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Viktor Shvaiko


Viktor Shvaiko (Russian, b. 1965) arrived in New York with little money and less English, he was again able to survive by selling his paintings. At this time he developed his penchant for painting the little European cafes, street scenes and other intimate places that we see in his work today and that have become his trademark. The romantic impressionism of his work and the use of light creates a feeling that you can walk right into his paintings, walk the streets of Italy, sit outside at a table at a French bistro. His enticing mix of beauty and mystery has drawn the interest and admiration of collectors from around the world. His warm and exciting colors and the subtle, but simple approach to his subjects, are the reasons why his original paintings, hand-embellished limited editions are sought-after by throughout the art world. Read More

Born in Altai, Russia, Viktor Shvaiko grew up surrounded by the beauty of the wilderness. His natural inclination for fine arts and his strong urge to share his vision of nature drove him to find a way into the Novoaltaisk Artistic School, one of the two best schools for the arts in the former Soviet Union.

Four years of strenuous studies enabled Viktor, a very diligent student, to acquire the skills of a true artist. Viktor Shvaiko credits his teacher, Ilbek Khairoullinov, for a true fine arts education and becoming a nationally known artist. A strict regimen of drawing, an intricate technique of using colors, and the influence of the 19th century Russian artist Karl Brynllow brought Viktor Shvaiko close to a traditional academic style of painting. After having attained technical excellence in the manner of these traditional influences, the artist now possessed the tools with which to express his feelings to the world. At this point, Viktor's main focus was to capture the beautiful European landscapes and French café street scenes on textured canvas.

The Shvaiko family then moved to Transkarpathia, the western mountainous portion of Ukraine. It was there Viktor Shvaiko became enchanted with the picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful countryside. He continued to paint and was invited to show in two individual expositions in Moukachevo in 1990 and a group exhibition in Hungary in 1991.

Shvaiko chafed under the stifling effect that the lingering Russian bureaucracy had on the careers of young artists. Unable to get a visa to a Western country, Viktor was permitted to travel to Yugoslavia. In the confusion of the civil war, he fled to Italy with his paintings strapped to his back, often encountering gunfire from roving bands of militia. Having arrived in Italy, virtually penniless, Viktor Shvaiko survived by selling his paintings on the streets of Rome. He managed to build a following for himself and save some money. He eventually returned to a now more liberalized Russia, and was able to obtain passage to America.

Viktor now lives in New York with his wife and children for most of the year but still travels back to Russia as often as possible to visit. Art Leaders Gallery has had Viktor in the gallery on a number of occasions for individual and group exhibitions. Shvaiko truly enjoys meeting clients and talking with them about his artwork.

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