Sunday, 1 March 2009


“Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” - Zhuangzi

For Art Sunday today, a Russian artist who paints in the surrealist idiom, reminiscent a little of Magritte, a little of Dalí and with a turn of the brush that’s quite his own – he prefers to call his style a “metaphorical realism”. It is Vladimir Kush, who has become quite well-known, with his quirky, yet very accessible art. He was born in 1965 in Moscow, and even as a child of 4, Vladimir would sit on his father’s lap drawing. His father, a huge influence on him, was a mathematician.

Growing, Vladimir attended art school after his regular high school until 9 p.m. Art school was a world of a new inspiration. The art school Vladimir Kush attended was focusing on a Cezanne style of painting, which Kush began to emulate at the age of 14. Soon bored with it, he painted his first surreal picture. When Vladimir was 17, he entered the Moscow Art Institute. At age 18, he entered into the mandatory two-year stint of military service where Kush was allowed to paint murals and big canvases. Of course, Vladimir Kush had to include military elements in these romantic or even fantastic landscapes. Kush's free time was spent painting surrealistic pictures, which he had to hide from his commanders.

In 1987, Vladimir began exhibiting with the Union of Artists where his paintings began to sell. The artist drew political caricatures for a newspaper (using Uncle Sam as a main character), and painted portraits on the streets in the heart of Moscow. At that time, Kush was invited to paint a series of portraits for the U.S. Embassy staff. Vladimir eventually had to curtail his work on these portraits after the KGB became suspicious of his involvement with Americans. At that time, Vladimir Kush first saw a book with Salvador Dali works.

In 1990 Vladimir Kush had a successful show in Germany with two other Russian artists. Kush then flew to Los Angeles, where he had sent 20 of his recent works for a showing. This was a beginning of his American odyssey, and Kush finally settled in the USA. Kush has two galleries, one in Hawaii and one in California, where he exhibits his works – paintings and sculptures.

The painting here is called: “Departure of the Winged Ship”.


  1. Thank you - I couldn't find the name of this painting anywhere (or who it was actually by for that matter as it featured on some sites saying it was Salvador Dali's). I hate not knowing something and so have been trying to find out what painting it was and who it was by since I saw it! It's a really beautiful painting - I just love the whole concept!!!

  2. Nicholas, I just purchased an authorized Dali print called Barco Papillon from a gallery in Spain. It seems identical to this one by Kush. How can this be? Should I be concerned regarding the authenticity of my print? I seem to find the picture listed under both artists when searching on the web. Is there a subtle difference that I am not recognizing? Thanks for your help!