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Established in 1996, James Yarosh Associates Fine Art Gallery
is located in the second floor loft space of the former 1917 firehouse
at 45 E. Main Street (Rt.520) in Historic Holmdel Village, NJ 07733
Entrance on the inside corner of building & additional parking lots in the rear.

Open Saturday 12-4pm. Weekday & evenings hours scheduled by appointment
732 993 5278 or 732 993 5ART

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The Artists

Olga Svetlechnaya
Olga Svetlechnaya

OG, "Academic Datcha," 1958, 12 3/4in x 17 3/4in, oil on board.

Matriarch of the Kugach Family of Artists:

Yuri Petrovich Kugach was born March 21, 1917 in the Old Russian city of Suzdal, located in the Vladimir region. In 1931 his studies in art began at the “1905” Moscow Art School. In 1934 the school established a painting department which afforded Yuri the opportunity to study under the great Nikolai Petrovich Krymov. In 1936 Yuri moved on to study at the Moscow Art Institue (known today as the Surikov). Once in attendance at the Institute, Kugach skipped directly to the second year and studied under the highly revered I.E. Grabar and S.V. Gerasimov. While Studying painting at the Surikov, Yuri fell in love with one of his fellow classmates Olga Grigoryevna Svelichnaya. In 1937 the two exquisite artists where married. Olga was born in 1915 in the Ivanov countryside in the Yukhovskii region of the province Kaluzhskaya. She began her studies in art from 1929 to 1932 at the “1905: Moscow Art School. In 1934 she was accepted to the Surikov Institute. While attending the Institute, Olga had the fortune to be selected to study under the highly revered artists, I.E Grabar, S.E. Gerasimov, and A.A. Osmerkin. The couple was blessed in 1939 with a son Mikhail, who would later carry on the artistic tradition of his parents.

In 1942 Yuri graduated from the institute and from 1948 to 1951 he taught at the Surikov. In 1943 Yuri and 11 other academically accomplished artists (including his wifeOlga Svetichnaya) were evacuated to Sarmakand, Uzbekistan for the duration of the war. It looked like Moscow might fall to the Germans so the Soviet government decided to evacuate their most promising artists who they saw as cultural assets.

After 1950, Yuri and Olga moved to the countryside of the Tver region. The couple lived in close proximity to the Acadamichekaya Dacha ( House of Artists of Russia). Numerous famous artists, including Repin and Levatan, where notorious for visiting and painting this beautiful countryside. Scenes of village and family life became the predominant subject of both Yuri and Olga’s work. They where driven by the principle that “[art] is only strong with it is national” and a nation is made up of it’s people. What better way to create works of national eminence than to depict the nation’s people. The decision to take up residence in the country was also to allow his wife to paint beautiful works unfettered by the commercial world. Yuri loved his wife dearly and valued her paintings as high, if not higher than, his own. Their son Mikhail remembers his father saying that he would play the career of enhancing political games. He would become famous and earn the family income so that his wife could spend her life just painting great paintings. After the war, Yuri was honored with the teaching and tutoring position at the Academicheskaya Dacha School for artists. Yuri is the founder and a member of the Moscow River School, a school steeped in the academic tradition. Great emphasis lies on capturing a sense of atmosphere as well as the accurate depiction of space. One of the primary messages he impressed upon his students was “Do not repeat our mistakes”. Yuri Kugach is recognized in Russia as one fo their greatest artists of the 20th century.

Mikhail, the son was born in 1939 enrolled in his first art class at the Moscow secondary art school at the age of ten in 1949, which was affiliated with the Surikov institute. He studied here until 1956 when he was accepted into the Surikov Institute. He graduated from the Institute in 1962 and began to actively exhibit his works. Since 1963, Mikhail has participated in every regular exhibition that is associated with the Artist’s Guild. In 1965 he became a full member of the Artist’s Guild. Fron 1967 to 1968 he had the opportunity to work under B.V. Ioganson in the studio of the Soviet Academy of Arts. He is a member of the Moscow River School. Mikhail Kugach continues to paint the every-day life o genre scenes he is now know for. Aside from painting he has been honored to hold several significant posts throughout his life. From 1987 to 1989 he was the director of the “1905” Moscow Art Institute. Since 1988 he has been the chairman of “Moskvorech’e”, the creative union of artists. In 1995 he was selected to be the member-correspondent for the Russian Academy of Artists. Mikhail continues to paint today with Yuri in the Tver’ region along the Msta River.

Mikhail, like his father, had a son in Ivan Mikhailovich who was born December 12, 1972. He began to study in art in 1986 at the 1905 Moscow Art School. He went on from there to be the third generation of his family to study at the Surikov Institute from 1990 to 1996. He was a student of the famous V.N. Zabelin. Ivan Kugach is the current president of the Russian River Group that includes many notable artists including Nikolai Koslov.


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Fine Art since 1996
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