The exhibition represents one of the best Ukrainian graphic artists. His short life fell on the first half of XX century. That was a period rich in events. So many events had affected the G. Pustoviyt’s destiny, and had been reflected and reproduced in his creative work.
G. Pustoviyt was born in July 13(26), 1900 in the having-many-children family at Mezhyrich (a village in present Kaniv region in Chrekassy oblast). A boy from distant village had grown up into the distinguished master of easel and book graphic arts.
In 1930, G. Pustoviyt graduated from Kyiv Institute of Arts. Famous painters M. Boychouk, S. Nelypinska- Boychouk, V. Kassyan, and I. Pleshinsky had been his teachers. He had worked much in the field of book graphic art, illustrating the works of Ukrainian, Russian and foreign writers: the series of drawings to the poem by T. Shevchenko “Naymychka”(“The Serf Woman”) can be reckoned among the best works, created in this subject matter in Ukrainian graphic art, also the series of drawings to stories by M. Kotsubinsky, to the novel “Oblomov” by I. Goncharov, to the first editions of compositions as follows: “Danylo Galitsky” by M. Bazhan, “Bright Weapon” by M. Rilsky, “My Ukraine” by A. Malyshko an others. He had created a big number of book covers for publishing houses “Syaivo”, “Roukch”, “Knygospylka”, “Derzhvydav Ukrainy” and others.
The known series of lithographs “Dnipro the Industrial” and “Collective Farming Moldavia” had been created in 1937. In 1939, G. Pustoviyt created a jubilee medal in joint authorship with sculptor I. Makogon for 125-year jubilee of T. Shevchenko.
The series of pictures (1939-1941) were dedicated to Western Ukraine: historical, architectural, art monuments of Lviv, the portraits of relatives and fellow villagers of I. Franko, the portraits of Gusuls, depicting the unique singularity of their appearance and manners and customs, the magic landscapes of Carpathian Mountains
G. Pustoviyt had been one of the foundators of Ukrainian Union of Painters (1938), and in the war period he had been actual head of Ukrainian Union of Painters, working at Southwest front headquatrers, and leading the group of cultural workers, who created the propaganda leaflets for the territories, occupied by Nazi.
In September 1942, G. Pustoviyt had been arrested and convicted by the Article 58 of Criminal code of the USSR and accused of nationalism and anti-Soviet propaganda. The imprisonment ended up in excruciating, incurable disease. In 1943, he had been released from prisoner camp and certified incurable invalid; in November 1943, he had been drafted again to acting military forces. He served at Stalingrad Military District headquarters as painter. He had been demobilized in 1945 through acute condition of his health.
He spent his last years in desperate fighting with the incurable disease, but even then, his active creative work continued. Hundreds of painter’s works are preserved, among those there are the sketches on location dated by war period, and illustrations to books for children, to “Zachar Berkut” by I. Franko, which was published after the painter’s death in March 20, 1947.
Creative work of G. Pustoviyt was highly appraised by the coevals. This can be supported by the letters, addressed to M. Pustoviyt, and written by stage director and writer O. Dovzhenko, by painters M. Deregus, V. Kassyan and A. Sereda.
Lithographs, watercolours, pictures, sketch-books, diaries testify to the artist’s mastery, increased by his talent and great energy. With his family’s efforts and the assistance of National Arts Museum of Ukraine, the painter Gavrylo Pustoviyt is coming back through many years after his death to the history of graphic art of the first half of XX century, and also is meeting his audience and connoisseurs in the first half of XXI century.
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