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Katerina Bilokur

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Soviet cogitations: 1264
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Sep 2011, 13:51
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Post 19 Apr 2015, 12:17
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Katerina Bilokur is an highly original Ukrainian folk artist. Her beautiful pictures of the colorful Ukrainian nature are a significant landmark in the history of Ukrainian folk art.

Katerina Bilokur`s life was not easy. She was born December 7, 1900, in the village of Bogdanivka, Kiev region, into the family of a poor peasant. She had no possibility to study at school and only her thirst for knowledge helped her later to fill up the gaps in her education. Gradually, love for art forced out all the other flames. Her parents attempts to distract her from that “good-for-nothing” pursuit were in vain. Studying attentively nature, she gradually enriched herself with new impressions and penetrated into the mysteries of painting, design and drawing line.

The first works of Bilokur (1920s — early 30s) were amateurish. They were the portraits of her relations and villagers executed with charcoal and self-made vegetable paints.

The second half of the 1930s was an important period in her creativity. Then she took to drawing still-lifes. Even her earlier works — The Birch (1934), Flowers by the Fence (1935), Flowers (1936) and some others clearly showed her exceptional creative abilities. Ingenuity of selection of subject matter, vitality, fanciful composition and harmony of colours characteristic of these pictures became the main features of all the work of the artist.

Bilokur’s paintings were first displayed at the Poltava Regional Exhibition in 1940 and then at a national exhibition in Kiev. They were highly appreciated by art-lovers and art-critics. Inspired by this success, the artist went to Kiev and Moscow “to see real paintings by real masters” and afterwards created a series of wonderful compositions permeated with love for her native land and its industrious people. Unfortunately, all of the works displayed at the Poltava exhibition in 1941 perished during the Second World Wаг. Only some works of the period, which were not entered in the exhibition, have been preserved (Flowers and Birches at Eventide, Flowers in Fog, Dahlias, Field Flowers).

The two years spent on fascist-occupied territory were the most trying in the life of Katerina Bilokur. Only a few pictures were made in this period — Flowers and Flowers at Eventide (1942), and Flowers (Lilies) which she finished by the end of 1943.

After the liberation of her native village, Bilokur creates new compositions, Luxuriant Vegetation, Decorative Flowers (1945), Bounties of Nature (1946), 30th Anniversary of the October Revolution (1947), and her famous canvas Ear the King which is unrivalled as regards its aesthetic and emotional impact.

The 1950s were the most productive years in Bilokur’s artistic career. She made such original and bright still-lifes as Apples and Tomatoes, Breakfast (1950), Watermelon, Carrots and Flowers (1951), In Shramkivka District of Cherkassy Region (1955—1956), Flowers and Grapes (1953—1958) which are distinguished for their freshness and verve. Through the artist’s fantasy the flowers, vegetables and utensils limned in these pictures turn into a canto glorifying nature, man and his deeds, into symbols of beauty. Being scrupulously and faithfully depicted, each detail in Bilokur’s pictures is perceived as a really existing one. Their realistic representation is to no lesser degree sustained by the artist’s subtle sense of colour. Light and shade smoothly wavering into each other and a soft gamut of colours are typical of all her works. The main effect is produced by the use of pure colours which is characteristic of folk decorative art on the whole.

In the 1950s Bilokur made her first attempts in water-colour painting. Her best works of the period — Bogdanivka Village in September, Beyond the Village (1956), Early Spring (1958), Autumn (1960) — are noted for their extraordinarily emotional expressiveness. During the last years of her life, which were dimmed by serious illness, Katerina Bilokur created a number of notable pictures such as Dahlias (1958), Peonies (1958), Bogdanivka Apples (1959), Bunch of Flowers (1960) and others.

Katerina Bilokur died June 9, 1961. Her creativity has won her general recognition. She was given the honourable title of People’s Artist of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and awarded the Badge of Honour and a diploma of the Supreme Soviet of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In her native village a monument was erected in her honour. At all times of the year its pedestal is covered with flowers which she so admired.

In one of her letters Katerina Bilokur wrote: “You may not like my work as I paint only flowers. But how can I not paint them if they are so beautiful! When I begin a picture of flowers I think sometimes: when I finish it I’ll do something from the life of the people. But by the time I finish it, my imagination already draws new pictures, and all of them — flowers. That’s the long and the short of it."

"When spring comes around, and the fields turn green, and flowers begin to bloom, each prettier than the others… My God, I forget everything, and again take to painting flowers. Don’t be angry with me, my close and distant friends, for me painting flowers, because the pictures with flowers are beautiful."

