Olena Kulchytska entered the history of Ukrainian art as a resourceful artist — a painter, decorator and graphic art master. She enriched the etching, wood carving and lino engraving techniques and became the pioneer of modern printing graphic art.
She was born in Berezhany (Ternopil region) on the 15th of September 1877 in the family of a clerk. She received her primary art education in a private studio of popular Lviv artists Stanislav Batovskyj and Roman Bratkovskyj in 1901-1903. For 5 years she studied at the art-and-trade school in Vienna. After getting a diploma, she travelled around Western Europe, getting acquainted with the museums of Paris, London, Munich. But soon she returned to Lviv, where her parents lived. In Lviv she got acquainted with the best representatives of Ukrainian intelligentsia, such as Ivan Trush, Ivan Franko, Lesya Ukrainka, Vasyl Stefanyk, Mychailo Kotsiubynskyj. She couldn't devote herself to her art work because of her family situation. Her parents were old and needed every kind of support on her part. So in 1909, when her father died, she started to work as a teacher of drawing first in a Lviv gymnasium for girls and later in Peremyshl'.
again. Here she lived through the most difficult years of the war with fascists. When the war was over she continued to work in the Lviv conservatoire, being as excellent a teacher as she used to be a singer.
Solomia Krushelnytska died in 1952 and was buried in Lychakiv cemetery in Lviv. She left into eternity long ago, but the memory of her continues to live and is honoured in Lviv by naming the street after Solomia Krushelnytska. There is her memorial Museum here and the Lviv school for the most musically gifted children from the whole Western part of Ukraine also bears her name. Musical festivals of singers, also bearing her name, are held in Lviv, too. In those days she had little time for creative work as an artist, but she worked a lot on her engravings in her spare time. In summer she usually went to the Carpathians or Volyn, where she used to draw the beautiful sights and the portraits of interesting people she met. She watched the life of common people, their customs and picturesque clothes, and she tried to find the personages for her pictures. And she succeeded.
She returned to Lviv in 1938 and started to work in the museum of ethnography, developing her artistic views and deepening her knowledge. Ten years later, in 1948 she became a Professor of the Lviv Polygraphical Institute named after Ivan Fedorov, the first Slavonic printer. The painter Olena Kulchytska has left a rich heritage of her works: oil canvases, water-colour, graphic works, engravings and even hand-made carpets. She bequeathed them to the people through the Lviv State museum of Ukrainian art. Her works were exhibited during numerous art exhibitions. Most popular and distinguished among her works are "The fair in Kosiv", "Art", "Children in the meadow". She illustrated "The first reading book" for first-formers, the book of novelettes by Vasyl Stefanyk, "The Road" and books of tales and folk-tales for children. She also portrayed famous Ukrainians, such as T.Shevchenko, I.Franko, L.Ukrainka and many others. One can't help admiring any of the artist's works: landscapes or portraits, still-lives or illustrations.
Together with her sister Olga they worked on national furniture, improving its decoration and made carpets, thus contributing into Ukrainian national decoration art. Her works were exhibited both in Europe and America. Olena Kulchytska died in 1967 when she was almost 90 and was buried in Lviv in Lychakiv cemetery.
Lviv Study. Handbook./Compiler group manager N.Vynnytska.-Lviv:AHIL,2003.- 52p. ISBN 966-7617-59-9