich and documentary fixed for hosting such a museum.

July 3, 1989, Svetoslav Roerich wrote: “All already existing institutions, such as the Memorial Cabinet of N.K. Roerich at the Museum of the Cultures of the peoples in the East, the museum in Izvara, the study of my brother Yuri Roerich in your Institute, his Memorial apartment etc., will certainly have to establish a working relationship with the Center and Museum. But at the same time it must preserve its independence”. In the same letter of Svetoslav Roerich, “Procrastinate”, the existence and authenticity of which cannot be denied are contained many important moments and need to be considered. It is the will of the donor! It has to be respected and carried out, but not by destruction, but through creativity and cooperation.

Elena Aleksandrova
Chairman of the Coordination Council

European Association for the Support of the International Center
of the Roerichs and its Public Museum by name of N.K. Roerich