Nicholas Roerich Museum

Nicholas Roerich Museum The mission of the Nicholas Roerich Museum is to make available to the public the full range of Roerich’s accomplishments.
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There’s been a slight change in our opening hours. Don’t worry—we’ll still be open the same amount of time. But on Frida...
11/04/2019

There’s been a slight change in our opening hours. Don’t worry—we’ll still be open the same amount of time. But on Fridays the Museum will open at 2pm and close at 7pm. If you’ve ever wanted to stop by after work but never had a chance to during our 12-4pm hours, this is your chance. Strolling through our galleries is a great way to finish off your week. All other hours will remain the same: Tuesday-Thursday noon to 4pm, and Saturday/Sunday 2-5pm.

Our museum now has an exciting addition to our gallery space: glass-paneled cabinets that display various sketches and d...
09/23/2019

Our museum now has an exciting addition to our gallery space: glass-paneled cabinets that display various sketches and drawings by Roerich. In this photo, in the left cabinet, you can see some of Roerich’s earliest work, completed while he was a student. If you’re already familiar with Roerich’s work, we hope that the contents of these cabinets will enrich your experience in the galleries. If you’re stopping by for the first time, they will give you a broader perspective of Roerich’s style and process.

Roerich was fascinated by the rich history of the white horse in myths, legends and folklore across all cultures. From h...
08/05/2019

Roerich was fascinated by the rich history of the white horse in myths, legends and folklore across all cultures. From his writings, we know that he was aware of all of its incarnations, from the horse of St. George, to the steeds of the Germanic Valkyries, to the horse of Gesar Khan, the great hero of ancient Asia.

He emphasizes that the white horse in folklore always belongs to the hero. However, he says, “sometimes the white horse brings alone the great message.” The white horse appears several times throughout Roerich’s work, including “White Stone,” pictured here, which he painted in 1933. The painting references the Tibetan legend of Erdeni Mori, the “jewel-bearing horse,” who descends from the mountains with a jewel on his saddle. This jewel is the Chintamani, the miraculous stone that is thought to be preordained to save the world at the appointed hour.

In his books and diaries, Roerich writes about how he saw imagery related to this legend in the local temples and monasteries he passed by on his travels throughout Asia. In the photograph below, taken recently at the Lamayuru Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Leh, you can clearly see just how closely Roerich observed and took inspiration from the places he visited.

*photo copyright Gvido Trepsa

Pictured here is “Milarepa, The One Who Harkened,” painted in 1925 and part of Roerich’s Banners of the East series. Mil...
07/29/2019

Pictured here is “Milarepa, The One Who Harkened,” painted in 1925 and part of Roerich’s Banners of the East series. Milarepa, who lived in the 12th century, is one of the most famous Tibetan yogis and poets. He is known for having embraced Buddhism despite a troubled past and for becoming an exemplar of dedication and mastery.

On the bottom left, you’ll see a photo of the Lamayuru monastery in Ladakh. Inside the the monastery is the Naropa cave (bottom center), the actual place where Naropa, Milarepa’s teacher, meditated for several years. The statue in the photograph is one of Naropa in the canonical pose used for representing both Naropa and Milarepa. On the bottom right, you can see another example of Milarepa in this canonical pose from a recent auction at Christie’s. Roerich visited Lamayuru and must have seen this statue, which no doubt inspired his painting of Milarepa.

If you’d like to see this painting in person, please visit our museum. Our hours are listed on our website, roerich.org.

*Photos copyright Gvido Trepsa

Our museum is pleased to finally announce an addition to our collection: “Monhegan” (pictured), painted in 1922. It is t...
07/23/2019

Our museum is pleased to finally announce an addition to our collection: “Monhegan” (pictured), painted in 1922. It is the third painting we own from Roerich’s ‘Monhegan’ series and one that can be considered a true masterpiece.

Monhegan Island, located ten miles off the coast of Maine, has been a magnet for many generations of American artists. The island is renowned for its primeval forests, jagged rock formations, and gritty beaches, all of which inspired Roerich when he visited during the summer of 1922. This trip preceded his travels throughout Central Asia, during which he painted the Himalayan landscapes he is best known for. Not only did Monhegan provide a unique, richly textured landscape for Roerich to play with on canvas, but it also primed him to continue exploring the nuances of rock formations in his later work.

