Leopold Levytskyi

  • Rally 2
Basic information
Leopold Levytskyi
Date of creation
printmaking linocut
imprint on paper
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
11.8 x 8.5
Information about author
Leopold Levytskyi
Artist's lifetime
Leopold Levytskyi is a Ukrainian graphic artist and painter. He is also a master of printmaking. The artist had a key role in forming modern Ukrainian graphic art. He was born in the village of Burdiakivtsi, Ternopil region. He studied in Paris in 1930–1931, and later at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow (1931–1932). Levytskyi started his creative activity during his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, where he evolved as an artist. The artistic environment of Krakow formed the artist’s worldview, system of ideals, and political beliefs, which determined the specifics of the painter's artistic thinking. He was the initiator and co-founder of the Krakow Group. In 1932, he organized an exhibition, which was closed due to its social orientation and sharp themes of works. The artist was imprisoned for three weeks and expelled from the Academy. In the 1930s, he was constantly watched by the police. From 1935, he lived in Chortkiv, Ternopil region, sometimes visiting exhibitions in Lviv, Krakow, and Stanyslaviv. In September 1939, he headed the City Council in Chortkiv, collaborated with the newspaper "New Life", and worked as a decorator at the House of Officers. During World War II, the artist together with his wife Eugenia Nadliar fled to Uzbekistan. In 1946, he settled in Lviv and joined the newly formed Union of Artists of the USSR; his graphic works created in Uzbekistan served as the grounds for his joining the union. The artist's work was undoubtedly influenced by the Lviv environment. In the 1960s, the artist developed a unique stylistic manner, which combined spontaneity and technical skills. The artist died working at his desk with a chisel in his hand on May 14, 1973. He was buried in Lviv, in Lychakiv Cemetery. During his life, Leopold Levytskyi did not have a single personal exhibition. The first one took place in Lviv (1974) a year after the artist's death.
Object description
Despite the difficult times of the 1940s, Leopold Levytskyi worked hard and mastered a new technique, namely engraving on linoleum. The specific style of linocut, the possibility of sharp and expressive contrasts of black and white colors, as well as the relative speed and ease of execution were better suited to the then artistic mood; the artist wanted to establish himself in art and life, as well as to express himself in a new environment. In 1946, Leopold Levytskyi settled in Lviv and joined the newly formed Union of Artists of the USSR. He is the author of a series of linocuts, which Soviet critics described as "engraved novels". These themes have been close to the artist since his studies at the Krakow Academy of Arts. However, the artistic style was different. In the compositions of the 1930s, modern artistic tendencies were clearly traced, but in the works of the late 1940s, the author adhered to a realistic manner of depiction, of course, taking into account the technological capabilities of linocut. These works were a kind of tribute to the time, the ideology of the time, and the state system. At the same time, a new artistic and plastic style, which characterized the later linocuts of Leopold Levytskyi, originated in them.