Ivan Honchar

Ivan Honchar is an outstanding Ukrainian public figure, sculptor, artist and founder of a well-known private museum of folk culture, where a unique collection of antiquities from different regions of Ukraine was stored and exhibited.

From early childhood he was engaged in drawing and sculpting. He studied painting, sculpture and drawing at the Kyiv Art and Industrial Technical School (1927-1930). He lived with M. B. Korostash, met and was acquainted with Klyment Kvitka, Lesya Ukrainka, her mother Olena Pchilka, attended lectures by S. Efremov and M. Hrushevskyi. I. M. Honchar entered the world of great art with the blessing of Oleksandr Dovzhenko - his sculpture "Taras the Water Carrier" was presented at the Republican Art Exhibition to celebrate the 125th anniversary of T. G. Shevchenko's birthday (1939).

In 1939, the artist participated in the Second World War, reached Berlin as a senior lieutenant, commander of a communications platoon. Awarded with orders and medals. From May to December 1945, he worked at the Vienna Academy of Arts, where he created a number of sculptural works for the exhibition "Path of the 1st Ukrainian Front through the eyes of front-line artists."

After the war, he began to implement his plan - to collect masterpieces of Ukrainian folk art that survived in order to show his contemporaries and descendants the real Ukraine. In the late autumn of 1959, he completed the construction of a house on the Novo - Navodnytska st. 8-a, which became one of the first private museums in Ukraine. The Master's collecting activity lasted almost 45 years. Over the years, the collection has acquired about 10,000 exhibits. Among them are fabric (shirts, towels, carpets, clothes, hats, etc.) - more than 2.5 units, wood - more than 250 units, ceramics - 750 units, Easter eggs - 500 units, metal and glass products, folk musical instruments, Ukrainian folk paintings and icons of folk writing - more than 500 units, as well as individual samples of professional writing and graphics. The private library had about 3,000 publications on Ukrainian studies, some of which are old prints and rare books. The collection was complemented by unique old photos that reflected Ukrainian traditions in clothes, ornaments and architecture from different regions of Ukraine, highlighting the main ones - anthropological types. The photos were arranged by the author in 18 volumes of the art historical and ethnographic album "Ukraine and Ukrainians".

The creative work of the artist - sculptural portraits of heroes of the Cossack era, objects of small plastic, paintings - ethnographic types of Ukrainians, landscapes, historical and architectural monuments, graphic albums "Ukrainian folk dress" and "Architectural monuments" thematically complemented the museum exposition.
The artist died on June 18, 1993. He was buried at Baikovo cemetery.
The art album was published as a result of Ivan Honchar's ethnographic expeditions to Ukraine in the 1950s - 1990s. These are 18 volumes of photos on A3 sheets accompanied by comments and hand-made ornaments, sketches of household items and elements of ethnography (towels, carpets, musical instruments, etc.) of Ukrainians, mainly of the 19th and 20th centuries, arranged according to historical-ethnographic and administrative-territorial zoning.

The album gained its popularity in the private (home) museum of Ivan Honchar in Kyiv, which was one of the few centers of Ukrainianism in the period of the 1960s-80s. Unlike the state funds and archives of the time, it was always open to the public. The creator's dream was to widely publicize this fundamental work back in the 1990s. However, this did not happen during the lifetime of the master.
Only in 2006 the first album "Ukraine and Ukrainians: selected sheets" was published with 160 selected sheets from all volumes.
In June 2007, to the Memorial Day of Ivan Honchar, two more volumes of the album "Ukraine and Ukrainians" - "Halychyna: Lviv region, Ivano-Frankivsk region, Ternopil region" and "Bukovyna" - combined into one book, were published.

At the beginning of 2008, the Museum of Ivan Honchar and the Kyiv branch of the National Union of Folk Art Masters of Ukraine, with the support of the Kyiv Regional State Administration and the International Charity Fund "Ukraine 3000", published the next volume of the album - "Kyivshchyna Livoberezhna". In 2015, another volume was published - "Poltavshchyna and Slobozhanshchyna".

Currently, the first editions of the album volumes are no longer available for purchase in Ukraine.