The State Museum of Fine Arts named after Pushkin is sometimes referred to as Moscow's Hermitage. Since its official inauguration in 1912, the museum was named after Emperor Alexander III and the name was later changed in honor of the Russian poet Alexander Pushkin.
The first exhibits of the museum were copies of sculptural works by the Ancient Greek and Italian Renaissance masters whose originals were kept in German and English private collections and museums. New collections of Egyptian art, and Western European and Impressionist paintings were later acquired by the museum. Nowadays, the museum houses one of the largest collections of Western European and Antique Art in Russia.
The Impressionist collection of the Pushkin Museum contains some of the best known works by Impressionist masters. The visitor can see works by Cezanne, Gauguin, van Gogh, Picasso, Matisse, Renoir and many others. Other exhibits include works by Rembrandt, the Minor Dutchmen, Boticelli, Canaletto, and other masters.
A well-publicized controversy exists between the Pushkin Museum and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It concerns the former Impressionist Collection of the Museum of Modern Western Art which used to be located in Moscow. It housed collections of Russian industrialists Morozov and Schukin who, by the early 20th century, had created one of the best impressionist collections in the world. Following a Stalin's order the Museum of Modern Western Art was closed, and the Impressionist collection was divided between the Pushkin Museum and the Hermitage. The Pushkin Museum maintains that the Hermitage should return its Impressionist collection as it originated in Moscow of all places.