Tag: transcarpathian school of painting

Emil Hrabovskyi – realism with a poetic touch

The Beskyds (1945) by Emil Hrabovsky Source: Old Cherdak
The Beskyds (1945) by Emil Hrabovsky Source: Old Cherdak

Emil Hrabovskyi was born in 1892 in Uzhhorod. His artistic legacy of around 500 paintings and drawings became a valuable part of the Transcarpathian and Ukrainian art. His works reflect the influence of the Hungarian realist tradition, the Transcarpathian School of Art (that he helped to found) and his own sensitivity to those fleeting moments of the day when, for example, the sunset is almost over or the mist in the mountains is about to disappear. Hrabovskyi’s landscapes truthfully reflect the nature, but because he chooses subjects that are dear to him and focuses on those ephemeral moments, he is able to bring in a level of lyricism that the views before him offer and that he uncovers. Hrabovskyi was slowly building his reputation and acceptance. His art was flourishing during the Soviet area when the state was creating an atmosphere favorable to the artists, buying his paintings and making them parts of the permanent exhibitions in the museums of Lviv, Kiev, Dnepropetrovsk and others. Hrabovskyi passed away in 1955, two years after a solo exhibition showing over 90 artworks documenting his career development.

The Mountain View (1948) by Emil Hrabovskyi Source: Old Cherdak
The Mountain View (1948) by Emil Hrabovskyi Source: Old Cherdak

Štefan Hapák – devoted to his land and people

An Autumn Landscape by Stefan Hapak
An Autumn Landscape by Stefan Hapak

Štefan Hapák was born in 1921 in Pinkovce, and was one of the pioneers of modern art in the second half of the 20th century in Slovakia. He studied under world-class professors at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague (and in turn became a great professor himself, loaded with knowledge, honest and respected), and stayed tightly connected to the Rusyn culture in his life and work, capturing its architecture, lands, and even traditional garments, never leaving the lands of eastern Slovakia.

His first teaching position was at an elementary school in Zboj, eastern Slovakia, but the same year (1944) he was taken into a concentration camp in Hungary, from which he escaped in 1945. He helped to organize the return of incarcerated citizens after the war. Afterwards, Hapák worked as a teacher in different towns in eastern Slovakia, and from 1953 until his retirement at the universities in Presov and Kosice, becoming a professor of drawing and graphic design in 1972. He passed away in Ľubotice where a significant exhibition of his artwork was held in 2011, celebrating his contribution to the art world at his would-be 90th birthday.

Hapák’s paintings and pastels are executed in a style that is close to the Transcarpathian School of Painting in combining realist and more abstract, flattening elements, according to the curator Vladislav Grešlik.


A Gypsy Family by Stefan Hapak
A Gypsy Family by Stefan Hapak

Yosyp Bokshai – “I am and will remain a Rusyn”

Well, there is very little I can say after quoting the title of Bokshai’s first triptych of canvases. And he meant it. Writing about him puts us back to the beginnings of the Rusyn “Barbizon” in the early 20th century, now considered a classical period of Carpatho-Rusyn art. Bokshai was devoted to his homeland and his artwork shows the depth of that commitment. He was one of the founders of the Transcarpathian School of Painting and the Public School of Painting, training younger generations and giving a distinctive direction to Carpatho-Rusyn art.

Bokshay has a great online presence so you can find his works easily. I picked The Castle in Uzhhorod for its almost metallic quality, a modest color palette, gorgeous play of twilight against the castle walls, and, well, because I am intrigued by castles in general so – forgive me.

The Castle in Uzhorod (1962) by Iosyp Bokshai
Source: http://www.artfact.com/auction-lot/castle-in-uzhgorod-204-c-5942119f0a

What I did have trouble finding was his altarpieces and frescoes, although he decorated numerous churches in Transcarpathia. I found one photograph from a Greek Catholic Church in Uzhhorod – his ceiling fresco, and a very important one, too – The Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross from 1939.

Exaltation of the Life-Giving Cross (1939) by Iosyp Bokshai
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Uzhgorod_Greek_Catholic_church_Kapitul’na_Geom_11-3.jpg

Adalbert Erdelyi’s pioneering work

Adalbert Erdelyi was one of the founders of the Transcarpathian School of Painting, anxious to set off the Carpathian region on its track to artistic relevance. He suffered greatly from the way the Soviet system was suppressing the creative spirit and his progressive ideas were alienating him from the rest of the society. He died in 1955. With the advantage of the time passed and wounds somewhat healed, I will use a quote by Olga Petrova to define his uniqueness. He was…

“…the artist who… inoculated European taste and respect to our land, an intellectual who realized the evolution of artistic forms and remained one of the prominent figures in the 20th century art.”(1) 

Clicking on the image will lead you to a gallery of his works at KarpatArt.com:

In the Frontyard (1930) by Bela Erdelyi
Source: http://www.arcadja.com/auctions/en/erdelyi_bela/artist/271955/

Zoltan Sholtes – a priest-painter

Landscape with a Stream (1970) by Zoltan Sholtes

Zoltan Sholtes was a Greek Catholic priest who was born in Slovakia, in a small village called Priekopa, district Sobrance, and he lived in Uzhorod his whole life. He died in 1990 as a leading figure of the Transcarpathian School of Painting, leaving behind a legacy of touching, warm, mostly winter landscapes in a much impressionist style. Similarly to his colleagues in the second generation of the School, his artistic vision and style was unique, and while drawing from their teachings, he never mimicked them. His paintings are auctioned out from $500 to $2,000.