Kovzhun, Pavlo

Image - Pavlo Kovzhun Image - Pavlo Kovzhun at his exhibition Image - Pavlo Kovzhun at an exhibition (1932). Image - Pavlo Kovzhun: Life (1922). Image - Vasyl Bobynsky: The Secret of Dance (design Pavlo Kovzhun). Image - Pavlo Kovzhun: Landscape.

Kovzhun, Pavlo [Ковжун, Павло; Kovžun], b 3 October 1896 in Kostiushky, Ovruch county, Volhynia gubernia, d 15 May 1939 in Lviv. Noted graphic artist, painter, and art scholar. His graphic works began to appear in Kyiv journals while he was still a student at the Kyiv Art School. By 1914 his work began to attract wide attention. Sent to the front of the First World War in 1915, at the outbreak of the Revolution of 1917 he joined the Ukrainian movement in the armed forces and edited Ukrainian military newspapers, such as Ukraïna, Holos chasu, and Volia. During the Ukrainian National Republic period he helped to set up the Grunt publishing house, served as secretary of Universal’nyi zhurnal, and belonged to the Muzahet artistic and literary alliance in Kyiv. Finding refuge in Poland with the remnants of the Army of the Ukrainian National Republic, in 1922 Kovzhun settled in Lviv, where he became a leading figure in the artistic community. With Volodymyr Sichynsky, Petro Kholodny, Serhii Tymoshenko, and Mykola Holubets, he founded the Circle of Promoters of Ukrainian Art (HDUM), and in 1931 helped organize the Association of Independent Ukrainian Artists (ANUM), whose journal, Mystetstvo (Lviv), he edited (1932–6). His graphic art was displayed at exhibitions in Lviv, Warsaw, Prague, Brussels, Berlin, Rome, and Naples, and had a major impact on book graphics in Western Ukraine. Kovzhun ranks with Heorhii Narbut as the leading Ukrainian graphic artist of the 20th century. He was thoroughly modern and yet closely bound to Ukrainian artistic traditions. His early work was influenced by symbolism, futurism, and to some extent by Narbut, but after 1924 he developed his own style, which was at first expressionist and then constructivist. Kovzhun was also a noted muralist: with Mykhailo Osinchuk he painted a number of churches in Ozirna, Sokal, Zashkiv, Dolyna, Myklashiv, Kalush, and Stoianiv in a modernized neo-Byzantine style (see Neo-Byzantinism). Kovzhun was a tireless organizer of exhibitions, and an editor and writer. He wrote several monographs about contemporary artists, such as Mykola Hlushchenko, Oleksa Hryshchenko, and Lev Gets, and numerous articles on art. He edited a collection of bookplates, Ekslibris: Zbirnyk Asotsiiatsiï nezalezhnykh ukraïns'kykh mysttsiv (Bookplates: A Collection of the Association of Independent Ukrainian Artists, 1932), in which his own work appeared.

Fediuk, M. Hrafika P. Kovzhuna (Lviv 1924)
Sichyns’kyi, V. ‘Knyzhna hrafika Pavla Kovzhuna,’ Bibliohrafichni visti, 2 (1927)
Holubets’, M. Pavlo Kovzhun (Lviv 1939)
Masjutin, W. ‘Pavlo Kowzun,’ Gebrauchsgraphik, 9 (1939)
Hordyns’kyi, S. Pavlo Kovzhun (Lviv 1944)

Sviatoslav Hordynsky

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 2 (1988).]

Image - Pavlo Kovzhun: Windmill. Image - Lviv intellectuals (1921): Pavlo Kovzhun (first row left), Mykola Holubets (first row right), and others.

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