Vasyl Khmeluk

Vasyl Khmeluk was born on July 31, 1903 in the village of Berezivka (today’s Vinnytska oblast of Ukraine). His family was of famous kozak heritage. In 1921 the artist studied at the Krakow Art Academy for one year and with having no financial support he moved to Prague. Khmeluk studied philosophy at Charles University and took some evening art classes at the Ukrainian Studio of Plastic Arts in Prague with professor Sergei Mako. Together with his brother, Ilya, the artist started a small textile manufacturing, which brought him financial independence and stability. Vasyl Khmeluk graduated from Charles University in Prague in 1928 and received Licentie es Lettres diploma. Same year he moved to Paris. Initially, he stayed in a hotel together with another Ukrainian artist – Vasyl Perebyinis. Khmeluk was paying 140 Francs for a small room per month and wrote to his brother that “it is very hard to make money here being a foreigner.” In Khmeluk’s letter to his brother dated October 26, 1928 he wrote that his art was accepted to Salon d’Automne, (Autumn Salon). The artist found his first apartment at 74, Rue Moulin Vert, Paris XIV in 1928. Khmeluk met Sergei Shchukin who introduced him to Ambroise Vollard who in turn bought several works by the artist. In 1930 Khmeluk exhibited in Lviv and held 2 solo shows in Paris in 1931. In 1943 Vasyl Khmeluk signed a contract with Durand-Ruel Galler that exhibited and sold his works for over 30 years. The artist regularly traveled to the South of France where he painted his expressive landscapes. Overall his works can be divided into three categories: 1) flowers and still life; 2) portraits and compositions with a figure; 3) landscapes. Most of his works were small to medium size. The artist held solo shows at Jeune Europe Gallery, Paris in 1931, Marcel Gallery, Paris in 1933, Wolman Gallery, Paris in 1935, Defrene Gallery, Paris in 1936, A. Poyet Gallery, Paris in 1937, 1938 and 1939, The Storran Gallery, London in 1938, Institute Tessin, Paris in 1942, Saint Germain Gallery, Paris in 1942, Durand-Ruel Gallery, Paris in 1943 and 1945, Chabanon Gallery, Paris in 1945, Allard Gallery, Paris in 1946, Durand-Ruel Gallery, New York in 1946, Herman Gallery, Paris in 1947, Durand-Ruel Gallery, Paris-New York in 1947 and 1948, Benador Gallery, Geneva in 1949, Marbach Gallery, Bern, Switzerland in 1949, Salon des Maitres de la peinture, Paris in 1949, Paulette Jourdain Gallery, Paris in 1950, Durand-Ruel Gallery, Paris in 1951, 1955 and 1956, Leonard Hutton Galleries, New York in 1962. The artist died in Paris in 1986.