Fine Art Fundraising: Vail International Gallery hosts event for Limbs for Liberty |

Fine Art Fundraising: Vail International Gallery hosts event for Limbs for Liberty

"Standing Nude on Blue Background," by Mikhail Turovsky, acrylic on paper, Vail International Gallery.
Vail International Gallery/Courtesy image

A critic once wrote, after seeing an exhibition of Mikhail Turovsky’s work, “One cannot leave an encounter with Turovsky unscathed.” His work depicts his truth, his experience. At once, the viewer sees beauty and, at times, chaos.

And the chaos currently going on in Ukraine at his time has led Turovsky, a featured artist at Vail International Gallery, to donate 14 original drawings to Limbs for Liberty which helps amputees from Ukraine receive prosthetic treatment. On Dec. 27, the gallery will host a fundraiser for the charity with Andrey Chehrsak, the first Ukrainian soldier to receive a state-of-the-art prosthetic leg, in attendance.

If you go…

What: Mikhail Turovsky Fundraiser for Limbs for Liberty

Where: Vail International Gallery, Vail

When: Dec. 27, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

More info:

“Our gallery has specialized In exhibiting and selling museum quality paintings from the former Soviet Union for nearly 20 years,” the gallery’s co-owner Marc LeVarn said. “When the war began I had several conversations with Mikhail about what we could do to support Ukraine and when I explained the mission of Limbs for Liberty to him he Immediately donated the 14 drawings we have for sale.”

And 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the drawings will go to Limbs for Liberty.    

Originally from Ukraine, now living in New York, Turovsky’s canvases create pictures tinged with a combination of cruelty and kindness, humiliation and ennoblement — expressions of his history.  Born in Kyiv in 1933, Turovksy first painted on makeshift easels, yet his talent was quite evident. In 1941, with the advent of war he, along with his mother and brother, had to flee the city, moving from one hiding place to another. Turovsky entered the Kyiv Art Institute soon after World War II ended. However, the school’s iron discipline quashed any dissent, any self-expression. The artists became puppets.

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“Mikhail is a product of the Soviet Union’s art system where the artists were trained the same way the Gold Medal athletes and the Bolshoi dancers were trained,” LeVarn said. “The ‘system’ emphasized a rigorous classical art education and you can see that in the technical foundation of his work. Turovsky had it made in the old Soviet system. He was a member of the painter’s union and had a full-time job as an artist, but he couldn’t stomach the artistic control of the Soviet system. He Is a Ukrainian patriot at heart and always emphasized his identity as a Ukrainian/American.”

“Tree,” by Mikhail Turovsky, oil pastel on paper, Vail International Gallery.
Courtesy image/Vail International Gallery

Compelled to leave the USSR in 1979 during the Cold War, Turovsky and his family emigrated to New York. Three hundred of his works, confiscated by the Soviet authorities as “national treasures,” were the price of his freedom.

“His break with the totalitarian world and a career controlled by the government provided the passkey that unlocked our understanding of the requirement for quality and authenticity that would constitute a marked characteristic of his work throughout his life,” Serge Lenczner wrote in his book, “Turovsky.”

Turovsky’s paintings reveal a mastery of technique, enthusiasm and rhythm that are, at once, imposing and incredibly fresh.

“When I look at Turovsky’s work, I see a distillation of the greatest modern painters of the 20th century, filtered through his own talent, his own vision,” LeVarn said. “So, when you look at his art, you can see elements of Kandinsky. You can see elements of Chagall, Matisse, Klimt. They’re all there. This benefit Is not only for a great cause but It Is an opportunity to acquire a beautiful original by a 20th-century master. All the drawings are priced between $500-$900, so they are within reach for anyone who wants to support Ukraine and acquire a museum-quality work of art.”

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