WASHINGTON, August 19 (RIA Novosti) - The founder of the US museum that houses the largest collection of Russian icons in North America, Gordon Lankton, has been selected as one of the recipients of this year’s Tsarskoselskaya Art Award, becoming only the second American in 20 years to win the prize, an American who works with the award’s nominating committee in Russia said Monday.
Lankton, who opened the Museum of Russian Icons in Clinton, Massachusetts in 2006, was chosen by the chamber of commerce in the St. Petersburg suburb of Pushkin to receive the award in recognition of his role in promoting Russian culture and art in the United States, and for strengthening international bonds, Royce Anderson, the executive director of the International Center of Worcester, in Massachusetts, told RIA Novosti.
“Victor Afanasenko, the president of the Pushkin Chamber of Commerce, met Gordon and was very impressed with him as a person, not just for everything he’s done with the museum but as a citizen diplomat, too,” Anderson told RIA Novosti.
Lankton will travel to Pushkin in October to accept the award.
The only other American to win the award since its creation in 1993 was philanthropist George Soros, who received the prize in 1999 for his “unique contribution to Russia's culture, science and education.”
Previous winners include Nobel Prize for physics laureate Zhores Alferov, and conductor and pianist Maxim Shostakovich, son of composer Dmitri Shostakovich.
Lankton bought his first Russian icon at a flea market in Moscow in the late 1980s, and when his collection had grown to around several hundred pieces, decided to open a museum.
Today, the Museum of Russian Icons is home to more than 500 Russian icons and artifacts spanning six centuries, making its collection the largest of its kind in North America and one of the largest private collections outside Russia.