Russian art collector. He was a wealthy Moscow businessman, owner of a complex of textile mills, and—like his brother Mikhail (1870–1903)—a passionate lover of French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist painting, on which he spent huge sums. Many of the pictures in his collection were bought from Durand-Ruel, but Morozov also employed a representative in Paris to buy from other sources. He also regularly visited Paris himself, and Félix Fénéon wrote that ‘No sooner had he got off the train than he found himself in an art shop’. In 1907 he acquired a group of pictures from Ambroise Vollard and later bought from this dealer a Cubist portrait by Picasso (of Vollard himself, 1910, Pushkin Museum, Moscow), even though—unlike the other great Russian collector of the time, Sergei Shchukin—he was not particularly sympathetic to Cubism. Morozov corresponded regularly not only with dealers, but also with many French artists, including Bonnard, Denis, Matisse, and Vuillard, from whom he also commissioned works (Denis visited Moscow in 1909 to install a series of five large paintings on The Story of Psyche, and Morozov ordered six additional pictures from him). The chief glory of the collection was a group of seventeen Cézannes: at this time it was probably the finest representation of his paintings in the world, featuring superb examples of every genre in which he worked. Morozov's collection was less accessible than Shchukin's, but it was visited by many artists and connoisseurs. In 1918, following the Russian Revolution, it was nationalized and opened to the public. During the 1920s it was amalgamated with that of Shchukin, and they were later divided between the Hermitage in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) and the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, each of which consequently boasts one of the greatest collections of early 20th-century French painting in the world.
From A Dictionary of Modern and Contemporary Art in Oxford Reference.