Featured Russian Artist
Fine art oil paintings for sale by Yuri Vnodchenko.
Yuri Vnodchenko is this month's "Featured Russian Artist" at L.P. Cline Gallery. After three years of challenges in preparing a book about the life and works of this extraordinary man, Honored Artist of Voronezh, Russia, we are thrilled to finally present it to the world.
The Life and Words of Yuri Vnodchenko is not only a book of beautiful paintings, but a tribute and acknowledgment to some of those who have helped us along the way.
You will find the heartfelt story of Vnodchenko's life from his days in the orphanage throughout his life as he followed his dream, knowing he had lived for a purpose when others had died. The historical text by Vladimir Dobromirov, director of the Voronezh Oblast Art Museum, I.N. Kramskoi, is inspiring.
This is the beginning of other publications planned for the Voronezh artists. Your support in purchasing this book will make those plans a reality for those who thought their work would never be known to the outside world.
"During his period of history, artist Yuri Vnodchenko, with an exceptional talent for expressing the truth of the time in which he lived, fully repaid to his country the advance of the gift released to him from above."
There is truly something to be said about finishing anything we start in this life. The idea for this publication and the others that will follow began almost from the time we first visited Voronezh. We looked at the artist, his works, and the perseverance it took to be an artist, and knew a book like The Life And Works of Yuri Vnodchenko had to be. The challenges were many, but the reward has already come.
I traveled to Voronezh in July 2010 to view the book and arrange shipping to the US. A big presentation celebration had been planned earlier to be held at the Kramskoi Museum. We knew of course that this would depend on Vnodchenko's ill health. We were always conscious of the timing in fear of the finish date being too late. Sadly, it was too late for his beloved wife, Galina Ivanovna, to share in this with him.
Life has a way of constantly changing and, as we have learned, plans involving our Russian trips always change. Little did we or anyone ever think that Russia would experience the worst summer heat in history this year. This, along with the artist's continued failing health, made it impossible to have the big celebration we wanted — that is, big in the way our world views things. Instead, a far more beautiful celebration took place as myself, Vladimir Dobrimirov, and Vitaly Martynenko went to Vnodchenko's home and met with him and his daughter on a Thursday afternoon.
I will never forget the feeling in that room as Vnodchenko held the book in his hands and saw his life's work in print.
Vnodchenko told of the Babuska painting that is the cover page. She was a grandmother to all around her. We had been told before that she had dug in the earth to plant food with her bare hands. There were no garden tools to help. He spoke of the different friends that found their faces on his canvases. The painting, "Woman in Black Veil," was the widow of a dear friend and he captured this view of her after the burial as she was sitting by the graveside. He spoke of the travels that took him away from his family for long periods. He lovingly spoke of how his wife worked and cared for the children while he gave his life to his work. She insisted that this be the way because she wanted him to use his gift.
His daughter reached over and touched his head as she shared with us how kind her father had always been. "He has never spoken an unkind word against anyone in all of my lifetime," she said. I had always heard of his best qualities and knew him to be so humble. Everyone always speaks of his eyes and the strength and goodness you see in them.
He shared a little of his struggles in the orphanage and the hunger he felt. I cannot even begin to imagine. I only hope that I could have come out of that and spent my life sharing God's gift with the world in such humility and gratefulness as he has done. He is truly one of the great artist of this time, but even better, a great man. I feel so honored to have been in his home and shared that time with him. It was the perfect celebration. I keep thinking how five people became so much more than the hundreds we had planned for.