This painting is truly best seen in person, as the vivid blues and greens are evocative of those carefree childhood summers we always want to return to. You can see this in the second floor gallery, so be sure to stop by and experience it in person if you have the chance.

April 15th marks the day when the Roerich Pact was signed as a treaty in the White House, in 1935, in the presence of Pr...
04/15/2019

April 15th marks the day when the Roerich Pact was signed as a treaty in the White House, in 1935, in the presence of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by all the members of the Pan-American Union (http://www.roerich.org/roerich-pact.php).

In 1954, in the wake of massive destruction of cultural heritage during the Second World War the international Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict was adopted at The Hague (Netherlands). Its preamble stated that it was guided by the principles established in the Roerich Pact.

Today the Roerich Pact continues to inspire people all over the world (e.g. http://banderadelapaz.org). In a number of countries this day is now celebrated as the Universal Day of Culture.

Cherished memories of Daniel Entin and the legendary singer Irina Arkhipova.
12/30/2018

Cherished memories of Daniel Entin and the legendary singer Irina Arkhipova.

04/11/2018

Please note that the Museum will be closed this Saturday, April 14th due to our ongoing construction efforts. We will be open on Sunday, the 15th, during our usual hours: 2-5pm.

04/03/2018

The Museum will be undergoing major construction in the lobby area until the end of April. We will still be open with all galleries accessible, except for a few days which will be announced. We ask that if you are planning a visit to the Museum and are able to reschedule your visit until May, that you do so. Otherwise, you are welcome to come, but please keep in mind that there will be occasional construction noise, there will be fewer paintings on view, and one of the galleries will accommodate the museum shop. Please keep an eye on the website and our page for updates on when our closing dates will be. We apologize for any inconvenience. Our goal, as always, is to make visiting the Museum a better experience for all and we appreciate your patience.

If you've ever visited the Roerich Museum, you know that, for the most part, it's a pretty quiet place. Now, imagine 2,0...
02/23/2018

If you've ever visited the Roerich Museum, you know that, for the most part, it's a pretty quiet place. Now, imagine 2,000 people viewing Roerich's work in one day. That's what was claimed to have happened on one Saturday in 1920 at the Kingore Galleries, then located at 668 Fifth Avenue.

Pictured here you see a review of that exhibition published in the New York Herald on December 26th, 1920. The reviewer, Henry McBride, describes the exhibition of Roerich's work as a smashing success, at least as far as attendance was concerned. His number of 2,000 is, on second thought, almost certainly impossible. The real number may have been one zero less, but it still tells us that the exhibition was popular.
McBride admits that "the name Roerich is not a household word in America," and yet the exhibition drew quite a crowd. The reviewer had to wait six liftfuls of people to go up before he could get there himself. And it was so packed that he could only see the tops of the paintings.
He wonders how Roerich's work drew these crowds, saying that entrepreneurs and managers of galleries would be wise to take note of how successful art exhibitions can be.
He attributes the success to the number of Russian emigres who were already familiar with Roerich's work, suggesting that Americans would do well to become more acquainted with Russian art and culture.
He does offer some interesting views on Roerich's work. "What shall we make of Prof. Roerich," he asks. "His art is almost too vivid for our academy." He does have a critical view of the work, saying that "Prof. Roerich is a little too fond of tricks. But on the whole his work is rugged and truly Russian." Comparing Roerich to Bakst, whose work was exhibited in New York before, he writes "Prof. Roerich, like Bakst, has not been content with the wide horizons of his native land and has looked beyond them at strange stylistic gods. Bakst was enamored of cosmopolitanism, but Roerich looked in one direction only--toward the East."
McBride's review is a fascinating view into how Roerich's work was received while he was still alive, and it gives us some insight in what the art world was like in the early part of the 20th century.

Please note that due to a high volume of patrons for our Sunday afternoon concerts, we have decided to introduce require...
02/20/2018
Roerich Museum Concert: Mozart, Schumann, Poulenc, Milhoud

Please note that due to a high volume of patrons for our Sunday afternoon concerts, we have decided to introduce required registration. Admission to the concerts is still free, but you must register and have your ticket with you. Patrons without tickets will be admitted only if we have empty seats shortly before the performance starts. To register, in the future, please follow the link that will be provided on the website. For the upcoming concert on March 4th, the link to register is: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/roerich-museum-concert-mozart-schumann-poulenc-milhoud-tickets-43293386685

John McCauley (piano), Michael Peng (violin), Keiko Kobayashi (clarinet) play Mozart, Schumann, Poulenc, Milhoud For the full program, please follow this link: http://roerich.org/concerts/recital-2018-3-4.pdf Tickets are free but registration is required.

