Mykola Ivasiuk is a Ukrainian combatant. He created compositions from the Cossack liberation struggles, many paintings from the battles of the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, soldiers of the Ukrainian Galician Army, as he fervently supported the struggle of Ukrainians for their state. He was predicted a great future in Europe, but the artist decided to return to the Motherland, where in the end, Stalin's executioners took his life.
Literature: Thieme/Becker"Dictionary of artists from antique to present(in german)", Lepzig, 1999; in French: "Dictionary of painters, sculptos and decorators" by E.Benezit, Gründ,1999.
Inscription: signed and dated 1923 lower right.
Technique: oil on canvas. Original frame.
Measurements: unframed w 35 1/3" x h 22 2/3" (90 x 57,5 cm); framed w 37 3/4" x h 25 1/4" (96 x 64 cm).
Condition: in very good condition.
Mykola Ivanovich Ivasiuk was born on April 28, 1865 in Bukovyna, in the town of Zastavna. The father worked as a carpenter all his life, while the mother was engaged in farming. The boy received his education at a local school, then entered the Higher Real School in Chernivtsi. It was there that the talented young man was noticed by the artist Yustin Pigulyak, whose fame spread throughout Bukovina. He gave Ivasyuk free lessons in painting, introduced him to the history of culture and advised him to enter the Vienna Academy of Arts.
In 1884, with the assistance of Pigulyak, Mykola did become a student at the Vienna Academy, which he graduated in 1890. But he was in no hurry to leave his studies, and in the same year he entered the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, where he spent another six years.
In 1892, the artist brought several of his works to an exhibition in Lviv, the following year his painting "Khmelnytsky near Zborovom" was a great success. After that, Mykola decided to devote himself to the battle genre. In Munich, he conceived the monumental canvas "The Entry of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi to Kyiv", to which he devoted twenty years of his life.
In addition, in Munich, the Ukrainian met his future wife, as well as a Polish combatant who became his friend and associate for the rest of his life - Joseph Brandt. During the holidays, several friends of the artists went to the manor to Józef. There they had the opportunity not only to rest, but also to work fruitfully, depicting the beauty of the surrounding nature on canvases. Our work was created by Ivasiuk most likely during his stay in the minor of Brandt.
Soon they created the "Free Oron Academy". Once, Ilya Repin visited here, where he met Ivasyuk. Repin was impressed by Mykola's works, and especially the idea to paint a canvas about Bohdan Khmelnytskyi, so he advised Mykola, before he took up the brush, to visit Kyiv to make sketches for his future work.
He was predicted a great future in Europe, but the artist decided to glorify his native Bukovyna, and immediately after completing the academy he returned to the Motherland.
During 12 years of living abroad, the artist collected a lot of canvases, which he decided to present to his compatriots upon arrival. At the trial of the Bukovyna people, the artist exhibited the following paintings: "Entry of Bohdan Khmelnytskyi in Kyiv", "Bogun near Berestechko", "Battle of Khotyn", "Rest", "Harvest", "Bukovynets", "Mother", "Without Bread", "Poor Peasant House" and others.
In Chernivtsi, the artist did not sit idle, painted portraits, created paintings of the battle genre. He taught drawing to adults in art studios, and in 1898, together with Piguliak, he created an art school for the poor and talented, which he headed for almost nine years.
When the First World War began, Ivasiuk lived in Lviv. At the beginning of September 1914, the troops of the Russian Empire entered Lviv, and in April of the following year, Tsar Nicholas II arrived there. Ivasyuk was commissioned to portray this arrival (the sketch for the painting "Entry of Nicholas II to Lviv" has been preserved today). But the Austro-Hungarian and German troops began to advance and conquered a significant part of Galicia, while the Russian troops had to retreat. During the retreat, they captured half a hundred famous Ukrainian figures of culture and art. Among them was Mykola Ivasiuk, who was immediately branded a "German spy" and deported to Rostov-on-Don.
The artist returned to Lviv only in 1919. In the same year, Ivasiuk created several sketches of postage stamps on behalf of the government of the UNR Directory.
In 1925, the artist moved to Kyiv. Times are turbulent, so in order to survive, Mykola Ivasiuk becomes a citizen of the USSR. After that, he works at the Department of Art Studies at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. Then he was transferred to the press office of the All-Ukrainian Photocinema Administration. During these years, the artist illustrated the magazine "Kino", painted posters for films.
On September 18, 1937, Enkavedists broke into Ivasyuk's apartment, ransacked the apartment, and removed everything that seemed suspicious to them. The artist himself was thrown into the Lukyaniv prison. In a month, they have already fabricated a case according to which Ivasiuk is an active member of a Ukrainian nationalist terrorist organization and an agent of German intelligence.
For 11 days, the 72-year-old artist waited in the death row for his executioners. They arrived at midnight on November 25, 1937.
The artist did not admit his guilt, but it did not save his life. He was shot, his body was buried in the Bykivnyansky forest. Only in 1980, Mykola Ivasyuk was rehabilitated due to the absence of a crime.
The creative heritage left by the artist includes more than 500 masterpieces of art. Currently, a small part of his works is kept in Chernivtsi, most of the canvases are in private collections and museums abroad, in particular in Germany, Austria, Romania, Poland and Canada. Unfortunately, the fate of most of the paintings is currently unknown, because after the First World War most of them were lost.