By Michael Buryk
The Ukrainian Museum and Library of Stamford, Conn., had its beginnings with the 1933 purchase of the Quintard estate by Bishop Constantine Bohachevsky and his plan to establish a cultural institution there. It would become the first major Ukrainian cultural institution in the U.S. In that same year, Paul Daubner, a Hungarian-born church muralist know for his work in the Anthracite Region of Northeast Pennsylvania, painted the portrait of Nicholas Bervinchak. It was in the depths of the Great Depression that Bervinchak’s own artistic career would blossom. And so it is fitting that the Museum and Library has opened its doors to the largest exhibit of his work in the twenty-first century.
At the time when the Museum and Library first opened in 1935, Bervinchak created his etching, “Meditation”. It featured Anna Sten, the Kyiv-born actress who had come to Hollywood at the invitation of Sam Goldwyn. The Ukrainian American community then was absolutely captivated by her story. Nick would continue to capture popular slices of Ukrainian life in his art throughout his career that spanned more than fifty years.
Probably the most well known pieces of his work are his etchings featuring Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, mining scenes during the Depression Era. Lesser know is his church art learned under the tutelage of Paul Daubner. You can see an extensive collection of Bervinchak’s work in etchings and photos along with a written narrative about Ukrainian life in the coalfields in this new exhibit. The exhibit opens o
n Sunday, September 27th and continues at The U
krainian Museum and Library in Stamford, Conn., through Friday, November 6th. It is sponsored by the Lemko Research Foundation with a donation from SUMA Federal Credit Union in Yonkers, N.Y., in collaboration with The Ukrainian Museum of New York City and The Ukrainian Historical and Education Center of New Jersey. The museum is open Wednesday through Friday from 1-5 PM. For directions and more information about the museum, please visit: http://www.ukrainianmuseumlibrary.org/.
For those who are unable to travel to The Museum for the exhibit, there is a new online display of some of Bervinchak’s art at http://www.redpatchgallery.com. The online gallery will continue to add additional pieces of his work as they become available so please check back from time to time.
Mike Buryk is a Ukrainian-American writer whose research focuses on Lemko and Ukrainian genealogy and the history of Ukrainians in the United States. He is a founding member of Nashi Predky, a Ukrainian genealogy and family history group. He is also a collector of the artwork of Nicholas Bervinchak and gives talks on the artist’s life and career. You can contact Mike at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
His web sites are: http://www.buryk.com/our_patch/ and http://www.redpatchgallery.com
And, a YouTube video clip from Michael Buryk’s talk at the opening.