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Natalya Prager



Prager was born in Moscow in 1938. The daughter of a famous Russian artist Vladimir Prager.


She began her life as a ballerina studying at the Bolshoi

 Theater Ballet School. As a young woman she participated in the Bolshoi

 Theater performances but the rigorous training damaged her health.


Her exposure to music at a young age certainly influenced the subjects of her future endeavors in art. Her works are lyrical and with observation tell an intimate story.


Encouraged by her father, she turned to painting and became a student at the Moscow College of Art. She had two exhibitions of large canvases to critical acclaim at the First Exhibition of Young Painters in Moscow when she was eighteen years old.


After marrying her fellow artist Igor Kononov in 1957 she expanded her work in many different different areas, including book illustrations, circus and stage design, and puppet making for a children’s TV channel, receiving critical success and broad recognition.


Prager- Kononov came to the United States with her husband and son in 1975. The first years were extremely difficult, but they never looked back. The family settled in Staten Island and since 1985 in Bridgewater, NJ.


Natalya displayed her works in some of the most prestigious locations in NYC including 57th street and SOHO galleries, Lincoln Center Gallery, Staten Island galleries and many others throughout the country. Her final show, jointly with her husband, was produced by Somerset Arts Association in 1999.


Animals had a special place in Natalya’s life and art. Some of the enchanting NYC Toy Center soft animal toys had been designed by her and continue to bring joy to children of the world.


Many national and local newspapers published extensive articles and personal interviews praising her enchanting work as a door to the Bewitching Fairy Kingdom.


In April of 1999 there was retrospective exhibition of the works of Natalya and Igor at the Somerset Art Association.


Natalya died in May of 2000 but her motto lives on: Life is short, but wonderful, just be happy.