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Sereda Oksana

The exhibiting activities of the Circle of Ukrainian Art Figures in the mirror of the Ukrainian press of the 1920s


The article analyzes a work of the first interwar art association ― the Circle of Ukrainian Art Figures (HDUM) in the field of exhibition organization. It reveals the role of this society in consolidating the Ukrainian artists living and working in Western (Polish-controlled), and Great (Soviet) Ukraine. About 30 publications reflecting a reception of exhibitions of HDUM by critics and Lviv public have been introduced into scholarly circulation.

A little-researched aspect is yet how creative efforts of the HDUM were received by its contemporaries, as well as by the Ukrainian press. Therefore our article aims to present the overview of activities of the association on the basis of content of the Ukrainian (mainly, Lviv) publications of the 1920s ― the newspapers «Hromadskyi Vistnyk», «Dilo», magazines «Literaturno-Naukovyi Vistnyk», «Mytusa», «Nova Ukraina», «Ukrayins’ke Mystetsvo».

HDUM was founded in Lviv on 28 December 1921 thanks to an initiative of the well-known Lviv art critic Mykola Golubets’ and émigré artists Petro Kholodnyi (Elder) and Pavlo Kozhun. One of the key principles of the Society was to shape national identity in artists’ circles and ordinary citizens. Pursuing this aim, HDUM actively conducted exhibiting work. Specifically, every exhibition was followed by issuing a catalog.

According to the press reports of that time, the first two Ukrainian art exhibitions took place in the halls of the Museum of Shevchenko Scientific Society. They received positive press coverage. All Ukrainian artists wishing to participate in these exhibitions were invited regardless of direction or art school they represented, as well as the HDUM affiliation. The next shows were on display in the halls of the National Museum. The public had felt some tension already during the third expo organization, and the next one didn’t match expectations of its organizers and wide public explicitly. Consequently, active initiatives of the association were gradually curtailed, although it formally continued to be operational yet for three years.

Keywords: HDUM, exposition, press, publication, criticism, art.

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