In memory of M.S. Pogribnyak: From the family album and memories of the Rubaniky family

December 5 (18), 2020 marks the 135th anniversary of the birth of one of the brightest representatives of Ukrainian artistic culture of the 20th century, an artist, graphic artist, teacher, children’s writer, master of book graphics, student of F.S. Krasytskyi and O.H. Slastion, a pupil of the Myrhorod Art and Industrial School named after M.V. Gogol, a contemporary and associate of D.I. Yavornytskyi Mykola Stepanovich Pogribnyak (5.(18)12.1885, village of Kozatske, Zvenigorodsky District, Kyiv Oblast, now Cherkasy Oblast – 30.05.1965, Dnipropetrovsk, now Dnipro).

In parallel with the outstanding artists of the book G.I. Narbutom, M.L. Boychuk, I.I. Padalko, V.F. Sedlyarem, V.I. Kasiyan M.S. Pogribnyak worked in the areas of monumental and easel painting, easel and book graphics, decorative and applied art. The books and periodicals designed by him were always distinguished by their national background, created in accordance with the ancient Ukrainian tradition of book printing. He artistically designed the cover of the “Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language. Volume I” and illustrated the popular historical story “How the Glorious Zaporizhzhya Low-Level Army Lived” by D.I. Yavornytskyi. The most detailed information about the creative activity and artistic heritage of M.S. Pogribnyak was collected by scientists of the Dnipropetrovsk National Historical Museum named after D.I. Yavornytskyi in the illustrated catalog “On Ukrainian soil. Book graphics by Mykola Pogribnyak”.

Recently, to the employees of the Dnipropetrovsk National Historical Museum named after D.I. Yavornytskyi was approached by the artist’s relatives, the Rubaniky family from Drohobych, Lviv region – Svitlana Ivanivna and her son Anatoliy Volodymyrovych, grandson and great-grandson of his own brother M.S. Pogribnyak – Yakym Stepanovych. They were interested and prompted to search by the article “On Ukrainian soil” by N. Vasylenko and I. Mazurenko, senior researchers of the “Literature Prydniprovya” museum, published in the “Sicheslav” magazine (2006, part 9) for the 120th anniversary of the birth Ukrainian artist M.S. Pogribnyak For a long time, the Rubanyky family preserves the memory of their talented relative, taking careful care to ensure that the flame of family memory does not go out. Their home is decorated with two drawings by M.S. Pogribnyak “Tram depot on Pushkin Avenue”, “The yard of the building on the street Volodarskyi, 26” (where the Pogribnyaks lived) and a sketch of one of the students (a lunar landscape near Perevolochnaya on the Dnieper), whose name is still unknown.

The family album contains photos, including a portrait of M.S.’s father. Pogribnyak – Stepan Trokhymovich, portrait of M.S. Pogribnyak (Katerinoslav, 1909) and photos with his wife Anastasia Yosypivna and son Bohdan, group photos of family members – brother Yakov Stepanovich and his son Ivan, nephew M.S. Pogribnyak Electronic copies of some of them were sent to the museum by Anatolii Volodymyrovych, and Svitlana Ivanivna commented on them. She shared her memories of our city, where she lived for many years (until 1959), about M.S. Pogribnyak, his parents (mother Kharytyna Sydorivna lived for more than a hundred years) and family members (the Pogribnyaks had four children – Stepanid, Teklya, Mykola, Yakym), about the house on the street. Volodarsky № 26 (41), where he lived with his family (the house belonged to other owners), biographical details and family stories of the tragic 1930s.

One cannot fail to notice that Svitlana Ivanivna is similar to the family of Pogribnyaks and has common features with M.S. Pogribnyak According to her memories, this family was distinguished by creative abilities. She is a construction engineer by profession, and her son, Anatoly, has a creative profession – a stone engraver. In particular, he noted: “I look at the photo and see the resemblance of my mother’s facial features to Mykola Stepanovich, the paternal line is striking. He was the one who called my mother to correct her handwriting, insisting on doing several exercises in handwriting, although at that time calligraphy was taught at school.”

We sincerely thank Svitlana Ivanovna and Anatoly Volodymyrovych for their cooperation with the museum, for preserving the memory of M.S. Pogribnyak, for a careful attitude to the history of his family. We hope that some of these precious family heirlooms will eventually replenish the funds of the Dnipropetrovsk National Historical Museum. D.I. Yavornytskyi.

