V. N. Orlov's Collection

The collection of Vladimir Nikolaevich Orlov numbering about 12 thousand items is stored in the Museum-apartment of A.A.Blok, a branch of the State Museum of History of St. Petersburg.

The composition of the collection was determined by the interests of its donator Vladimir Nikolaevich Orlov (1908-1985) —the researcher of the life and works of A.A.Blok, the literary critic, the chief editor of "Poet’s Library" (1956-1970), writer, critic, one of the founders of the Museum-apartment of A.A.Blok.

V.N.Orlov was the author of several books and numerous articles about the life and work of the poet, among them — the fictionalized biography "Gamayun: the Life of Alexander Blok" (1978), "Hello, Alexander Blok" (1984), "Poem "Twelve" by A. Blok” (1962), "the Poet and the City: Alexander Blok and Petersburg" (1980). V.N.Orlov was the editor and commentator of the 8-volume edition of the collected works of A.A.Blok.

Studying the heritage of A.A.Blok, Orlov turned to the works of his contemporaries: A.Bely, K.D.Balmont, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva and to the problems of literature of the early twentieth century ("Crossroads" (1976), "Ways and Fates: Literary essays" (1971)).

Orlov’s library includes lifetime editions of Alexander Blok, including autographs of the poet; lifetime editions of his contemporaries, writers and philosophers: A.A.Akhmatova, K.D.Balmont, Andrei Bely, N.A.Berdyaev, V.Brusov, V.I.Ivanov, A.F.Losev, O.E.Mandelstam, E.L.Radlov, V.V.Rozanov, V.S.Solovyov, M.I.Tsvetaeva, V.F.Ern and many others.

The periodicals of the beginning of the twentieth century is widely represented in Orlov’s library: magazines "World of Art", "Apollo", "Libra", "New Path" and others. A significant section of the library is formed by rare editions of XVIII–XIX centuries.

About 200 sheets and canvases of artworks of the XIX–XX centuries are the most interesting part of the collection, most of them being paintings and drawings of artists of the "World of Art" — contemporaries and friends of A.A.Blok, illustrators of his works, theatrical artists.

Graphics is the main and most valuable part of Orlov’s art collection. The highlights of the collection are the profile portrait of A.A.Blok by K.K.Sokolov and double portrait "Poets. Blok and Dante" by O.D.Forsh.

Among the designs there are outstanding sheets by Y.P.Annenkov, B.D.Grigoriev, B.M.Kustodiev, M.V.Nesterov, K.S.Petrov-Vodkin, portraits of the daughter of V.A.Jünger, the works of the Leningrad graphic M.G.Nemenova.

Of special interst are the etchings of different years by the member of “World of Art” circle E.S.Kruglikova — "House of Maximilian Voloshin", "Portrait of S.V.Shervinsky, M.A.Kuzmin and E.S.Kruglikova" (both 1938) and from her famous series of silhouettes — a portrait of Konstantin Somov (1916).

The watercolor is presented with a number of signed sheets by K.S.Petrov-Vodkin (“Khvalynsk. Houses" 1931; "the Moor", 1907), M.A.Voloshin (“Koktebel”, 1925), sketches by A.N.Benoit.

Of special interest is the collection of sketches for costumes and scenery by the artists of the "World of Art": L.S.Bakst, A.N. Benoit, A.Y.Golovin, B.M.Kustodiev, K.S.Petrov-Vodkin, S.Y.Sudeykin, A.K.Shervashidze, V.I.Shukhaev.

Works of easel paintings by well-known artists O.E.Braz, B.P.Williams, K.A.Korovin, B.M.Kustodiev, E.E.Lansere, K.S.Petrov-Vodkin are in Orlov’s collection also.

In Orlov’s collection there is also the Kustodiev’s sketch for the monumental painting "Peter the Great" (1910), sketches of Petrov-Vodkin of the Paris period (1906-1908) and his "Samarkand" series (1921).

A small part of Orlov’s collection is formed by the items of medallic art (52 medals and two medallions with reliefs).

V.N.Orlov presented his library and art collection to the Museum-apartment of A.A.Blok in 1983. According to the agreement, the collection should be stored in its integrity in the Museum-apartment of Alexander Blok and be available to researchers and lovers of Blok’s poetry and poetry of the Silver age.

In 2006-2010, the Fund was enriched by items from the collection of N.P.Ilyin: the Museum received the documents, manuscripts and letters of A.A.Blok, members of his family and inner circle.

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  • Orlov's book collection
    Orlov's book collection 26
    For V.N.Orlov, a writer and scientist, his extensive library was not a collection, but the working library, which reflected the research interests of Vladimir Nikolayevich —from the literature of the early XIX century and history of the Decembrist movement to books of the Soviet poets and writers.

    All books can be divided into several sections:
    lifetime ... 
    • Books about A.A.Blok and his time
      Books about A.A.Blok and his time 26
      More than half a century V.N.Orlov was persistently engaged in the study of the creative biography of Alexander Blok. Many editions of the collected works of the poet came out edited with commentary and introductory articles by Vladimir Nikolaevich. The books about Blok "the Poet and the City", "Hello, Alexander Blok", "Humayun", and etc. were written by him.
  • Painting
    Painting 9
    A few works of easel painting collected by V.N.Orlov were made by first class artists O.E.Braz, Moscow painter, theatre artist P.B.Williams, K.A.Korovin, B.M.Kustodiev, E.E.Lansere, K.S.Petrov–Vodkin, a follower of I.E.Repin — V. G. Tikhov etc.
  • Graphics
    Graphics 21
    The main and most interesting part of V.N.Orlov's art collection are drawings, watercolors, theatrical sketches and prints by the artists of the "World of Art" circle.
  • Medals
    Medals 8
    In Orlov’s small collection of medallic art there are samples of domestic memorabilia, commemorative, portrait and souvenir medals. The most valuable are the works of A.F.Vasyutinsky, I.B.Gass, M.L.Dillon, M.A.Skudnov, S.Y.Yudin - the medals of the XVIII - XX centuries.
  • Photos
    Photos 3
    In V.N.Orlov’s Fund several portraits of Vladimir Nikolayevich are kept together with photos of B.L.Pasternak, S.I.Chikovani, G.N.Leonidze.