Lugt 1960

Nikolay Vasilievich Basnin was a Moscow lawyer and a collector of prints, books and paintings. He came from an old merchant family, well-known in Siberia. His father, Vasili Nikolayevich Basnin (1799–1876) a learned and broad-minded man, started the family collection. He gave a good education to his sons, who also became collectors. 

In 1859, the family moved to Moscow, and Nikolay Basnin entered the Law Faculty of Moscow University, graduating in 1863. Later he travelled in Europe where he visited museums and libraries, studied musical harmony and orchestration. He created sonatas and published them. From 1876 to 1918 he worked as an attorney at law in the Moscow Chamber of Appeals. His real occupation was collecting, to which he dedicated almost all his spare time and a great part of his money.

A lawyer and a collector, Nikolay Basnin was closely linked with the museums (especially with the Rumyantsev Museum) which entrusted him to be their legal representative. For instance, in 1909–1910 he conducted a case on the behalf of the Rumyantsev Museum concerning the theft of prints. Being the executor of the will of Nikolay Mosolov, another famous collector of prints, Basnin conducted a case of transferring his heritage to the Rumyantsev Museum. At the same time, being a collector of prints, drawings and books, he took an active part in the life of the Print Cabinet, helping to study and to systematize new prints coming to its collections. Already during his lifetime Basnin started to transfer parts of his print collection to the Rumyantsev Museum. He was its honorary member and in 1914 he became a member of the Society of Friends of the Rumyantsev Museum.

Lugt markIn the second half of 19th century, the Basnin Collection of graphic art was considered one of the largest in Moscow. In 1918, when it was transferred to the Rumyantsev Museum, it included more than 8000 prints, around 120 drawings and around 300 books with prints. Almost every sheet of the collection carried Basnin’s stamp.