Exhibition Celebrating Ukrainian Modernist Mykhailo Zhuk's 140th Anniversary is on view in Lviv

21 august, 2023

From August 23 to September 27, 2023, the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv will host the project «Mykhailo Zhuk — the Herald of Revival», dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Mykhailo Zhuk. He was a graphic artist and painter, a master of book and decorative design, an active public figure, and a writer of Soviet-era Ukraine.

Zhuk always positioned himself as the Ukrainian artist: for example, in 1911 he took part in the First Ukrainian Art Exhibition, which united artists from the eastern, western, and central regions. In 1917, Zhuk became a co-founder of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts, which influenced the further development of national art. 

Self-portrait of Mykhailo Zhuk, 1902.
 In the 1920s and 1930s, freedom of expression in the USSR could be won at the price of freedom of conscience or even life. The state began to strictly control culture, which also affected the work of Mykhailo Zhuk — his artistic evolution stopped. The artist's legacy, like all Ukrainian modernism, was forcibly forgotten.

Zhuk's archive is perceived fragmentarily: some are familiar with his symbolist poetry or emotional novels, some know about his social activities during the Ukrainian War of Independence, and some appreciate the refined aesthetics of lines and colors in his graphics and paintings.

The exhibition «Herald of Renaissance» seeks to present the work of Mykhailo Zhuk comprehensively. His art, having received the impulses of the Krakow Secession, is remembered for its elegiac mood, originality of drawing, and floral ornamentation.

The exposition was formed by about 200 works from the collections of the Museum of Odesa Modern Art (MoOMA), the National Art Museum of Ukraine (NAMU) in Kyiv, the Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum in Lviv, the Odesa Literature Museum, the НЮ АРТ gallery in Kyiv, and private collections. 
Mykhailo Zhuk’s panno «White and Black» is about the youthful love of Pavlo Tychyna, Zhuk's student, to Polina Konoval.
In addition to these exhibits, the exhibition will present:

— porcelain dishes with paintings based on Zhuk's sketches;

— reprint editions of his lifetime literary works with author's illustrations (not published after 1920);

— an online catalog of his works in museum and private collections of Ukraine (for the creation of the catalog, information on almost all known original works of the artist was collected and processed - at least 310 pieces).

— photos from the collection of the Chernihiv Literary Memorial Museum of Mykhailo Kotsiubynsky.

The curator of the exhibition is the head of the research department of art of the 19th and early 20th centuries in NAMU, candidate of art history Olena Kashuba-Volvach. The project was initiated by the Odesa Museum of Modern Art and implemented in cooperation with the National Art Museum of Ukraine with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Fund.

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