Katerina Bilokur rightfully occupies a leading place in the history of Ukrainian folk art. Bilokur’s art is based on her profound knowledge of nature and folk art traditions, and the impact her canvases produce is really unforgettable.


FLOWERS

Flowers by the Wattled Fence. 1935

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Flowers in Fog. 1940

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Field Flowers. 1941

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Flowers at Eventide. 1942

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Dahlias. 1940

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Flowers Against Blue Background. 1942 - 1943

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Decorative Flowers. 1945

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Luxuriant Vegetation. 1944 - 1947

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Bounties of Nature. 1946

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30th Anniversary of the October Revolution. 1947

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Peonies. 1946

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Peonies. 1948

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Collective-Farm Field. 1948 - 1949

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Flowers and Nuts. Still-Life. 1948

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Ear the King. 1949

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Watermelon, Carrots and Flowers. Still-Life. 1951

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Breakfast. Still-Life. 1950

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Grapes and Blackberries. 1950s

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Flowers, Apples and Tomatoes. Still-Life. 1950

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Garden Flowers. 1952

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Flowers and Birches at Eventide. 1950

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Wheat, Flowers and Grapes. 1950 - 1954

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Hollyhock. 1950

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House in Bohdanivka Village. 1955

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Bunch of Flowers. 1959

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By the Dam of Bohdanivka Village. 1955

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In Shramkivka District of Cherkassy Region. 1955 - 1956

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Irises. 1950s

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Willow-Branches. 1950s

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Flowers and Guelder Rose. 1958

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Hollyhock an Roses. 1954 - 1958

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Still-Life with Ears and Jug. 1958 - 1959

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Dahlias. 1957

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Still-Life with Bread. 1960

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Bohdanivka Apples. 1958 - 1959

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Peonies. 1958

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Bouquet of Flowers. 1959

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Flowers and Vegetables. Still-Life. 1959

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Beetroot. Still-Life. 1959

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Flowers. 1959

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Bunch of Flowers. 1960

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Still-Life. 1960

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LANDSCAPES

Beyond the Village. 1956

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Grove. 1955

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By the Dam of Bohdanivka Village in September. 1956

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Autumn. 1960

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Early Spring. 1958

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"Time Works Changes..." 1950s

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PORTRAITS

Olya Bilokur. 1928

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Collective Farmer Tetyana Bakhmach. 1932 - 1933

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Artist's Nieces. 1937 - 1939

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Nadia Bilokur. 1941

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SKETCHES

Pumpkins in Bloom. 1950s

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Collective Farmer. 1949

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Steep Slope. 1950

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Apple-Tree Branch. 1955

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My laws shall act more pleasure than command,
And with my prick I'll govern all the land.
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Soviet cogitations: 4764
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Forum Commissar
Post 20 Apr 2015, 14:40
Wow, breathtaking stuff.

I wish I could say more. I really like her flowers, such beautiful details. There's a bit of a dreamlike quality to them.

Thanks for sharing this.
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"You say you have no enemies? How is this so? Have you never spoken the truth, never loved justice?" - Santiago Ramón y Cajal
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Soviet cogitations: 1264
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 29 Sep 2011, 13:51
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Post 20 Apr 2015, 15:35
praxicoide wrote:
Wow, breathtaking stuff.

I wish I could say more. I really like her flowers, such beautiful details. There's a bit of a dreamlike quality to them.

Thanks for sharing this.


Yes I agree 100%. I just happened to find the book in a very old cupboard that was so dusty I had to wear a face mask; thanks to you posting that thread on soviet books two days ago.

I also found her floral paintings to have an enchanting psychedelic quality. They reminded me of Alice in Wonderland with all the flowers that could speak. It's one of my favourite stories. I've always been fascinated by the imaginary and surrealism; albeit Katerina's paintings don't exactly fall into those categories.

By the way, we aren't the only ones who found her paintings hypnotising.


In 1954, at an international exhibition in Paris, her paintings such as Ear the King, Flowers and Birches at Eventide, and Collective-Farm Field were on display.

Pablo Picasso according to witnesses, dwells at length before her paintings, mesmerised, and then said:

Pablo Picasso wrote:
If we had a woman painter of such a level with us, the entire world would speak of her.
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My laws shall act more pleasure than command,
And with my prick I'll govern all the land.
User avatar
Soviet cogitations: 3793
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 12 Jun 2006, 02:14
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
Politburo
Post 20 Apr 2015, 19:09
Thank you. This is the kind of post that makes SE worthwhile.


"Where Argentina goes, Latin America will go".
Leonid Brezhnev

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