Turner exhibition opens in Russia after 20 years

MOSCOW, November 17 (RIA Novosti) - An exhibition of art works by William Turner (1775-1851), a famous 19th century British artist, is due to open in Moscow's Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts on Monday, the museum's deputy director said.

The exhibition, sponsored by Russian metals billionaire Alisher Usmanov, will feature over 100 works from London's Tate Britain, including 40 oil paintings, 70 watercolors and two prints. The paintings include a "Self-Portrait" (1799), "The Battle of Trafalgar" (1806) and "Norham Castle, Sunrise" (1845).

"It is great responsibility and honor for the museum to host the Turner exhibition. His works are considered a national treasure in England and they rarely leave the country," Zinaida Bonami, of Moscow's Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, said.

The works by Turner, which were last shown in Russia more than 20 ago, is one of most expensive projects ever undertaken by the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, she added.

The event is being entirely financed by metal giant and majority Arsenal FC shareholder Alisher Usmanov through his arts and sports charitable foundation. Usmanov, who is a trustee of the Pushkin museum, earlier declined to discuss the cost, saying: "The main reason I help to organize cultural events is my passionate love of art."

"Despite the global financial crisis, there have been no changes to the exhibition's funding both from the point of view of the number of exhibits - in particular, regarding insurance for the art works - and in the production of exhibition catalogues and booklets," Bonami said.

The exhibition entitled J.M.W. Turner: Oils and Watercolors From Tate Britain will run until February 2009.

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