The Easel

Archives: Christie’s

2nd July 2024

How Ukraine saw ‘a period of real artistic flourishing’ in the early 20th century

Being next door to Russia, Ukraine and its artists have often been viewed as Russian. No longer. A show of works taken from Kyiv for safekeeping reveals that early 1920’s Ukraine was full of “cultural energy”, fusing modernism with the bright palette of Ukrainian folk art. Stalin’s purges in the 1930’s ended that, but not a yearning for national identity. Not all the art in this show is great, says one critic. Nonetheless, it demonstrates that art can provide a path “towards self-determination, towards self-expression”.