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December 1999 - March 2000

Vasyl Krychevsky, one of Ukraine's outstanding public figures of the 20th century - architect, artist, scholar and educator - will be honored in an exhibition of his paintings and drawings at The Ukrainian Museum. The exhibit will open on December 5, 1999 and will be on view through March 12, 2000. The opening ceremony and reception is scheduled for 2 PM.

Poltava Zemstvo Building
Poltava Zemstvo Building
Architect Vasyl H. Krychevsky
Photo: Titus Hewryk

The exhibition entitled The Creative Legacy of Vasyl Hryhorovych Krychevsky will consist of 120 larger and smaller size paintings and drawings, as well as various publications about the artist. The art works on exhibition are from the Vasyl Krychevsky collection, bequeathed to the Museum's Fine Arts Collection by Vadym Pavlovsky.

On the threshold of the new millennium, the Museum deems it fitting to greet this auspicious passage of time with the celebration of the remarkable accomplishments of a man whose multifaceted talents impacted greatly on Ukrainian cultural development in the first half of the 20th century. Versatile and dynamic in his creativity, he brought innovation to the art of book design, and pioneered a distinct Ukrainian style of architectural expression. He was an artist/painter, worked in applied arts, interior decorating, he designed theater productions and was an art director for the Ukrainian film industry. Vasyl Krychevsky was also an educator for over a quarter of a century, and a member of numerous prestigious scholarly and educational institutions.

Vadym Pavlovsky, V. Kychevsky's biographer, addressed this phenomenal energy and productivity: "How is it possible that one individual could be so prolific in such a wide range of artistic expressions and bring to each one so many innovations, while at the same time, engaged in research and educational work. The answer was simple. Vasyl Krychevsky was an exceptionally talented individual. He had great abilities and unlimited capabilities, coupled with an unusual gift he worked swiftly. From the very beginning he followed his own path. ."

Vasyl Krychevsky was born in the village of Vorozhba, in the Kharkiv region, on January 13, 1873, the oldest of eight children. He received little formal education, but expanded and enriched his knowledge, working for a draftsman and as the technical assistant to professor and architect Serhii Zagoskin at the Kharkiv Technological Institute, while auditing classes in art history and folk art at the Kharkiv University. In 1892 he began his independent career as an architect.

V. Kychevsky's greatest architectural achievement was the Poltava Zemstvo Building. His design for the building won first prize in an architectural competition in 1903. The design inaugurated a new style by incorporating traditions of Ukrainian folk architecture to modern stone structures, and thus set a trend among young architects in Ukraine. V. Krychevsky produced several other well-known designs in the novel and now popular, so called "Ukrainian national " style, the foremost among these being the memorial museum in Kaniv, at the tomb of Ukraine's bard, Taras Shevchenko.

V. Krychevsky is regarded by Ukrainian art critics as the founder of modern Ukrainian book design. He broke with the tradition of the "pictorial" book covers, which were the vogue of the early 20th century. In the more than eighty covers and number of entire books (Ukrains'ka Pisnia, 1935) which he designed, V. Kychevsky produced a new look in the art of Ukrainian book design.

Tatar House in Alushta
Tatar House in Alushta, Crimea
Vasyl Krychevsky
oil on cardboard

Although influenced by French impressionists, V. Krychevsky's artistic legacy, which consists of many larger and small watercolor and oil painting, display a very individual path, which the artist followed. Particularly notable are his paintings of Ukrainian mainland landscapes and the landscapes of the Crimea peninsula. V. Krychevsky's outstanding technique in capturing the purity of light, his lyrical use of color and the synthesis of regional characteristics create harmonious and peaceful intimacy in each work. V. Krychevsky's paintings are in numerous museums in Ukraine, as well as in many private collections all over the world.

V. Krychevsky worked with theater and in the Ukrainian film industry. He was the art director for the Sadovsky Theater, for which he staged plays and operas and designed the stage scenery and costumes. He was an art consultant and art director for many important film productions, such as Zvenihora (1928) directed by Oleksander Dovzhenko, Taras Schevchenko (1926) and Taras Tryasylo (1927), among others.

In 1917 Vasyl Krychevsky was one of the organizers of the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts and its first president as well as a professor on its staff. In the 1920's he taught at the Kyiv Institute of Plastic Art and the Kyiv Architectural Institute, where he taught painting and ornamental composition. He lectured in other educational and art institutions as well, always projecting the national image of Ukrainian art and architecture within the framework of the Soviet influence. On November 16th 1945, in Augsburg, Germany the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences (UVAN) was organized, and the new Ukrainian academy in exile unanimously elected V. Krychevsky as an honorary member.

