Image - Vasyl H. Krychevsky: a bookplate of Serhii Yefremov.

Bookplate (книжковий знак, екслібрис; knyzhkovyi znak, eх libris). Artistic label, containing a drawing, coat of arms, or other device, an inscription, and the name of the owner, which is pasted on the inner cover or flyleaf of a book. Bookplates first appeared in Germany between 1450 and 1470. The oldest known bookplate in Ukraine dates from 1601 and appears in a book owned by the guildmaster S. Samborsky of Kamianets-Podilskyi. The bookplates of Oleksander Bezborodko, Fedir Tumansky, M. Fankovych, and of the Basilian monastery library in Kholm are typical examples of 18th-century bookplates. In the mid-18th century the engraver Ivan Fylypovych designed the bookplate of the Zalusky family library. In the 19th century the larger book collections displayed bookplates with coats of arms. At the beginning of the 20th century the bookplate tradition was developed by Heorhii Narbut. Since then such artists as Modest Sosenko, Olena Kulchytska, Vasyl H. Krychevsky, and many others have produced bookplates. In the 1920s–1930s Pavlo Kovzhun, the most distinguished Ukrainian bookplate designer, contributed to the development and popularity of the art form. As a result of his efforts a book on Ukrainian bookplates with numerous reproductions was published in Lviv in 1932. During this period the following artists designed bookplates: Mykola Butovych, Ivan Padalka, O. Sakhnovska, Petro P. Kholodny, Nil Khasevych, Leonid Khyzhynsky, Viktor Tsymbal, Sviatoslav Hordynsky, Mykhailo Osinchuk, Yaroslava Muzyka, and Volodymyr Sichynsky. After 1940 the art form was perpetuated outside Ukraine by such artists as Jacques Hnizdovsky, Volodymyr Balias, Yurii Kulchytsky, M. Bilynsky, Myron Levytsky, and Liuboslav Hutsaliuk. Tyrs Venhrynovych of Cracow produced over 200 woodcut bookplates. In the Ukrainian SSR such graphic artists as K. Kozlovsky, Vasyl Stetsenko, V. Masyk, Oleksander Hubariev, M. Kurylych, Heorhii Malakov, Volodymyr Kutkin, Stefaniia Gebus-Baranetska, and Hryhorii Davydovych produced well-designed bookplates. The art attained a particularly high standard in the 1960s at the hands of Vasyl Perevalsky, M. Malyshko, N. Denysova, M. Pavlusenko, Opanas Zalyvakha, Halyna Sevruk, and Bohdan Soroka. An album of their bookplates was published in the United States in 1972.

The collecting of bookplates developed together with book printing and the growth of libraries at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. Special bookplate collections are found at the National Library of Ukraine in Kyiv, the National Art Museum of Ukraine, the Lviv National Museum, and in private collections, mainly in Kyiv and Lviv. In the United States valuable bookplate collections were owned by Metropolitan Mstyslav Skrypnyk, M. Kuzmovych, and Sviatoslav Hordynsky.

Eklibris: Zbirnyk Asotsiiatsiï nezalezhnykh ukraïns'kykh mysttsiv (Lviv 1932)
The Bookplate Association International, Los Angeles Museum. Ninth Annual Exhibition, May 1933 [48 bookplates by 15 Ukrainian artists]
Sakhnovs'ka, O. Asotsiiatsiia nezalezhnykh ukraïns'kykh mysttsiv (Lviv 1934)
Viunyk, A. Ukraïns'kyi radians'kyi ekslibris (Kyiv 1965)
Bielichko, Iu. ‘Ekslibris, mystetstvo symvolu i alehoriï,’ Mystetstvo, 1966, no. 1
Ladyzhyns'kyi, V. ‘Dvadtsiat' lit ukraïns'koho ekslibrisu, 1946–66,’ Notatky z mystetstva/Ukrainian Art Digest, no. 8 (Philadelphia 1968)
Minaev, E. Ekslibris (Moscow 1970)
Knyzhkovyi znak shestydesiatnykiv (South Bound Brook, NJ, 1972)
Viunyk, A. Ekslibrysy (Kyiv 1977)

Sviatoslav Hordynsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 1 (1984).]

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