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Three Generations of Cholodny Artists

The exhibition entitled Three Generations of Cholodny Artists will open at The Ukrainian Museum on Saturday, April 28, 2001. Featured will be paintings and icons of Petro Cholodny the Elder (1876-1930), those of his son, Petro Cholodny the Younger (1902-1990), and of Andrew Charyna (1951 - ), grandson of Petro Cholodny the Younger. The opening reception is scheduled for 6:00 o'clock in the evening.

The body of work presented in this exhibition has been compiled from loans, from private collections. In this continuing series of exhibits, which the Museum initiated several years ago, the importance of the role of the private collectors in the formation of significant collections is once again being recognized. To date, in the several exhibits presented in this category, rarely seen art works were shared with the public through the generosity and understanding of private collectors.

A well known precept states that "art must be made available to be appreciated". The Museum extends its gratitude to the individuals who have made available paintings and drawings from their private collections that have enriched this exhibition, providing for the enjoyment of all who appreciate art.

Works are on loan from the collections of: Ralph and Olha della Cava, Lev and Taras Chaban, Jaroslawa Kinal, Dr. Nadia T. Kmeta, Sviatoslav N. Kocybala, Olga Kowal, Olha Kuzmovycz, Dr. Yar and Irena Mociuk, Oksana Radysh, Roman and Motria Sloniewsky, Dr. Alexander and Dada Sloniewsky, Bohdanna Tytla, Markian and Natalia Tytla, Borys and Dzwinka Zacharczuk and Ukrainian Museum & Library of Stamford. Orest J. Dutka has lent several important works by Petro Cholodny the Younger from his extensive art collection.

Nineteen works by Petro Cholodny the Elder are on loan for the exhibition from Dr. Swaitoslaw Trofimenko and his wife Martha B. Trofimenko. These paintings collected by Dr. Trofimenko's father, artist and collector Clement Trofimenko, were among the few possessions that he treasured most and chose to take with him on the arduous immigration trail when he left Ukraine during World War II. This collection of works by Cholodny the Elder is probably the only one of its size outside the borders of Ukraine.

It is fascinating and challenging to study the body of work of a group of artists produced by one family, who are in close genealogical order. It is interesting to discover what is common to them, what diverse directions they have followed and how the talent stemming from mutual familial roots is manifested in each individual. Art historian Daria Darewych Ph. D. has researched the creative journeys of the three Cholodny artists and shares the result of her findings in an essay in the bilingual, illustrated exhibition catalogue.

The work of the three artists differ in many ways. Each artist is uniquely talented, and expresses his talent in an individual manner and style. But in one aspect of their art they share a common bond - painting the Ukrainian icon in the Ukrainian Neo-Byzantine tradition. Nevertheless, in this art expression also, their individual concerns and preferences are greatly apparent.

Petro Cholodny, Sr.

Petro Cholodny the Elder was born in 1876 in Pereiaslav in the Poltava region of Ukraine. Although he studied chemistry and physics, he nurtured his love for art by taking evening classes at the Murashko Drawing School. Cholodny began to exhibit his work in 1910. Active in the Ukrainian art community Cholodny co-founded the Organization of Ukrainian Visual Artists (Orhanizatsia Ukrains'kykh Pliastykiv) in 1911 and participated in their exhibitions.

In the years marking the struggle for Ukraine's independence, Cholodny the Elder worked in the Ministry of Education of the Ukrainian Central Rada as Deputy Minister and he is credited with initiating many reforms in the educational system. After resettling in Lviv, he emerged as a prominent spokesman for the arts, and in 1922 was one of the founders of the Group of Activists of Ukrainian Art (Hurtok Diachiv Ukrains'koho Mystectva). Petro Cholodny the Elder was an individuals whose work as an artist, a scholar, a political activist and a pedagogue made an impact on Ukrainian cultural development of the early 20th century. He died in 1930.

In the exhibition catalogue D. Darwych writes that the revival of the icon tradition in Western Ukraine is attributed in part to the work of Petro Cholodny the Elder and such fellow artists Modest Sosenko and Mykhailo Boichuk. Cholodny the Elder painted many icons and created numerous stained glass windows for churches. D. Darewych says that the iconostasis of the chapel of the Theological Seminary and the icons and stained glass windows of the Church of Dormition of the Mother of God in Lviv are recognized as his greatest achievement, "representing a synthesis of Western Ukrainian iconography, folk art and Art Nuveau."

