May 26 - November 30
Born 1883 in Krolevets, Sumy Oblast, Ukraine.
Died 1977 in Vence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France.
Painter, theoretician, teacher, art critic, and memoirist Oleksa Hryshchenko, also known by his French identity Alexis Gritchenko, enjoyed a long and distinguished career spanning more than sixty years. A Ukrainian-born artist who blossomed early in Moscow, but spent over half his life in France, hovers at the center of 20th century modern art history. His extensive and exotic travels, astute observations of art and civilization, and personal reflections informed the rarified originality of his work.
An early enthusiast of Cubist painting — characteristic of its reductive geometric forms and limited color palette — Hryshchenko soon changed his pictorial approach to one of vibrant expression, in which his realistic rendering of nature was transformed to elicit an emotional inner vision. Utilizing devices found in sacred art, Ukrainian folk pictures and Italian frescos, his discernible oil and watercolor paintings, drawings and prints convey the immediate interpretation of a perceptible experience, rendered in muted, at times bright, diaphanous hues. Hryshchenko labelled this approach “tsvetodynamos,” or more literally, “color dynamics.”
Hryshchenko exhibited in Paris with Galerie André Weil, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune and Galerie d’Art Moderne, and had a retrospective of his works held at the Salon d’Automne (1973). Exhibitions also took place in New York at the Ukrainian Art and Literary Club, The Ukrainian Institute of America, and The Ukrainian Museum. In addition to the aforementioned institutions, Hryshchenko’s works are held in the permanent collections of Le Musée National d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Royal Museum, Copenhagen; Musée Royal, Brussels; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Tretiakov Gallery, Moscow; National Museum, Lviv (Ukraine); the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, PA; and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, as well as in private collections worldwide.
Besides membership in the Société des Artistes Indépendants and Salon d’Automne, where he enjoyed the company of leading School of Paris artists, Hryshchenko was also active with the Paris Group of Ukrainian Artists and exhibited with the Association of Independent Ukrainian Artists in Lviv (Ukraine). Throughout his life, he maintained direct contact with the Ukrainian diaspora in the free world and shared its hope for a future sovereign and independent Ukraine.
To preserve Hryshchenko’s artistic legacy, the Alexis Gritchenko Foundation was formed in New York in 1958. Over seventy works of art, numerous books, catalogues, notebooks, and other archival materials were donated by the artist and housed within The Ukrainian Institute of America (UIA), with the provision that they be transferred someday to the museums of a free Ukraine. On March 26, 2006 a posthumous ceremony was held at the UIA to formally move the Gritchenko Foundation collection to its permanent and current home in the National Art Museum of Ukraine in Kyiv.
Among portfolios, artist books, and other printed matter, published memoirs by Oleksa Hryshchenko include The Ukraine of My Blue Days (1957), My Encounters and Conversations with French Artists, (1962), and Years of Storm and Stress (1967). In 2017, an exhaustive academic monograph, Alexis Gritchenko: Dynamocolor was published by Rodovid Press.