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Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor
Erez Lichtfeld/Sipa/Shutterstock

Viatcheslav Moshe Kantor

London; Moscow

Fertilizer (Acron Group); President of the European Jewish Congress

Contemporary Russian art; Russian and Jewish art of the 20th century

Overview

Russian businessman Viatcheslav Kantor, who has served as the president of the European Jewish Congress, primarily buys works by Russian artists of Jewish extraction, ranging from School of Paris painters Marc Chagall and Chaim Soutine to Russian conceptualists Ilya Kabakov, Erik Bulatov, and Grisha Bruskin. Kantor’s collection forms the basis of Moscow’s Museum of Avant-Garde Mastery, which he founded in 2001. MAGMA holdings contain the world’s largest private collection of 20th-century Russian avant-garde art, with a particular emphasis on the year up to 1930.

In 2010, Kantor told Forbes (which estimated his wealth at $4.1 billion in 2019) the purpose of MAGMA was “to bring back to Russia all the names that have been ‘appropriated’ by other countries. For many people it would probably be a revelation to find out that many famous artists that rose to prominence in Europe and America, whose works are the envy of any museum in the world, were in fact our compatriots. At the same time, people in other countries are surprised to discover that their ‘local heroes’ happen to be Jews, and originally from Russia: Chagall, Zadkine, Lipschitz, Delaunay.”

In 2018, the President of the Russsia Academy of Arts and People’s Artist of the URSS, Zurab Tsereteli, awarded Kantor with a robe and diploma, officially making him an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts. Kantor minted his fortune in the fertilizer industry, as the leader of Acron Group, a major manufacturer of the product in Russia, which he purchased in 1993, following the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

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