The Gridnevs Family Exhibition
17 April – 4 May, The Osborne Studio Gallery
Valery Gridnev, his wife Katya and their son Fedor, prodigiously gifted Russian artists, showcase their first family show in London, featuring portraits, ethereal dancers, nude studies and docklands scenes.
Valeriy and his wife Katya came to England in 1999 with their schoolboy son, 13 year old Fedor. Valeriy had already achieved an international reputation, including the privilege of a special studio in St Petersburg, and a coveted award, the Gold Medal of the Academy of Arts. Katya and Valeriy were welcomed by a noble patron, Lord Carnarvon (7th Earl) who invited them to Highclere (aka Downton) as artists-in-residence from 1999 until 2002. In 1984, Valeriy was accepted at the Repin Institute of Painting, Sculpture and Painting, in St Petersburg, a temple of academic tradition, named after Russia’s master of realism, Ilya Repin (1844 to 1930) who painted Volga boatmen, Tolstoy, Ivan the Terrible, the occasional Grand Duke. Valeriy quickly established himself as an artist of outstanding ability, who was offered a teaching post at the Academy of Arts, which he rejected to concentrate on private commissions. Collectors from the US, France, Finland, Germany, Belgium, and the UK came calling.
He now lives in the UK with Katya and Fedor, considered to be the finest Russian portrait painter working in London. Sitters include the Earl of Carnarvon, Jean, Countess of Carnarvon, Lord Porchester, assorted grandees, and British champion jockey Lester Piggott, who hardly ever lost a race. Medals and prizes include awards from the Royal Societies of Oil Painters and Portrait Painters. In 1993, after her marriage to Valeriy and the birth of Fedor, Katya (who had always loved drawing and painting since childhood) was accepted by the Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg, rare for an artist with no formal training. She won first prize for portraits at the end of her first year at the Academy. Since 1999, she has exhibited in the US, Germany, Moscow, St Petersburg and London. Her pastel studies of dancers, many from the Mariinsky ballet, where she has access backstage, are especially accomplished, and sought after.
Fedor, born 1986, has been sweeping up glittering prizes since he came to England as a schoolboy. He arrived at 13, studied at one of Oxford’s finest schools, qualified as an architect at the AA, where he won three awards. He has decided to abandon architecture for art, often painting the Docklands of St Petersburg which he invests with a translucent romantic quality.
The Osborne Studio Gallery
2 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8JU
Open: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm