Best Gallery Or Museum In Virginia: Lazare Gallery / 2020 American Art Awards

Thom Bierdz
4 min readJul 19, 2020


For 12 years, American Art Awards has decided the 25 Best Galleries and Museums in America. Among the criteria: years in business, industry reputation, online activity, location, size, exhibits, educational programs, represented artists and references from artists, clients and visitors. Each year only one gallery or museum per state in 25 states is selected.

American Art Awards:

“This is the West’s foremost repository of works from the Moscow School of Russian Realism. Lazare Gallery is located along one of the most scenic stretches of country highway in the United States, between Richmond and Williamsburg, adjacent to the forests and farm fields of Berkeley Plantation. The 6200 sq ft gallery encompasses an inventory of more than 1,100 masterful paintings. The American Art Awards is proud to proclaim Lazare Gallery the Best Gallery or Museum in Virginia, 2020, and one of the 25 Best Galleries and Museums America.”

“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.” 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 beauty 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. John Wurdeman, one of gallery owners, has lectured on 20th Century Russian art in numerable countries at Museums.

The gallery has loaned hundreds of paintings to Museums. The owners have received from the Russian Academy of the Arts, the “Surikov Medal” Russia’s highest art medal, for their contribution to Russian Art History. Members of the Russian Art Academy have informed Lazare Gallery that they feel the finest 20th Century art collection in private hands can be seen at their gallery. If you love traditional art, you are invited to visit. Just thirty minutes from Richmond International Airport, 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 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. A cottage on the wooded grounds, beside a small pond, accommodates overnight guests.

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 advisers during their tri-annual buying excursions.

UPCOMING EVENTS: RUSSIA — PEOPLE AND PLACES (until June 30, 2020) Contact:

Web Site:

Address: 4641 Kimages Wharf Road, Charles City, Virginia 23030

Phone: 804–829–5001

VIDEO — 5 minute documentary of John Wurdeman recounting his personal history of discovering Russian artists, and explaining why big auction houses now appraise these works as serious investments:

VIDEO: 1 minute gallery award announcement: annually awards 25 museums and galleries in spring, and with their critique in autumn, awards 300 artists (painters, photographers, sculptors and digital artists).




Thom Bierdz

One of Medium’s TOP ART CONTRIBUTORS, award-winning author, actor, film-maker, painter. 12 books: 6 on art. President of WAA & AAA & ACCA.