Still haunted by the illusive Hidden Treasures – the French Impressionist paintings – brought to the Soviet Union after World War II, hidden away for the last fifty years in the Hermitage, we find ourselves again at the ticket window; the same response to our inquiry: a vague wave of the hand toward the Jordan Staircase. Again we walk the corridors of the vast former Winter Palace of the Tsars; this time we are more focused……..an easel in the hallway; poster board with the universal symbol for ‘no photos allowed’, and a few unidentifiable words……. Entering, we find them: the 74 masterpieces by – Renoir, Van Gogh, Monet, Pisarro, Toulouse-Lautrec, Gaugin, Cezanne, Degas and others. All displayed on simple white background, they take our breath away, knowing these paintings have not been seen for fifty years, and before that by only a few when lent from private collections to public exhibitions.
the following examples taken from ‘Hidden Treasures Revealed’ published in 1995, speak for themselves…………
I was not to see Rosalyn again. A brief good bye on the telephone – she still cannot understand why we cannot stay for the rescheduled concert.
From my travel journal Saturday, July 8: “it is my nature to feel a finality each time I leave a faraway place; to wonder if I will ever return, to know that it will not be the same even if I do. And so we lift off from Russian soil, feeling as though the lens of our experience has zoomed in over field and roads, taken in the magic of an exotic city, and now pulls away leaving a sense of melancholy to replace the anticipation of arrival.”