The direction of neo-baroque painting, which was evident in the works of major Ukrainian artists of the 20th century, is represented in the Museum’s collection by works of Yu. Lutskevych -- a consistent practitioner of this style.
In the beginning of the 1980s, official ideology continued to cultivate the principles of socialist realism. The opposition to non-vulgar artistic expression was accomplished in yet another manner; mainly by manipulating the government’s purchasing politics so as to favor officially sanctioned artists, which was a negative factor in completing the Museum’s painting collection – especially in regard to works by members of the “1960-iers” as well as artists of the following decades.
It is for this reason that there is a void of paintings from the 1980s done by the then younger generation of Ukrainian artists who eventually tore down the wall of social realism and effected the transformation to a metaphorical system of thinking and creativity. To such losses it is necessary to include the painting “Cleopatra’s Sorrow” by A. Savadiv and H. Senchenko, which was first exhibited in the expanses of the Museum in the late-1980s. The artists of the so-called “new wave” of Ukrainian post modernism are represented in the Museum’s collection by a few works by the artist O. Holosiy, among which is his signature canvas “Yes”, (1991).
The emotional uplift experienced in the late-1980s/early-1990s was directly tied to the art of the 1920s and 1930s, which returned to artists the era of harsh formal experimentation in Ukrainian classical avant-garde. Unquestionably, the horizons of the cultural-historical diapason of the artists of these years were broadened; the outcry with this Ukrainian tradition formulated a series of museum exhibits. The democratic changes in society that took place in the mid-1980s enabled the activation of efforts by the Collections Department to produce publications and exhibits of newly discovered museum treasures. The reaction to the social changes of 1987 was the organization of an exhibit of the painting of the 1920s and 1930s, the first to broadly present the works of the School of M. Boichuk and artists of the Ukrainian avant-garde.
The exhibition and research activities of the 1990s, which presented a strategy of all of the questions concerning the Ukrainian painting of the 20th century, had an all-inclusive character. The positions that were worked out through its study and rounding out of collections provided creative and academic material for the formulization of further exhibitions of Ukrainian painting of the previous (20th) century. The exhibits on which the Museum Staff worked during this period effectively returned to not only Ukraine, but also the entire world, the world fame of M. Boichuk and the followers of his School, O. Bohomazov, O. Ekster, V. Yermyliv, D. Burliuk, and V. Palmov. The exhibit “M. Boichuk – Boichukists - Boichukism” (1990) showed more than 400 works of art gathered from museums in Lviv, Lodz, and Kyiv; the exhibit “Ukrainian Avant-Garde. 1910-1930” was assembled in 1990 and was shown in various years in Croatia, France and Germany.
To this list of significant exhibits it is essential to add a series of personal and monographic exhibits of artists who are considered classics in Ukrainian painting: L. Kramarenko, V. Palmov, O. Novakivsky (from the collection of M. Mushynka), S. Kolos, F. Manailo, an exhibit of works by the Krychevsky Family, A. Manevych, O. Murashko, H. Havrylenko, V. Zaretsky, and others.
The activation of the task of completing the Museums collection of 20th-century painting during the last decade has been greatly aided by the Museum’s community status, its collection activities, its having oriented itself on proactive contacts with artists who exhibit in the Museum’s gallery, its contacts with collectors, as well as contacts with the family and heirs of deceased artists.
In the late-1980s the Museum began to collect works of artists of the 1960s-1980s: H. Havrylenko, V. Zaretsky, A. Lymariv, F. Humeniuk, N. Verhun, O. Zalyvakha, Ye. Leshchenko, and I. Marchuk.
For many artists, the 1980s was a time for rethinking the worldview of the foundations of cultural accomplishments. The return to ancient Tripillian and Scythian civilizations as a classical component in world culture, as well as a return to the inspiration of Ukrainian epic poems and primitivism, provided absolutely new variations in the creative forms of A. Antoniuk, O. Babak, M. Babak, F. Humeniuk, H. Neledva, and others whose works are represented in the Museum’s painting collection.
During the 1990s and 2000s, the Museum also continued to round out its collection of works by the “1960-iers”: I. Marchuk, O. Dubovyk, H. Hryhorieva, H. Neledva, V. Ryzhykh, M. Vanshtein, H. Havrylenko, O. Zakharchuk, N. Verhun, V. Barynova-Kuleba, and L. Rapoport. Also during this time period works came into the Museum collections representing artists who founded the artists’ union known as “Painters’ Reserve”: T. Silvasha, A. Kryvolap, M. Heyko, O. Zhyvotkiv. The collection of their works reveals the direction of the paintings of the 1990s – the metaphorical quality of the aesthetic system, interpreted according to the individuality of the artist and his psyche. This situation over he previous two decades of the 20th century enabled an unbridled freedom of creativity and countless stylistic directions in painting. The aim of artists who preserved for their art a creative enthusiasm, professional passion for searching for new methods of artistic expression, is to not loose their individuality and to reaffirm their own artistic style.
The painting of the artists who belong to the group “Painters’ Reserve” expresses most predominately for them the aspect of painted form – the dynamic of color. The activity of colored impulses placed at the foundation of the professional work of O. Zhyvotkiv, A. Kryvolap, O. Pavliv, P. Lebedyts, O. Babak, and S. Savchenko, is the tribute of V. Palmiv’s tradition of “colorgraphs”.
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