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.

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 ...
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. T...
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...
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.”

At the end of March, 1930, Roerich sent a cablegram (pictured, top) to George Chklaver, the Secretary General of the Eur...
03/15/2017

At the end of March, 1930, Roerich sent a cablegram (pictured, top) to George Chklaver, the Secretary General of the European center of Roerich activities based in Paris. As the Roerich organization representative in Paris, he was in charge of the Roerich Pact’s legal matters, including writing all the legal documentation for it.

The Western Union paper tells us that Roerich sent the cablegram from New York to Paris. He writes to George Chklaver asking to get a few things for him. The “Pills Savoneuses Boissy” he mentions are Boisy’s Soap Pills, powdered soap with buckthorn extract. The “Powder Rachel Number One” was a French face powder by the brand Coty, presumably for Helena, his wife. “Canvases from La Franc” are the boards he favored for his paintings by the brand Lefranc. At the end of the cablegram, he mentions “bring our helmets,” by which he means the pith helmets commonly used in the British Army. (Pictured, bottom you can see Roerich and his son George wearing these helmets in India in 1923.)

Roerich intended to go to Paris and then Bombay on May 2nd by the Steamship Genova, as he tells George in the cablegram, and wanted him to prepare a few necessities for the journey. Roerich ended up having to postpone his travel plans because he had trouble getting his visa.

In honor of #InternationalWomensDay, we’re turning our attention to Helena Roerich (1879-1955), Nicholas Roerich’s w...
03/08/2017

In honor of #InternationalWomensDay, we’re turning our attention to Helena Roerich (1879-1955), Nicholas Roerich’s wife, pictured here ca. 1900, around the time they met.

Roerich said that his paintings had two authors: him and his wife. He said she was the inspiration behind his creativity and often suggested many themes and subjects that he depicted in his paintings. Many of the female figures in his work are based on Helena, including the white-robed figure in "She Who Leads." (1924, right)

In that sense, Roerich’s work was very much a collaboration between him and Helena. When he finished one of his paintings, Helena became their owner, both formally and informally.

Her personal accomplishments are impressive in their own right. She was probably the first woman (certainly the first European woman) to cross the Tibetan plateau from north to south, when she traveled with Roerich from Ulan Bator to Darjeeling. The journey was far from easy — she was nearly 50 years old, traveling on horseback, and the party stayed in summer tents during five cold winter months. Even when temperatures reached -30C, her internal body temperature was so high that she had ice put on her to cool her down.

In addition, she wrote several books of non-fiction and maintained an extensive correspondence that are now published in nine volumes.

From our archives, we bring you an unusual bit of ephemera from Roerich’s life.On November 11th, 1940, Roerich made a ...
03/05/2017

From our archives, we bring you an unusual bit of ephemera from Roerich’s life.

On November 11th, 1940, Roerich made a note above a colorful paper cut-out. Translated from Russian, the note reads: “Chinese ornaments for the New Year celebration to be put on the windows. They are quite rare nowadays” Pictured, you can see two more from his collection.

We’re not sure what attracted Roerich to these ornaments, or where he got them from. It’s quite unusual for us to have evidence that he collected ephemera like this. We can only imagine that his house in Kullu Valley, India, where he was living at the time, was a bit more colorful than usual on New Year’s.

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319 W 107th St
New York, NY
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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

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(212) 864-7752

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