The building of St.Petersburg Union of Artists is one of the most popular places in art and cultural life of the city. Since 1763 the building belonged to I.P.Yelagin, the authorized representative of Empress Catherine The II. Lots of meetings, on which D.Fonvizin and A.Sumarokov acted, were arranged there. "The German comedy house" also performed in Yelagin's house.
At July 1st, 1877 under the decree of Emperor Alexander The II the building has been granted to the full property of the Society of Encouragement of the Arts, based in 1820. For the first time in Russia the showrooms were opened there, the house was used as a place for various meetings as well.
The main aim of the Society of Encouragement of the Arts was the assistance in the development of the domestic art. The works of A.Kuindzhi, N.Roerich, A.Benua, V.Serov, V.Vasnetsov, L.Bakst, K.Korovin, E.Lansere, N.Altman, N.Akimov and hundreds of other artists were presented there first, and now you can see them in all museums and private collections in Russia, Europe and America.
After The Great October Revolution in 1917 the Imperial society of Encouragement of Arts was transformed to All-Russian, and it was functioning till 1932. The Union of artists occupies it now by the right of continuity