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    Jacques Hnizdovsky: Content and Style. Evolving Perspectives
    Exhibition marks the 40th anniversary of The Ukrainian Museum

    March 13 – August 28, 2016 (Extended!)

    Jacques Hnizdovsky, Avenue Breteuil, 1957, oil on canvas. Gift of Ostap and Ursula Balaban

    The works depicted herein were reproduced with authorization from the Hnizdovsky estate (www.jacqueshnizdovsky.com).
    Unauthorized reproduction of exhibited works is strictly forbidden by the estate of the artist.

    New York, NY
    February 26, 2016

    The year 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the Ukrainian Museum, and an exhibition of the works of Jacques Hnizdovsky (1915-1985) is especially appropriate for the Museum's year-long celebration. Hnizdovsky embodies the ethos of post-World War II Ukrainian artists of the diaspora. He ranks among that generation's most distinguished and accomplished figures. And he designed the Museum's logo for its debut in 1976. Jacques Hnizdovsky: Content and Style. Evolving Perspectives is comprised of more than 100 works by Hnizdovsky, including oils, woodcuts, linocuts, ceramics, sculptures, drawings, and more. The exhibition opens to the public on March 13; it will be on display through August 7, 2016.

    Exerpt from the essay by guest curator Jaroslaw Leshko

    Hnizdovsky's prodigious oeuvre, dominated by paintings and prints, places him in a long, distinguished tradition of painters-printmakers from Albrecht Dürer, whose woodcuts were Hnizdovsky's earliest inspiration, to the present.

    The singularity of Hnizdovsky's vision of the world is at once direct, accessible and eloquent. It was forged by the Art Academies of Warsaw and Zagreb, the immigrant communities near Munich, the powerful force of modernism confronted in New York, moments of crisis, perseverance and ultimate triumph.

    Among the themes Hnizdovsky explores in his paintings are his experiences of the aftermath of World War II in DP camps and the beauty and drama of cities where he lived. In his landscapes he explores nature's variability and beauty and his still lifes celebrate earth's bounty. The artist's religious works, powerful and expressive, probe issues of betrayal, suffering, and redemption.

    Hnizdovsky's most mature and accomplished works are his woodcuts on which he concentrated in earnest since 1960, and whose major subject is nature's flora and fauna. Stylization, a word often used as shorthand to define Hnizdovsky's unique visual language does not fully convey the artist's transformative iteration of the natural world. His plants and creatures are taken from nature, but are not of it.

    The importance of Hnizdovsky's achievements was recognized by Peter A. Wick, curator of the Department of Printing and Graphic Arts of the Houghton Library at Harvard University, when he wrote in 1976: "The woodcuts of Jacques Hnizdovsky represent some of the richest and most original printmaking in American Graphic Arts of the past thirty years."

    Hnizdovsky has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, among them the Tiffany, the MacDowell Colony, and the Ossabaw Foundation fellowships. His work is in many important private and public collections, which include the Cleveland Art Museum of Fine Arts, the Davison Art Center of Wesleyan University, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Philadelphia Museum, the White House and Yale University.

    Jacques Hnizdovsky: Content and Style. Evolving Perspectives is drawn from the Museum's extensive collection of his works, a large portion of which was generously donated by Stephanie "Fanny" Hnizdovsky, the artist's wife, and Mira Hnizdovsky, their daughter. Other gifts of major works by the artist are from the collections of Ostap and Ursula Balaban and Dr. Andrew and Tatiana Tershakovec. The exhibition is further augmented by generous loans from members and friends of the Museum. The Museum is especially grateful to the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago for an important loan of Hnizdovsky's paintings and prints to the exhibition.

    About the artist
    Jacques Hnizdovsky (1915-1985) was born in the village of Pylypche, Borshchiv region, Ukraine. Hnizdovsky began his art studies in 1938 when he entered the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts to study painting. The outbreak of World War II interrupted his studies, and he later completed his studies at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, Croatia where he remained until 1944. That year, he began a major canvas, The Art Academy, which he completed in 1950. After leaving Zagreb, Hnizdovsky reconnected with the Ukrainian diaspora community in displaced persons (DP) camps near Munich where he stayed till his departure for America in 1949. Hnizdovsky's masterpiece of the European phase of his career is the painting Displaced Persons (1948), which is on display in this exhibition.

    Hnizdovsky arrived in America in 1949, settling in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he entered and won second prize in two juried shows, one for his graphic work, the other for painting which persuaded him to become a full-time artist and move to New York City. The cities that he chose to paint are mainly New York, which he came in 1950 and settled, and Paris, where he resided temporarily from 1956 to 1958.

    Jacques Hnizdovsky: 1915-1985. Retrospective Exhibition (1995) back and front covers.

    About the guest curator
    Jaroslaw Leshko, Professor Emeritus of Art, Smith College, in Northampton, Mass. taught the history of 19th and 20th century art at Smith College for 35 years. He received his B.A., M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has been a guest professor at Amherst College and at Mount Holyoke College. He has lectured widely and curated many exhibitions, and published numerous articles both in the U.S. and internationally. He is the author of Orbis Pictus: The Prints of Oskar Kokoschka, 1906-1976 (1987, with E. H. Gombrich), Smith College Museum of Art European and American Paintings and Sculpture, 1760-1960 (2000, with John Davis and Suzannah J. Fabing), as well as many exhibition catalogues including the Ukrainian Museum's Jacques Hnizdovsky: 1915-1985. Retrospective Exhibition (1995) and Alexander Archipenko: Vision and Continuity (2005). Prof. J. Leshko served as president of the Board of Trustees of The Ukrainian Museum from 2008 to 2011.

    Exhibition sponsorship
    The exhibition Jacques Hnizdovsky: Content and Style. Evolving Perspectives is made possible with the generous support of private donors.

    Exhibition Catalogue
    The Ukrainian Museum has made available for sale its 1995 exhibition catalogue Jacques Hnizdovsky: 1915-1985. Retrospective Exhibition. The 83-page softcover, color illustrated catalogue contains an essay written by guest curator Jaroslaw Leshko and a checklist, both of which are bi-lingual (English and Ukrainian), as well as a list of selected public collections, awards, exhibitions and publications, and a selected bibliography. Purchase it online.

     


     

    About the Museum

    The Ukrainian Museum acquires, preserves, and exhibits articles of artistic or historic significance to the rich cultural heritage of Ukrainian Americans; its collections include thousands of items of folk art, fine art, and archival material. At its founding in 1976 by the Ukrainian National Womens League of America, the Museum was hailed as one of the finest achievements of Americans of Ukrainian descent. Since then, and particularly since its move in 2005 to a new, state-of-the-art building in Manhattans vibrant East Village, it has become known as one of the most interesting and dynamic smaller museums in New York City. Each year, the Museum organizes several exhibitions, publishes bilingual (English/Ukrainian) catalogues, and presents a wide range of public and educational programs, including concerts, films, lectures, courses, workshops, and special events.

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