Petro Cholodny the Younger was born in Kyiv in 1902.. He studied art the Ukrainian Studio of Plastic Arts in Prague and at the Warsaw Art Academy, where he subsequently taught drawing and tempera painting. Active in Ukrainian art circles, he became a member of the Association of Independent Ukrainian Artists (Asotsiiatsia Nezalezhnykh Ukrains'kykh Myststiv - ANUM) in the 1930s. Following World War II the Cholodny family immigrated to the United States where he continued to work at his craft. He died in 1990.

Cholodny the Younger is credited with being one of the leading artists to revive the Ukrainian-Byzantine art traditions in the United States. There are numerous churches for which the artist created iconostasis, mosaics and stained glass windows, among them St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in New York City, Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. Volodimir in New York City, St. Andrew's Ukrainian Orthodox Memorial Church in South Bound Brook, NJ, St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Newark, NJ, and St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Hunter, NY, to mention a few. He also created the iconostasis for the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France.

Daria Darewych states in the catalogue essay that "a limited palette of harmoniously contrasted sophisticated hues" characterizes the iconography of P. Cholodny the Younger. Although in some of his better known works such as the Annunciation (1980) and Nativity (1985) he "followed prototypes in composition and color symbolism," it is in privately commissioned icons that the influences of contemporary art trends are evident. V. Popvych calls Cholodny the Younger an "exceptional poet of color, who is capable of releasing a variety of moods through his use of color."

Andrew Charyna, grandson of Petro Cholodny the Younger was born in Germany in 1951. His family immigrated to the United States where they lived for several years, eventually moving to Toronto, Canada. He studied art at the Ontario College of Art. He exhibited his work in New York with his grandfather and participated in many exhibits in Toronto. His paintings The Crow's Song won Best of Show award at the 1994 annual Artsfest in Toronto, as did the work Umbrella in 1999.

Andrew Charyna's icons, according to D. Darewych, reflect his grandfather's "sensitive palette" although they show his very individual "explorations and innovations in composition, form and color." She goes on to say that in evaluating A.Charyna's icons, the "overall emphasis is on harmony and spirituality." A. Charyna has painted only individual icons.

The unique creative journey of each of these artists is evident mostly in their secular art. In the 1920's Cholodny the Elder was known for his large canvasses that portrayed his interest in Ukrainian history and culture. According to art historian Sviatoslav Hordynsky, the work Rye in the Fields, which depicts the death of a cossack, "was not only the best painting by Cholodny the Elder, but also one of the outstanding paintings in Ukrainian art." The influences of the contemporary western art movements, such as Impressionism and Post-Impressionism were apparent in the many landscapes, portraits and still life compositions of Petro Cholodny the Elder.

The paintings of Petro Cholodny the Younger show the influences of a variety of art styles - from realism to partial abstract, reflected in landscapes and still life compositions. A very unique feature of his work is his range of paintings of insects, specifically beetles, which are hugely magnified, and painted with precise scientific detail. D. Darevych explains that these insect renderings "represent a synthesis of icon traditions, scientific observation and contemporary pictorial concerns." She believes that they are Cholodny the Younger's greatest achievement and "inventive contribution to art generally and to Ukrainian art specifically."

The art of Andrew Charyna has evolved through various stages, during which he identified with realism, cubism and the abstract. He paints figures and still life compositions, as well as portraits. There is much psychological content his work, and personal speculations about life.. His paintings propose an element of disquiet, they are enigmatic and mysterious. They are also powerfully enticing.

Daria Darevych said that "to follow in the footsteps of a famous parent such as Petro Cholodny the Elder is never easy. To find your own artistic path is even harder. Nonetheless, there can be no doubt that Petro Cholodny the Younger succeeded, and that Andrew Charyna also has found his own creative identity."

The exhibition will be on view through September 2001.

The Ukrainian Museum is located at 203 Second Avenue in New York City. Visiting hours: 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. Tel. # (212) 228-0110; Fax: (212) 228-1947; E-mail: info@ukrainianmuseum.org. We invite you to visit our web page: www.ukrainianmuseum.org.

Marta Baczynsky
Public Relations



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