During the first post-war decade the high points in the museum’s life were exhibitions by Soviet artists. They took place in 1946, 1947, 1949-1952 and 1954.
Monographic exhibitions by famous Russian artists from the 18th-19th centuries which were held during this period were an opportunity to study their creative work. In 1947 Gallery staff prepared the first personal exhibitions for A.K.Savrasov and A.G.Venetsianov, in 1948 for I.I.Shishkin, in 1949 K.P.Bryullov, in 1952 P.A.Fedotov, in 1955 F.I.Shubin and K.A.Savitsky. The 1956 A.A.Ivanov exhibition was, for many visitors, a revelation and opportunity to discover his work. From 1956-1957 the All-Union exhibition took place displaying work by M.A.Vrubel. The exhibition showed the artist’s multifarious creative work in all its glory. In addition to his easel painting, which were kept in the Gallery’s collection, private collections and museums in other cities, the exhibition also displayed previously unknown drawings produced during the artist’s last years, his majolica and studies for monumental paintings.
The 100th anniversary of the Tretyakov Gallery was widely celebrated in May 1956. To mark this anniversary between 1955-1957 the A.A.Ivanov hall was extended. By that time the Gallery’s collection consisted of than 35,000 works of art. The interest shown in the Gallery’s collection by Muscovites and tourists from the USSR and abroad was immense. In 1955 the Gallery had 1,300,000 visitors and organised 10,000 tours and lectures for grown-ups and 3,500 for schoolchildren.
The visitors to the Gallery are seldom aware that the exposition is just the tip of the iceberg. Only a small part of the collection can be displayed in the Gallery halls at any one time. It was for this reason that the Tretyakov Gallery launched travelling exhibitions to showcase its collection in other cities across the country. Original work by well-known masters was sent to these exhibitions.
The 1960s-1970s saw a significant increase in the popularity of late 19th – early 20th century and Soviet art. Already by 1957 all the 18 halls containing Soviet art were arranged in a new way. In later years the exhibition of the post-revolutionary decade was expanded. It reflected the complex development in artistic exploration during the 1920s. In addition to the creative work of the AHRR group, (E.M. Cheptsov), who adhered to the realistic art traditions expounded by the beliefs of the Peredvizhniki, the exhibition also displayed the art by artists from different trends, mostly those from the Society of Easel Painters (D.P.Shterenberg, A.A.Deineka, Y.I.Pimenov) and the Four Arts groups.
The Gallery began to hold exhibitions devoted to art from the late 19th – early 20th century. The research departments at the Gallery studied the creative work by artists from the "Jack of Diamonds" society, such as P.P.Konchalovsky, I.I.Mashkov, A.V.Lentulov, R.R.Falk, N.S.Goncharova and M.F.Larionov who had been accused of Formalism in past years.
It was important that exhibitions were organised to showcase the work by artists from the World of Art group, such as A.N.Benois (1970-1971), M.V.Dobuzhinsky (1975) and K.A.Somov (1970). These were the first exhibitions of artists in Russia that were held posthumously. The anniversary exhibitions of N.K.Roerich (1959-1960), V.A.Serov (1958-1959, 1965), V.E.Borisov-Musatov (1972-1973), M.Ciurlionis (1975) and M.F.Larionov (1980) attracted the public’s attention.
The 1960s-1980s saw a rise in interest in medieval Russian art. The Bureau of the World Peace Council decided to organise an exhibition entitled "Andrei Rublev and His Time" (1960), which was an important event in the country’s cultural life. The exhibitions, "Northern Art" (1964), "The Rostov-Suzdal School of Art" (1966-1967), "Art of Pre-Mongolian Russia" (1974) displayed the accomplishments by art and science in this area.
The Gallery continued to research art from the 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. An exhibition entitled "Fyodor Rokotov and his Artistic Circle" (1960) was organised, as well as work by P.A.Fedotov (1965), A.P.Antropov (1966), F.P.Tolstoy (1973), A.G.Venetsianov (1980) and O.A.Kiprensky (1982-1983). A real bonus was the discovery of virtually unknown artists across the entire artistic range, which made during exhibitions entitled "Portrait of the Petrine Period" (1973), which was jointly organised with the Russian Museum, and "Unknown and Forgotten Portrait Painters of the 18th – early 19th Century". In 1966 the halls at the museum housed an unusual exhibition entirely devoted to the creation of V.I. Surikov’s painting entitled Boyarynya Morozova.
The Gallery also celebrated the 100th anniversary of the STAE. From 1971-1972 many anniversary exhibitions were held, for example, "The Society of Travelling Art Exhibitions’s First Exhibition; a Reconstruction", "The Peredvizhniki at the Tretyakov Gallery", "Portrait Painting of the Peredvizhniki", "Genre Painting of the Peredvizhniki", "Landscape Painting of the Peredvizhniki" and "Drawing and Water Colours of the Peredvizhniki".
The Gallery also held important monographic exhibitions by Soviet artists, for example, M.V.Nesterov (1962-1963) and K.S.Petrov-Vodkin (1966), the 100th anniversary of I.E.Grabar Birthday (1971) and the 125th anniversary of F.A.Vasiliev’s birthday (1975). Exhibitions were devoted to the creative work of artists like K.A.Yuon (1976), V.V.Rozhdestvensky (1978), M.B.Grekov and P.D.Korin (1982). The exhibitions of contemporary artists, such as D.A.Nalbandyan (1981) and V.E.Popokov (1982) proved to be important events in Moscow’s artistic life.
From the mid 1960s the Gallery’s activities were afforded a special place for exhibitions of graphic art: "Drawing, Water Colour, Pastel and Gouache of the late 19th – early 20th century" (1963), "Soviet Easel Graphic Art" (1917-1945) (1964), "The Russian Water Colour of the late 18th – early 20th Century" (1966-1967). "The Graphic Art Heritage of I.E.Repin" took place between 1969-1970. Graphic art by N.V.Kuzmin was put on display to Gallery visitors in 1972, as well as work by V.I.Surikov, T.A.Mavrina and V.A.Milashevsky (1973), D.I.Mitrokhin (1974), P.V.Miturich (1978) and D.A.Shmarinov (1982).
An interest in separating subject and genres in art created several topical exhibitions, for example, "Labour in the Work of Soviet Artists" (1971), "The Self-Portrait in Russian and Soviet Art" (1976-1977) and "The Interior in the Creative Work of Russian and Soviet Artists during the 14th – 20th Century" (1980). During the 1980 Olympics Muscovites and guests to the capital could visit an exhibition entitled: "Moscow in Russian and Soviet Painting".
By the mid 1980s the museum halls barely had the capacity to hold the ever increasing number of individual visitors, tours and school groups. The need to expand the Gallery premises became a most pressing task not only for the Gallery administration, but also for the Soviet government.