For the past 20 years East West Fine Art Gallery has regaled the Naples market with masterpieces by some of the finest contemporary Russian and Eastern European artists. Gallery owners Olga and Leeza Arkhangelskaya have reached new heights with the sublime genius of Russian painter Georgy Kurasov.
Kurasov’s original paintings frequently sell in excess of $40,000, but the price tag doesn’t really tell the story; as with all brilliant artwork, you must stand in front of the canvas and take in the colors and composition to appreciate it.
“A virtuoso like him is so rare, and it is such an honor for us to bring to Naples an artist of utmost historical and aesthetic significance,” said Leeza Arkhangelskaya.
Olga vividly recalls the first time she saw Kurasov’s art in 2000: “It was so striking, even to my trained eye – I thought I had seen every conceivable style! But this was brand new. I never dreamed then that his art would one day hang in our gallery.”
Kurasov was born in 1958 in Leningrad (now called St. Petersburg) and as a boy made plasticine models and drew sketches while sprawled on the wide wooden windowsills of his flat. In 1977 he enrolled in the sculpture department of the Academy of Arts and spent six years in a massive, high-vaulted open studio built in the age of Catherine the Great.
It was during this period that he met Zina, who would become his wife, muse and the stunning central image of almost all his work.
Every winter Kurasov’s most loyal collectors and fans welcome the artist and his wife to Naples. East West Fine Art organizes exhibitions of his artwork, with an annual unveiling of a new masterpiece. “This is the sign of a true genius — when an artist manages to make the most complex philosophical and mythological themes clear not only to scholars and art connoisseurs but to everyone,” said Leeza.
Kusarov’s style is original and his new works continue to surprise the art world. The refrain is: what will Kurasov dream up next? “The task of finding a fresh and independent approach seems almost impossible,” wrote art critic Laura Gomez in a 2017 article in Klassic International magazine. “Kurasov, however, has done the impossible, the best evidence of which is perhaps the difficulty anyone faces in classifying his style, in identifying it with any one of the known painting trends. The range of reminiscences to which his works give rise is truly wide, encompassing everything from Byzantine mosaics and Early Renaissance paintings to Klimt and Lempicka…”
Even those with a casual interest is art are likely to be stunned by the sight of a Kusarov painting, which commands attention with its eye-catching treatment of the human form and bold color schemes. “The freshness of his images never fades,” said Leeza. “His technical superiority is unquestionable. You can take a magnifying glass and inspect every inch and line, and you will only find perfection.”
Kurasov’s paintings were first exhibited in the United States in 1993 and he has had a strong following in North America for more than a quarter century. Art collectors continue to feel a magnetic attraction to his work and scholars continue to puzzle out his hidden meanings and tactical flourishes. One of the most succinct descriptions of Kurasov’s genius came from an East West Fine Art Gallery client, Ashley, who wrote: “His works are pure perfection, executed with the precision of a mathematician and attention of a jeweler.”