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Gallery Owners

Husband and wife duo, John and Kathy Wurdeman have been business partners for over 17 years. With marketing backgrounds and the skills they honed while growing their former business, Old World Prints, Ltd., into a dominant player in the art publishing industry, John and Kathy bring diverse knowledge and talent to Lazare Gallery.

Artist, Art Restoration Expert, Framer

As a compliment to our professional staff, David Elsea brings years of training and expertise as an artist, art restoration expert and framer to Lazare Gallery. During a long period of academic training in drawing and painting, David studied under Ron Lukas, master apprentice to the Russian Impressionist S.Bongart, M.Houssin at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in France and M. Burban at the Art Students League in NY. He also spent years studying the drawings of the Italian Masters and the paintings of the French Impressionists. With his strong academic training, and through a process of independent research and study, David has also mastered the intricate art of restoring master oil paintings. His original paintings are held in private and government collections in Europe and America. David's pleasant personality, exceptional talent as an artist, extensive knowledge of art history, restoration and framing skills are all an asset to Lazare Gallery.

S. Brusilov        2004        Forest Flowers
"It is wonderful," Russian artist Mikhail Kugach said recently, "to see a gallery recognize the importance of and focus on the most skilled artists of the Moscow School of Russian Realism, the world's greatest realism art movement of the 20th Century."

This showcase of Russian Realist painting, which has earned the admiration of Kugach and countless other artists, art collectors and art investors, is Lazare Gallery.

Located in rural Charles City County, Virginia, far from the capitals of the fashionable art world, Lazare Gallery is nonetheless the epicenter of the West's discovery of the surpassing beauty of Russian Realism.

Centered in Moscow, the Moscow School of Russian Realism has become one of the art world's most attractive investments for good reason. Representational rather than abstract, its landscapes, genre paintings and portraits possess enduring appeal. Adhering to the most exacting standards of Old World masters, Russian Realist painters have produced, beginning in the 1870s and continuing to this day, a body of work unsurpassed for technical virtuosity, an elegant color palette and a subject matter as powerful as the Russian soul it expresses.

"Lazare Gallery has established itself as the West's foremost repository of works from the Moscow School of Russian Realism."
With an inventory of more than 1,100 paintings, individually selected for their quality rather than quantity, Lazare Gallery has established itself as the West's foremost repository of works from the Moscow School of Russian Realism. These masterworks, while influenced by the French Impressionists, remain untainted by the dissonant "isms" that have afflicted art since the beginnings of the modern age.

The paintings are housed in an inviting, 6,300-square-foot gallery and studio in a gracious, wooded setting on the banks of Virginia's historic James River, reachable by car or by boat. A cottage on the grounds, beside a small pond, accommodates overnight guests. A warm, welcoming, and well-informed staff, including gallery owners John and Kathy Wurdeman, are eager to share their intimate knowledge of and enthusiasm for the collection.

S. Smirnova         2004         Bathing
The Wurdemans have amassed this remarkable inventory through their close personal and professional relationships with the artists themselves. Jonathan Wurdeman, the owners' son, is the only American to graduate from Moscow's famed Surikov Institute, where he studied under Vyacheslav Zabelin (1935-2001) and came to know other Russian Realist painters. Jonathan lives and paints today in the small Georgian village of Signaghi. He acts as one of his parents' interpreters and advisors during their tri-annual buying excursions.

You can experience this remarkable collection and explore the fascinating possibilities of investment in Russian Realist art by attending one of the gallery's select events and exhibitions or by scheduling a private tour. The Wurdemans can arrange to have you met at the Richmond International Airport, just 30 minutes from the gallery.

A warm welcome to Lazare Gallery!

G. Korolev         1954         Cottage
Lazare Gallery is located along one of the most scenic stretches of country highway in the United States, in Charles City County, Virginia, between Richmond and Williamsburg. Adjacent to the forests and farm fields of Berkeley Plantation, an antebellum mansion built in 1726, the 6,300-square-foot gallery stands in secluded woodlands. This serene setting features a comfortable and inviting cottage for overnight guests, overlooking a peaceful pond. The gallery itself looks out on the placid James River and can be reached either by car, through a road in the woods, or by boat, which can tie up at the dock.

A visit to retreat-like Lazare Gallery affords art lovers a unique opportunity to enjoy great paintings with gracious hosts eager to share their intimate knowledge of the collection they have assembled during their many visits to Russia.

M. Kugach     2001     Birch Trees by the River
Having themselves spent years learning to appreciate the subtleties of the Moscow School of Russian Realism, Lazare Gallery founders Kathy and John Wurdeman love nothing more than helping other art lovers and art investors benefit from their experience and expertise. In this way, Kathy and John's guests will also learn to distinguish the finest works and most attractive investments.

The Wurdemans look forward to your visit.
Use the links below to find more information about the history of Lazare Gallery, Our Russian Realist collection, and upcoming exhibitions and events pertaining to our Soviet and Russian works collection.

Virginia Living Magazine, April 2017, Pages 19 and 21 — In the Oeuvre

Distinction Magazine, August 2014 — A Road to Russia

The Tretyakov Gallery Magazine, #1 2013 (38) — Russian Realism in an American Land

Outdoor Painter, July 2012 — Russian-American Art Summit

Fine Art Connoisseur, Jan/Feb 2009 — A Family's Story Parallels Russia's

Fine Art Connoisseur, Jan/Feb 2009 — The Merriman Collection

Photos of Kugach Openings, Jan 09 — Russian Embassy & AUM Photos

Art & Antiques Magazine- Collector's Sourcebook, Oct 2007 — ARTISTIC SEARCH FOR PERFECTION

Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine, Feb 2006 — WHY IS RUSSIAN ART HOT?

Home & Design Magazine, Fall 2005 — OUT OF RUSSIA