Something was amiss in our visit to the Hermitage. We were told that the Impressionist paintings had been moved to another building. After the unpleasant visit on the first day, we were discouraged from going any further.
We decided to return today. The newly renovated building, in all its splendor, contained works from the Shchukin collection that included most of the French Impressionists and many more. The experience was completely different. We could take our time, enjoy each piece of work at our own leisure, and be among very few tourists or other visitors.
The General Staff Building is outside the Hermitage complex and was opened in June this year. They are still trouble shooting the building, so few people seem to have any information on what it is. This worked to our advantage, although there were no audio guides available. A visitor center was being prepared to handle a much larger volume of visitors, but it had not been implemented in the Hermitage complex yet. We appeared in the middle of this transition.
Here are a few of my favorite Matisses and Picassos from the Shchukin collection. They are absent titles and dates, except for those where I made notes.
You can read more about the collection here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergei_Shchukin.
Period interiors were impeccably detailed and displayed:
A separate Art Nouveau exhibition displayed gifts to the Russian Royal Family: