Billionaire Roman Abramovich, owner of London's Chelsea Football Club, will finance Russia's first retrospective by postwar artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov.
The Moscow show opens Sept. 15, and it features more than 150 paintings, drawings and objects. It runs until Oct. 15 simultaneously at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, the Winzavod Contemporary Art Center and the Garage center for contemporary art, founded by Daria Zhukova, Abramovich's girlfriend.
"The Kabakov retrospective has been organized with the support of Roman Abramovich," said Erica Bolton, spokeswoman for Zhukova, in an e-mail. She declined to specify the amount of Abramovich's support.
New York-based Kabakov, 74, is a founder of the Moscow conceptualist art movement that developed in the Soviet Union despite state repression of non-official art. In 1989, Kabakov began collaborating with his wife, Emilia.
"Abramovich's support makes things much easier and now we can concentrate on our work instead of fundraising problems," said Emilia Kabakov in an e-mail.
Forbes estimates the fortune of Abramovich, 41, at $23.5 billion, making him the second-richest person in Russia and 15th in the world.
On April 30, Norilsk-based Mikhail Prokhorov Foundation, controlled by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, said it would give $2 million to be the Kabakov retrospective's main sponsor. On June 5, the foundation rescinded that pledge.
"In the end, we decided to focus our efforts and resources on realizing other interesting projects that are closer to the foundation's cultural strategy," said Irina Prokhorova, the foundation's director, in a statement.
At the end of February, Kabakov became Russia's most expensive postwar artist when Phillips de Pury & Co. in London sold his 1982 painting "Beetle" for 2.9 million pounds ($5.8 million).