From the memories of S.I. Rubanik about M.S. Pogribnyak, recorded by his son Anatoly.

Mykola Stepanovych had as a rule to get up every morning at four o’clock and work at home before school, for this there were two or three easels in the living room. In particular, he did some commissions for institutions, perhaps in the style of socialist realism, or something similar. His landscapes and paintings were purchased for theaters – Russian drama named after M. Gorky, Ukrainian Drama Theater named after T. Shevchenko, Opera and Ballet Theater, “Rodyna”, “Pobeda” cinemas, etc.

Mykola Stepanovych had a small sculpture on his desk, which he molded from clay under the impression of the condition of a dying starving man, whom he saw in 1921, I do not know whether it survived (a similar clay sculpture “My Thoughts” (1920) is kept in the Dnipropetrovsk Art Museum museums – here and further notes by N. Vasylenko).

Mykola Stepanovych’s father, Stepan Trokhymovych, was a gardener in the village of Kozatsky (otherwise known as Kozachansky Park), founded at the end of the 18th century. Prince S. Golitsyn. At the time he worked there, the park belonged to Golitsyn’s granddaughter, Princess T. Kurakini.

He also had two sisters, the older one was called Stepanida, she was the oldest. Her son and deceased Mykola Stepanovych is the artist Vasyl Kindratovych Stetsenko (1901-1971), also from the village of Kozatsky At Ivan Yakimovich, dear M.S. Pogribnyak, several books with its design were kept.

Mykola Stepanovich’s brother Yakym (1888-1933) married early, having no particular desire to study, despite his father’s desire to give his son an education. On the advice of a village teacher, his father sent him to farm on the purchased twenty-tenths of state-owned chernozem. During collectivization, Yakym’s farm and land were taken away, in 1932 he was sent to Arkhangelsk, accused of kulakism, from where he managed to escape to Ukraine, but he did not stay long in his native land, he died in 1933 under unknown circumstances. His farm became a collective farm, and the house was used as a collective farm outbuilding. His son Amos, Ivan Yakimovich’s brother, was imprisoned. I think that Mykola Stepanovych was also aware of all these transformations. He may have gone to his brother’s farm, but more often he came to his native village of Kozatske, because his older sisters Stepanida and Teklya lived there, of course, and their parents were still alive.

Mykola Stepanovich had a son, Bohdan (1921-1970), who is the fifth and only surviving child. Unfortunately, there are no descendants of Bohdan left, at least, I do not know. Even before the war, perhaps in 1938, Bohdan fell in love with a neighbor’s girl, who gave birth to a child in 1939, a girl. The girl’s parents decided not to connect their daughter’s future with Bohdan, so they left Dnipropetrovsk in the same year. There was no more information about them. Bohdan was a musician, a pianist. He did not live with his parents for a long time, but in the city of Gorky, Russian Federation, and died in June 1970, when he came to visit his mother. Apparently, the reason was the wound he received during the Second World War. Anastasia Yosypivna worked as a domestic worker in a man’s house in her youth, she cooked very well, the man’s kitchen gave a positive result. She had health problems (oncology), underwent an operation, and lived to a respectable age. Died in the horse. early 70s 80s (she was born in 1892).

