The Maxim Gorky Museum is located in a mansion owned by the Russian entrepreneur Ryabushkinsky; it was taken away from the family and nationalized in 1917. The mansion was built by the tremendously talented architect Fyodor Schechtel, and is one of the most interesting works in the Moscow Art Nouveau style. Schechtel's imagination and skill comes out in every detail, and in how the space is organized: there is the famous staircase in the form of a sea wave, and the recurring subject of nature and the sea can be encountered in many textbooks that study Art Nouveau architecture. Since the Ryabushinsky family were Old Believers, the house is also fitted with a private Old Believer chapel that is hidden from view from the street.
Maxim Gorky settled here after he returned to Soviet Russia in 1932 (having lived 10 years abroad) at Stalin's invitation to help raise the government's authority to an international level. Gorky was given this mansion and "security." This key Soviet writer lived under constant "protection" and, in all probability, these were very difficult years in his life. Gorky passed away just four years after returning to the USSR.