Today marks the 115th anniversary of George Roerich’s birth. We’re celebrating by taking a look at his achievements in t...
08/16/2017

Today marks the 115th anniversary of George Roerich’s birth. We’re celebrating by taking a look at his achievements in the field of Tibetan studies, as well as his role in the Roerichs' travels.
Born in 1902 to Nicholas and Helena Roerich, George grew up in St. Petersburg and took an early interest in history. His mother wrote that he “showed love for history and soldiers. He had thousands of them. His passion for the art of war has survived until now. Strategy is his pet subject.”
George showed early potential for becoming a serious student and scholar. In his teens, he studied Egyptology and Mongolian language and history, going on to study at the Indo-Iranian Department of the London University School for Oriental Languages.
George accompanied his parents on their trip to America in 1920. He transferred to Harvard University and studied in the Indian Philology Department, deepening his knowledge and passion for East Asian languages. He continued his studies at Paris University in Sorbonne, graduating with a masters degree in Indian Philology.
In 1925, together with his family, he embarked on the four-year Central Asia Expedition. His abilities as translator were invaluable, as his knowledge of Tibetan and Mongolian proved crucial in communicating with locals. The expedition allowed George to apply his studies and gave him the opportunity to do his own independent research, which eventually became the book “Trails to Inmost Asia,” published in 1930.
Another result of the expedition was the formation of the Himalayan Research Institute. George was the director for 10 years and collaborated with Tibetan scholars to publish a Tibetan English Dictionary in 1934.
George stayed in India, in the Roerich home in Kulu Valley, until 1957, two years after Helena Roerich's death. During his time in India, he continued his work in writing, research and translation. Among other projects, he translated “Blue Annals,” an early work of Tibetan history.
After his return to Russia, George became the Head of the Indology Department in the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow. Along with continuing his academic research, he made efforts to restore the Roerichs' legacy in the USSR.
He died in Moscow, in 1960, at the age of 58.
He is pictured here in 1929.

Here is a photo of the Nikolai Kachanov Singers, our artists-in-residence, at last Wedneday’s concert at the museum. The...
06/09/2017

Here is a photo of the Nikolai Kachanov Singers, our artists-in-residence, at last Wedneday’s concert at the museum.

The evening featured early and contemporary choral music, with a lively program that included compositions by Byrd, Lasso, Messian, Monteverdi, Part, and Yukechev.

The concert was dedicated to Daniel Entin, the museum’s former director, who passed away last January.

Thank you to all the singers for their wonderful performances. The evening was a huge success, with many people in attendance. We’re very privileged to host such a talented group and look forward to their future work.

Tune in tonight to NYC-ARTS on THIRTEEN to see the Roerich Museum featured on the Curator's Choice segment. Hear our dir...
05/11/2017
Nicholas Roerich Museum New York I Curator's Choice

Tune in tonight to NYC-ARTS on THIRTEEN to see the Roerich Museum featured on the Curator's Choice segment. Hear our director Gvido Trepsa speak about Roerich's significance and his favorite paintings in the collection.

In case you miss the broadcast, you can take a look at the video on their website:

https://www.nyc-arts.org/showclips/115295/nicholas-roerich-museum-new-york-i-curators-choice

A visit to the Nicholas Roerich Museum New York on the Upper West Side.

In 1908, when he still signed his name as “Shagal,” the early modernist painter Marc Chagall wrote to Roerich with a hum...
04/27/2017

In 1908, when he still signed his name as “Shagal,” the early modernist painter Marc Chagall wrote to Roerich with a humble and rather desperate plea. At the age of 21, Chagall had been called to mandatory military duty, and appealed to Roerich for help.

“I love art too much." he wrote. "I have lost too much and am losing more, to accept the idea of wasting three years on military service.”

At the time, Roerich was the director of St. Petersburg’s School of the Imperial Society for the Encouragement of the Fine Arts, (left) where Chagall was a student. Roerich modernized the institution by introducing live models in the classrooms and encouraging students to visit the local museums, changes Chagall would have certainly benefited from.

