Collection Information

Lazare GalleryLazare Gallery’s showcase of Soviet Era 20th century paintings has been praised by numerous art professionals as an assemblage that qualitatively and numerically surpasses any collection of its kind. Unrivaled access to Russia’s finest realist paintings and a concentrated focus on elevated quality has been the foundation of this remarkable repository of Russian Masterworks.

Throughout the history of art, significant artists themselves have been among the first to recognize the most talented of their contemporaries. John Wurdeman, the son of the owners of Lazare Gallery was the only American to graduate from Russia’s most prestigious 20th century graduate art institute, the Surikov. Because of John’s charisma and talent, he garnered significant notice and respect from art professors and from the eminent academic artists of Moscow. With relationships being all important in Russia, John, his talented Surikov professors, Nikolai Dubovik and Alexey Sukhovetsky and fellow prodigy artist, Ilya Yatsenko gained the owners of Lazare Gallery rare access to the art works of some of the most revered artist of the times. Gallery on the James RiverAdditionally, Lazare Gallery’s owners chose their advisors according to their knowledge of where the caches of grand works were located, their having the trained eyes “to see” and their ability to ascertain genius. Unlike many private and museum collections of Russian 20th century art that concentrate on govern- ment commissioned works, the selections made by the Lazare Gallery team focused on the most acclaimed artists of this era and their highest quality paintings. Instead of targeting works that the government directed artists to create, Lazare Gallery sought and found the works that these prominent artists created for themselves. These were the paintings that these artists admired, were proud of and found to be superb. They were the more poetic, lofty works created. For these reasons, the collection of Russian 20th century masterworks at Lazare Gallery stands out.

In addition to unique access to superior works of art, timing of acquisitions played an important role in building the Lazare Gallery collection. From 2000 to 2008, the owners were often received in studios of distinguished artists and were privileged to be the first or one of the first to view and select formidable paintings. Today, works of the caliber found in these early days of perestroika are much more difficult to find. Greatly diminished is the number of significant family collections that remain intact. Likewise, fewer Russian art professionals have or are willing to part with finer works.

Kathy and John WurdemanLazare Gallery owners, Kathy and John Wurdeman, have taken advantage of rare access to Russian art professionals. They have spent countless hours visiting with and seeking opinions of the great Russian artists of the times. Thereby, they have acquired an education directly from these artists or if deceased, from the families of the artists who were forging 20th century art history. The astute information gathered during these sessions allowed for the creation of distinctive informational documentaries, books, articles and museum lectures which in turn have greatly facilitated the comprehension of the 20th century Russian realist art world. Kathy and John’s successful backgrounds in business, along with the insights gained from their professional art dealer peers have also facilitated their development of an in-depth and unique understanding of the Russian art markets.

Considering the Wurdeman’s contribution to Russian Art history, Kathy and John have been awarded an honorary diploma from the Surikov Institute. Each has also received the Surikov Medal from the Russian Academy of Arts, the Academy’s most significant achievement medal. Additionally, John has been presented an honorary diploma from the Russian Art Union.

Enjoy a taste of Lazare Gallery’s Russian Realist collection as you browse through the selection of Russian Masterworks featured on this site.