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The State Hermitage Museum, founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great, has become one of the world's greatest museums. The first public exhibition was held in 1917, the year of the October Revolution.
Throughout the following decades, the museum produced numerous exhibitions that varied greatly in subject matter. Some were based solely on the museum's own holdings; some, on the borrowed collections. Many focused on the work of specific artists; others, on particular genres.
For each exhibition, the museum produced a printed catalog. Although some consist of only a few pages, others have six hundred or more. Generally, the catalogs contain few illustrations. Most texts were published in Russian, although some were bilingual and a few, produced for foreign exhibitions of Hermitage collections, were printed in languages such as German or Japanese.
Distribution of the catalogs was extremely limited, so virtually no library outside the former Soviet Union contains even a substantial collection, let alone a comprehensive set. Our unique microfiche editions compose an exhaustive record of the museum's public exhibition work, from the very first show in 1917 until 1972.This collection also highlights the growth of the Hermitage collections during the twentieth century.