After her husband’s death, Anastasia Yosypivna wanted to give something to Ivan (1906-1982), the nephew of Mykola Stepanovich. He came to Katerynoslav during the NEP and after studying at a technical school entered the Mining Institute. It is possible that Mykola Stepanovych helped him with housing and funds, because Stepan Trokhymovych provided his preliminary education. At home, he had a so-called landscape hanging on the wall. of the monastery forest (somewhere near the village of Kozatskyi), called Kulbachchyna, is a rather large canvas depicting a forest that was taken away by the Germans during the war. The fate of this painting is unknown to me. There was also the painting “Thaw” (spring landscape with birches), a copy of the painting by M.S. Samokysha “Cossack with a bandura”, made by M.S. Pogribnyak There were twelve donated paintings and drawings, among them “Tram Depot on Pushkin Avenue” and “Courtyard of a House on St. Volodarskyi, 26” and student work. The drawing of the tram depot was at the exhibition in 1949, and after its completion Mykola Stepanovych presented it to Ivan, he signed the work exactly when he gave it. He also gave another picture to Mary, Ivan’s younger sister, who lived in Kyiv. During the German occupation, Ivan’s library was stored in the house of Mykola Stepanovich, the Germans were careful with Soviet encyclopedic publications, and they were forced to destroy them, but other literature was not touched, so it was preserved there. Before the Second World War, Ivan Yakymovych and his wife Polina Yehorivna (maiden name Kuzema; 1909-1956) lived in Dnipropetrovsk on the street Cooperative, and after the war, having lost the apartment in which other people settled, the family was forced to move to Aptekarska balka, 83. After the death of his wife, he soon remarried, after which in the mid-60s he moved to Igren, where he lived until his death, there the mentioned paintings were also transported. I don’t know what happened to them after 1970, maybe something remained.

Before World War II, my father (Ivan Yakymovych) and my mother (Polina Yehorivna) and I used to go to Mykola Stepanovich’s family on weekends, where we played cards together and talked. I remembered that grandmother Anastasia treated us with goodies, besides, my brother Vitaliy and I played hide and seek and often visited my grandfather’s pantry (this pantry could be called an archive and a warehouse), where various things lay on the shelves, in particular, various objects for drawing, stuffed animals, sketches of his works, as well as the works of some students, signal copies with drawings, correspondence. Apparently we didn’t do much damage, so they didn’t chase us away. Unfortunately, I was young enough then to describe in detail the interior of the apartments and what things were there. In the living room, where they dined and played cards, there were many paintings (probably at least ten), a beautiful piano with candlesticks, a sideboard and three bookcases.

I know that Mykola Stepanovych was directly acquainted with D.I. Yavornytskyi, maybe he delivered something to him and went to sketch the rapids together with their team.

Oleksiy Krylov arranged with Ivan Yakymovych to ask Mykola Stepanovich to design his children’s book, I don’t know its exact name, but there was an image of a white rooster on the cover, and there were also illustrations inside. I remembered this fragment, because the agreement went through my father. The booklet was printed in Moscow in Russian, and these negotiations took place, apparently, in the spring of 1954. Krylov himself knew Ivan Yakimovych by work, because he, too, seems to have been a metallurgist” (this is about the book of the children’s writer O.G. Krylov “How the rooster was treated”).

There are still a few original photos that are kept in the family of Ivan Yakimovich’s sister Maria in Kyiv (she died in 2008 at the age of ninety-seven; her daughter is Larisa Slobodianyk). It seems that there is a photo of Mykola Stepanovych’s mother, taken by him with a camera that he bought immediately after completing his studies in Myrhorod. He caught her while she was consulting in the garden, a condescending smile lingering on her face.

The great-granddaughter of M.S. lives in Dnipro. Pogribnyak on the line of Yakym, Larisa Vitalyivna. Vitaly Ivanovych, her father, is probably already dead, but no one told us about it. He had a penchant for drawing, although he did not receive an art education. He took part in the painting of churches in Khmelnytskyi region in the brigade under the leadership of the brother of the poet-songwriter Yuriy Rybchynskyi.

The cemetery where Mykola Stepanovych is buried, on the Zaporizhzhya highway, the central cemetery. I don’t know who took care of the archive and pictures after his death. Anastasia Yosypivna kept something. Maybe most got into the museum? (the archive of M.S. Pogribnyak is kept in the Dnipropetrovsk Art Museum).

In 1982, the children’s magazine “Young Artist” published short memories of some famous artists, among other things there was a memory of the sculptor Boroday, who also remembered Pogribnyak as his school teacher.

Works of art:

  • M.S. Pogribnyak [Tram depot on Pushkin Avenue]. Cardboard. Pastel. 1949. 34×51.
  • M.S. Pogribnyak [The yard of the house on the street Volodarskyi, 26, where the Pogribnyaks lived]. Canvas. Oils. [1930-1940s]. 67×50.
  • Sketch by an unknown author. [Moonscape near Perevolochnaya on the Dnieper]. Plywood. Oils. [1940s]. 60×39.

Nataliya Vasylenko, PhD Department Museum “Literary Prydniprovya”