Arts Everyday Living: Renoir, Lautrec, Gauguin, & Others—Surviving War

Click on the paintings, pastels, and other media to ENLARGE and ENHANCE them, especially the horizontal images.




When Otto Krebs died in in wartime Germany in 1941, could he have imagined that his outstanding collection of Renoir and Degas, Gauguin and Toulouse-Lautrec, Signac and Fantin-Latour (along with Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, among others) would be intentionally concealed by the former Soviet Union from the rest of the world?  That in 1945, his cherished works of art would be looted by the then Communist regime and stored away for 50 years, often assumed to be destroyed during the last days of World War II.

In this third section of the series, The Art of the Missing: Loss and Hope, here are some highlights of these survivors that finally reappeared in a special exhibition at The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg in 1995 (see: Tuesday’s blog for more information).


The purpose of a painting is to decorate the walls.  Therefore it has to be as rich as possible.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir


Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Portrait of a Woman, 1877, pastel on bond paper mounted on paperbaord, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia


In the beginning, Fantin, Whistler and I were on the same road from Holland.*

Edgar Degas


Henri Fantin-Latour, Lemons, Apples, and Tulips, 1865, oil on canvas, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia



Yesterday I spent my afternoon in the atelier of a strange painter named Degas.  After many attempts, experiments, and thrusts in every direction, he has fallen in love with modern subjects, and has set his heart on laundry girls and danseuses.

Edmond de Goncourt, 1874, writer and art critic


Edgar Degas, Seated Dancer,1879-1880, charcoal and pastel on paper mounted on pasteboard, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia


I find Signac very calm, whereas people say he’s so violent, he gives me the impression of someone who has his self-confidence and balance, that’s all……..

Vincent van Gogh, letter to his brother Theo, March 24, 1889


Paul Signac, The Large Pine, Saint-Tropez, c. 1892-1893, oil on canvas, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia


Once I was in Paris, I grasped Lautrec’s greatness as a painter.

Pablo Picasso


Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Woman with an Umbrella (Berthe the Deaf in the Garden of Monsieur Forest), 1889, gouache, watercolor, and tempera on cardboard, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russian


 A great sentiment can be rendered immediately.  Dream on it and look for the simplest form in which you can express it.

Paul Gauguin to artist Emile Schuffnecker, 1885


Paul Gauguin, Piti Teina (Two Sisters), 1892, oil on canvas, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia

The main resource for this blog is Hidden Treasures Revealed by Albert Kostenevich,The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, and Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1995.

*Henri Fantin-Latour (1836-1904), Degas, and Whistler were inspired by the artistic tradition of the Dutch artists.

The above images are used solely for educational purposes.

Take a journey into the realm of art with Through an Artist’s Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively!

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