Folk painting, like other art forms, has its history. In the Ukraine, especially in the villages, folk painting on houses, utensils, furniture, fabrics, etc., has existed for a long time.
The decorative paintings are diversified. The chief form is wall painting. At the very beginning they were not independent paintings, but were merged with the architectural forms of rural structures.
In our times decorative folk painting has gained a much wider scope and its application became incomparably more varied.
Created by the skilful hands of Ukrainian artists, the ornamental wealth of folk painting finds extensive application in weaving, printing, architecture and, especially, in the production of art porcelain.
Painting has bccome in rccent years an independent branch of folk art in the Ukraine and now appears in the form of decorative pictures and panels done on paper in bright colours.
The Museum possesses popular works by folk artists of the village of Petrykivka, Dnepropetrovsk Region, with exceptionally rich floral ornamentation and bright colours. A generation of gifted artists has grown up in this village, forming an original school of -decorative painting. The well-known artists Vasyl Sokolenko, Fedir Panko, Yaryna Pylypenko, Hanna Isayeva, Yevdokia Klyupa and others are still living in their native village. They create traditional paintings and, at the same time, work at the “Druzhba” Factory, decorating household articles and souvenirs.
Considerable space in the Museum’s exposition is devoted to a display of specimens of painting executed by the older generation of Petrykivka artists, in particular Tetyana Pata, Nadiya Bilokin and their pupils,— Honoured Folk Artists of the Ukrainian S. S. R.,— Vira Pavlenko and Marfa Tymchenko, and artists Hanna Pavlenko-Chernychenko, Vira Klymenko (1921 —1965) and Polina Hlushchenko.
There are many common traits in the artistic manner of the Ukrainian artists; each of them, however, has his own individual creative style and his own imaginative treatment.
The works of the gifted artist Makar Mukha (from the village of Mykhailivka, Cherkassy Region) are characterized by expressive subject matter and clear-cut graphic execution.
The Museum has a large collection of works by the People’s Artist Hanna Sobachko-Shostak (1883 — 1965) from the village of Veselynivka, Kiev Region, who dedicated fifty years of creative work to folk art. The typical features of the works of this well-known artist are rich colours, great imagination, joyousness, dynamic composition and purposefulness.
The prominent artist Paraska Vlasenko (1898 — 1960) also came from the village of Veselynivka. Fler monumental works are vivid and unique in their decorative treatment; they are extensively used in art industry, especially in architecture.
The Museum has allocated an honourable place to the display of the works of the Shevchenko Prize winner Maria Prymachenko from the village Bolotne, Kiev Region. This artist continues the development of folk painting, endowing it with original modern significance, inexhaustible diversity of compositional construction and sunny colours. Her favourite subject is the fairy-tale world represented by a floral and animal ornamentation in bright and intense colours.
An important event in Ukrainian folk art is the work of People’s Artist of the Ukrainian S. S. R. Katerina Bilokur (1900 — 1961) from the village Bohdanivka, Kiev Region. Bilokur laid the foundation of Ukrainian Soviet decorative folk easel art. Her singular talent developed under conditions of hard life. Great love for the scenery of her native country, aspiration to the beauty of art, hard work and exacting demands on her art helped Bilokur to become a truly inimitable and remarkable master of folk art.
The pictures by Katerina Bilokur on exhibition in the Museum — “Collective-farm Field”, “Flowers behind a Fence”, “Hail to the Harvest”, “Breakfast” and others — draw attention by their truth and sincerity, originality and individuality, harmony and freshness of colours. The artist portrays with great love the joy of life and the beauty of the native land.
Along with the names of well-known artists one encounters new names — Ivan Skytsyuk (Kiev), Liza Myronova (village Soshnyki, Kiev Region), Maria Naumchuk (village Vcheraishe, Zhitomir Region), Hanna Prudnikova (village Petrykivka, Dnepropetrovsk Region) and many others.