Oil on canvas board
17 7/16" x 21 3/8"
Donated by the artist
Zenowij Onyshkewych (b. 1929) is a prolific Ukrainian American artist, whose oeuvre includes a wide range of mediums spanning sixty years of creative expression: landscapes, portraits and caricatures executed in oils, watercolors, and ink or pencil. A product of two continents, Onyshkewych's creative heritage is a consequence of a complex personal history—that of a Ukrainian immigrant absorbing the European painting tradition through a strong American lens. Onyshkewych himself is a vivid embodiment of the impact that the cruelty of the 20th century—with its displacements, wars, ruptures, and losses—has had on human fate. After witnessing the terrors of the Second World War as a teenager in Poland, Austria, and Germany, young Zenowij relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1949. Settling on the Lower East Side of Manhattan Onyshkewych began taking classes at the Art Students League of New York. His teacher, Reginald Marsh, one of the best known chroniclers of 1930s and 40s New York, connected the young artist to the tradition of American urban modernism. While Onyshkewych was never fully devoted to urban visuality and street scenes, he reacted to this aesthetic through the dynamic energy and exuberant brushwork in his paintings.
Onyshkewych's work is found among prestigious American and international collections, including the Vatican, where he painted a life size portrait of Pope Paul VI commissioned for the official residence of the Pope. Onyshkewych's caricatures and editorial illustrations have appeared in The New York Times and The National Observer. He produced book covers for Reader's Digest, St. Martin's Press, McGraw Hill, and Random House, just to name a few. He taught life drawing and painting at Fairfield University for nearly 20 years. Zenovij Onyshkewych is a long-time resident of Ridgefield, Connecticut.