Moskovskaya Palitra [Moscow Palette] Gallery was founded in Moscow in May 1988 by art historians Nikita Andrievich and Mark Yankelevich, who worked together in the Soviet Ministry of Culture. Passionate about art, Andrievich and Yankelevich had no particular preferences and worked with a wide circle of artists, including Nina Vedeneeva, Alexander Zabrin, Katya Kovaleva, Yuri Kononenko, Dmitry Lion, Igor Makarevich, Kirill Mamonov, Tatyana Nazarenko, Natalya Nesterova, Lev Tabenkin, Georgy Frangulyan, Sergei Shutov, and Vladimir Yakovlev, as well as émigré artists, such as Jan Rauchwerger and Oleg Zinger and international artists such as Victor Vasarely and Siegward Sprotte. Moskovskaya Palitra played an important role in bringing Soviet, and later Russian, avant-garde and underground art to the international audience. In the early years, most of the gallery’s exhibitions took place outside Russia. It was the first Russian gallery to open a branch in Berlin, and later in Vienna, Melbourne, and Geneva.
Moskovskaya Palitra’s exhibitions were based on the gallery’s own collection, which comprised several thousand works and continued expanding through commissions from contemporary artists and annual acquisitions.
Moskovskaya Palitra also worked in applied arts and design. In 1988 it opened a booth at the Intourist Hotel in Moscow to sell objects and prints, and in 1989 organized a major exhibition of applied art and design at Moscow’s Church of St. John the Baptist. The gallery also accepted commissions for interior design of factories and administrative buildings.
One of the most active galleries at the time, from January 1989 through May 1990 Moskovskaya Palitra organized eleven commercial exhibitions (including the exhibition of Soviet and Polish art Red-White in Warsaw and Amsterdam and Exhibition of Soviet Graphic Arts in Prague) and six non-commercial shows (including Odyssey. To Mark the 100th Anniversary of the US National Geographic Society in Moscow and Soviet Avant-Garde 1920s–1980s in Minsk). The gallery worked with major exhibition spaces and institutions, including the State Tretyakov Gallery, the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, the State Russian Museum, and the State Museum and Exhibition Centre ROSIZO.
In 1994, with the support of its partner—Markon Joint Stock Company—the gallery opened its own exhibition space on Povarskaya Street in Moscow, where it aimed to open a new exhibition every six weeks. They were curated based on the gallery’s collection of several thousand items, which was constantly supplemented with new works commissioned by the gallery and annual acquisitions.
The founders of the gallery were also involved in the creation of the Association of Moscow Art Galleries (AMOG) and Four Arts Joint Stock Company, launched to return Soviet cultural heritage to Russia, popularize and preserve it, and create an efficient art market. Moskovskaya Palitra also organized exhibitions on behalf of other art institutions, curated collections for Russian banks, participated in charity projects, and was a patron of the arts. It took part in Russia’s first art fairs, Art Myth and Art Moscow, as well as fairs in Chicago, Stockholm, and Paris.
When Mark Yankelevich passed away in 1994, the gallery’s collection was divided up. In 1995, Moskovskaya Palitra and Galerie Enrico Navarra signed an agreement regarding an exhibition of Marc Chagall in Moscow, with Moskovskaya Palitra agreeing to cover all costs and purchase 30% of the works. In the light of the 1996 presidential election in Russia, Galerie Enrico Navarra requested additional insurance, and with the support of ROSIZO and a big loan, Nikita Andrievich provided it. Even so, the exhibition did not take place. Moskovskaya Palitra organized its last exhibition in Los Angeles in 1997.
Moskovskaya Palitra’s archive became part of Garage Archive Collection in 2018. It contains posters for gallery exhibitions; invitations, booklets, and catalogues published by the gallery; photographs from private views and art fairs; a selection of articles on gallery events from the Russian and international press; and legal documents related to the work of the gallery, Four Arts, and the Association of Moscow Art Galleries.