Hermitage Museum Teams With Phillips for Gala Auction Honoring Jeff Koons and Erik Bulatov

On Saturday St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum Foundation will hold its third annual gala co-hosted by New York’s Phillips de Pury & Company auction house, where artists Jeff Koons and Erik Bulatov will be honored, the revered museum’s Art From America program will be launched, and Simon de Pury will auction brand new works by Michal Rovner, Damien Hirst, Ingrid Dee Magidson, and others.

The gala — which boasts the unreasonable Eli Broad as the Honorary Chairman of its Host Committee — will also honor collector and philanthropist Neil K. Rector, who donated the artwork “Artistic Vision 2009″ by Oleg Vassiliev to the Hermitage’s contemporary art collection, the first gift of the Art From America program. In addition to contributing work to the auction, Martin Mull will serve as the gala’s master of ceremonies.

“As we build our Post-War and Contemporary art collections, the Hermitage Museum welcomes the Hermitage  Museum Foundation’s Art from America program which is designed to expand the Museum’s holdings into the 21st century and beyond,” State Hermitage Museum director Mikhail B. Piotrovsky said in a statement. “The  Hermitage has collections of great masterpieces from our 21 Rembrandts to many of the most significant and  beautiful works of Matisse and Picasso. We welcome the opportunity to display the works of the great  American artists of this period permanently in our new General Staff Building facilities. Art from America© will  allow us to curate new art that will become the history of tomorrow.”

The museum is in the midst of renovating St. Petersburg’s General Staff Building so that, by the time the institution celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2014, it will house its rapidly expanding permanent collection of 19th, 20th, and 21st century art.

— Benjamin Sutton