Vasyl Hryhorovych Krychevsky died on November 15th 1952 in Caracas, Venezuela, where he lived with his second wife at the home of his daughter Halyna K. Linde.

The exhibition The Legacy of Vasyl Hryhorovych Krychevsky continues the Museum's intent to celebrate the role collectors play in the formation of important collections. The Museum acknowledges the contribution of Vadym Pavlovsky to the memory of Vasyl Krychevsky, not only through his donation to the Fine Arts collection of over 300 remarkable works by the artists, but also through the monograph V. Pavlovsky wrote about him. When V. Pavlovsky was a child, his mother married Vasyl Krychevsky. Thus, having been raised by this unusually gifted man, V. Pavlovsky as a biographer, was able to give a more intimate picture of V. Krychevsky's achievements, his struggles and triumphs, which the Museum has published in part in the exhibition catalogue.


Zemstvo Building
Detail of the main entrance to the Poltava Zemstvo Building. Designed by Vasyl H. Krychevsky.

One of the most important, aesthetically rewarding and interesting exhibitions at The Ukrainian Museum will be closing on March 26, 2000. The exhibition, The Cultural Legacy of Vasyl Hryhorovych Krychevsky is a striking testament to the artist's superb talent as a painter. In addition, the viewers are presented with an opportunity to learn about his other achievements in the creative field as well, particularly as an architect and graphic artist and to appreciate his accomplishments in the area of scholarly research and education. The paintings on exhibition were bequeathed to the Museum's Fine Arts collection by Vadym and Olha Pavlovsky.

In bringing to a close the Museum's tribute to Vasyl H. Krychevsky, honoring him as one of Ukraine's outstanding public figures of the 20th century, two events have been planned, to be held at the institution, on the weekend of March 24th.

The first entitled "An Evening to Celebrate Vasyl H. Krychevsky," is being organized by the Ukrainian Museum's Public Relations Committee of Young Professionals, and is scheduled for Friday, March 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. Situated in the Museum, in a social and casual atmosphere, the organizers aim to bring together young people - students and young professionals - to acquaint them with the Museum, and to encourage them to a greater participation in its activities.

Kyiv View
Vasyl H. Krychevsky
View of Kyiv from the Holosiev District
1928, oil on cardboard

An overview of the exhibition with a gallery talk is also scheduled for the evening's agenda. The talk, in the English language, will be offered by Myroslava M. Mudrak, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of History of Art at Ohio State University. In her short presentation Dr. Mudrak will explore the prevailing artistic impulses influencing V. Krychevsky, particularly the effect of impressionist and luminist tendencies on the development of his painting style.

On Sunday, March 26th at 2:00 PM, the Museum will present a lecture, illustrated with slides, featuring Dr. Mudrak, who will discuss "Krychevsky and the Ukrainian Modern Style." Against the background of the exhibition, she will explore the multi-faceted creative genius of V. Krychevsky. Dr. Mudrak will examine his role as the principal propagator of a modernist visual culture in Ukraine in the early twentieth century, focusing on the master as the originator of a native modern expression in architecture, as well as the key instigator of a native arts and crafts movement that earned him the title of Father of the Ukrainian Modern Style.

V. Krychevsky was "a man who wore many hats." He produced set and costume designs for the Ukrainian theater and worked as an art director and consultant to the Ukrainian film industry. For over a quarter of century he was one of Ukraine's most esteemed educators, one of the organizers of the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts in 1917, its first president and a teacher on its staff.

An Evening with Krychevsky
Invitation to the event An Evening with Krychevsky. Design by Olexa Hewryk.

Without doubt V. Krychevsky's greatest achievement in the field of architecture was his design of the Poltava Regional Administrative Building. The winning entry in 1903 architectural competition, it gave impetus to the revival of the traditions of Ukrainian folk architecture to modern stone structures and set a trend in that direction among young architects in Ukraine.

The Museum is very pleased to present Professor Myrolsava M. Mudrak as a speaker in the above mentioned events, since she has devoted her scholarly interest to the study of art in East Central Europe, Ukraine and Russia. Although her areas of expertise also include the history of Ukrainian art from Byzantium to the present, modern art between the two world wars and Socialist Realism and art under totalitarianism, she concentrates mostly on the modernist period of the early twentieth century. Dr. Mudrak defended her doctoral thesis at the University of Texas at Austin and her seminal work, New Generation and Aritstic Modernism in Ukraine (1986) was awarded the Kovaliw Prize for Ukrainian Studies. She lectures extensively and has published numerous articles in prestigious art journals.

For further information, please contact The Ukrainian Museum, 203 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10003 (212) 228-0110 FAX (212) 228-1947 E-mail:UkrMus@aol.com, or click to our Web page: http://www.brama.com/ukrainian_museum




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