But the most significant way Roerich affected Chagall’s life was when he put in a word to have his military service deferred, so that he could continue his studies. That same year, Chagall painted one of his darkest and most serious works, "The Deceased" (right).

From various sources we can suspect that Chagall was quite a rebellious, difficult student. Years later, Roerich wrote in his essay “Arka”: “He was at our school, but he had to be expelled - he began to cheat and sold his drawings to other students for to be used at the exams. One time he insufficiently wiped out his signature and got caught!” Even so, Roerich didn’t hesitate in helping him out when he needed it most.

Pictured here in 1910 is the interior of the Church of Holy Spirit, located on Talashkino, the estate of Princess Maria ...
04/05/2017

Pictured here in 1910 is the interior of the Church of Holy Spirit, located on Talashkino, the estate of Princess Maria Tenisheva in Smolensk. One of the most significant art patrons and collectors in Russia at the time, Tenisheva shared Roerich’s belief in the importance of understanding the past. From 1900 to 1916, she set up workshops on her estate dedicated to reviving the Russian arts and crafts tradition.

As Roerich recalls, he encountered “various cloths, coarse, bright, checked…simple fabrics, smooth and soft to the eye. The dye shop with its mystery of colors; tufts of grass and roots; an old Mordvin woman, versed in the science of making solid, permanent dyes. Choirs. Music. Finally the great event of the country—a theater.”

In the photograph, Roerich is seated before his fresco, “Madonna—Queen of Heaven,” with his young sons Svetoslav and George. Tenisheva commissioned Roerich to design the interior of her private church, as well as other murals, mosaics and furniture. In Talashkino, Roerich was able to adapt subjects and motifs from medieval icons and Russian folk art in a modern context.

Diaghilev, Benois, Bakst, and Stravinsky, all prominent figures in the Ballet Russes, had all spend time at Talashkino. Stravinsky wrote a letter to Roerich in February of 1911, requesting a meeting with him. “I feel we must,” he wrote, “so as to come to a final agreement about our baby, on which I will get started in the fall and hope to finish toward spring.” That baby was “The Rite of Spring.” It had it’s beginnings in Talashkino, where Roerich and Stravinsky worked together to create one of the most influential pieces of modern theater. Roerich’s impressions of Talashkino, mentioned above, are very much reflected in the mood and content of “The Rite of Spring.”

On this day, March 24th, in 1929, the Roerich Museum, which was located at 103rd and Riverside Drive, held a ceremony fo...
03/24/2017

On this day, March 24th, in 1929, the Roerich Museum, which was located at 103rd and Riverside Drive, held a ceremony for laying the cornerstone of the newly built Master Building. Pictured (top) you can see the cornerstone inscribed with the initials of the Roerich Museum.

The ceremony took place inside the rotunda, called the Hall of Nations, which was decorated with hundreds of flower arrangements and flags of all nations. The guest list (bottom left) included foreign consuls, diplomats, artists, architects, and U.S. government representatives.

In our archives, we have a booklet documenting the proceedings of the ceremony, transcriptions of the speeches, and the countless congratulatory messages from societies, museums and universities from around the world.

In his speech, Dr. James Sullivan, Assistant Commissioner at the University of the State of New York, perhaps summed up the spirit of the event most succinctly: “to pay tribute to the protagonist of international-mindedness in not only all that pertains to art and literature but also to all world affairs.”

While Roerich himself was at the center of the celebrations that day, the laying of the cornerstone represented the future of the building itself. Frances Grant, Second Vice-President of the Museum, said that “we are not only laying a cornerstone here today, but we are striking the first spark of fire from that stone. Around this flaming stone, we hope that there may grow a community of achievement which shall contribute to the larger welfare of humanity.”

Part of the ceremony included laying a 400-year-old Rajput casket (bottom right) inside the cornerstone. This casket, made of hand-wrought iron and inlaid with gold and silver, was brought from Calcutta by the Roerichs. According to the official documentation of the proceedings, it contained “various photographs and other data relating to the history of the museum.”

Address

319 W 107th St
New York, NY
10025

Opening Hours

Tuesday 12:00 - 16:00
Wednesday 12:00 - 16:00
Thursday 12:00 - 16:00
Friday 12:00 - 16:00
Saturday 14:00 - 17:00
Sunday 14:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(212) 864-7752

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