Ukrainian Line of Art Noveau
December 12, 2013 - April 27, 2014
Official Opening: December 12 (Thursday), 6 pm
The exhibition Ukrainian Line of Art Noveau is a continuation of the project Impressionism and Ukraine which was presented in the National Art Museum of Ukraine in 2009-2010. It shows the ways of development of Ukrainian art on the brink of the 19th and 20th centuries. It was the time when Ukrainian art overcoming its provincial isolation was getting connected with the common European artistic processes and used the achievements of impressionism and art noveau. This processes trasformed into Ukrainian authentic national model of art.
Art noveau also developed in Ukraine connecting with impressionism. It happened in the beginning of the 1890s when impressionism in European art was nothing but a memory and art noveau was taking leading positions. Parallel existance of two different trends resulted in a blurring of the borders between them in Ukrainian art, which can be seen in the works of Oleksandr Murashko, Abram Manevych, Mykhailo Burachek, Petro Levchenko, Mykhailo Tkachenko, Ivan Trush, and Vasyl Krychevskyi. In their works linear plastics, colorful decorativism, and conventionality of the forms of art noveau coexist with impressionistic plain air painting and the traditions of realism which was the leading denominator of art techniques for Ukrainian artists.
In Ukraine the forerunner works of art noveau became the paintings of St. Volodymyr's cathedral in Kyiv (1885-1896). In the background of the works of Vasnetsov and Nesterov lies the tradition of monumental art of Kyivan Rus. This retrospective basis with symbolical colouring and principles of synthesis and stylization approximate the paintings to the characteristics of the new art trend. The main herald of art noveau became Mykhailo Vrubel whose art was the source of inspiration for many young Kyiv artists. His sketches of paintings, full of dramaticism, and refined plastic language of ornaments that decorate the cathedral bore the philosophic and formalistic characteristics of art noveau's. The works of Wilhelm Kotarbisky who also painted St. Volodymyr's cathedral are on display in the museum. His works, marked with the features of symbolism that was the ideological basis for art noveau, give the opportunity to trace the ways of the development of art noveau in Ukraine.
The works of the artists that created Ukrainian version of art noveau are represented in the exhibition. In this version classical characteristics of art noveau are combined with national artistic features. Typological unity of Ukrainian art with European art schools can be seen in the works of Oleksandr Murashko, with the grotesque of Toulouse-Lautrec and pearlish-gray tones of Whistler, the predecessor of art noveau; in the landscapes of Abram Manevych that are close to Munich secessionists by colorful expression; in the portraits of Fedir Krychevskyi where the connection of the reality of an image and decorativeness of a background are linked with the works of Gustav Klimt, the representative of Vienna Secession; in the minimalist in color and theatrically conventional works of Vsevolod Maksymovych that are associated with the graphic works of Aubrey Beardsley.
The exhibition is an all-Ukrainian project which was contributed by art museums of Kharkiv, Sumy, Lebedyn, Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Berdiansk, Sebastopol, and other museums and private collectors from Kyiv.
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