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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

River of Art

If you think you might like to have a Russian painting to grace the walls of your Moscow apartment and forever remind you of this crazy country, stop by the Zamoskvorechye gallery.

Specializing in Russian Realism from the 1930s to today, the gallery also has Socialist Realist works of the Stalinist era. The landscapes, portraits and genre paintings of scenes from everyday life say Russia without the touristy onion domes of Orthodox churches or the views across Red Square.

The Zamoskvorechye gallery is something of a cross between the Izmailovo market and the Tretyakov Gallery.

Hundreds of paintings are stacked in the storage room, and the nice ladies who run the gallery will let you poke around and flip through the dusty stacks until something catches your eye.

The paintings are grouped by artist, so the trick to narrowing your search is to find one you particularly like. Regina Nezlobina, the gallery's fine arts expert, or someone else will be around to tell you about the artists and help you keep all the other paintings from tumbling as you pull out your favorites.

Many of the artists - Alexei Belykh, Igor Popov, Yakov Romas, Irina Shevandronova, Andrei Tutunov and Alexei and Sergei Tkachyov, to name a few - have pieces hanging in the Tretyakov and other museums.

The state-owned gallery was started in 1991 under the leadership of Larisa Rybnikova, who is still the director. Its mission has been to promote the Russian school of realistic painting and work with the best artists in Moscow and across Russia who are continuing this tradition today.

Nezlobina says other schools of Russian art, such as Moderne and the avant-garde, have come and gone, but Realism has withstood the test of time.

"It's like a giant river. Other influences may run into it, but all the same, the river continues to flow," she said.

Zamoskvorechye has about 2,000 paintings, with prices varying widely from about $50 to $10,000 and up. It also works with a number of artists who do portraits on commission.

The gallery regularly sponsors special exhibitions, both in its own space and elsewhere. One exhibit, which is set to open in late August at the Baltschug Kempinski Hotel, is described as an attempt to look at the history of 20th century Russia through portraits of its people.

The Zamoskvorechye gallery is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at 24 Serpukhovsky Val, Bldg. 2. The entrance is through a courtyard off of the street. Tel. 954-3009, 952-3008. Metro: Shabolovskaya.

- Lynn Berry