The Fabulous World of Maria Prymachenko

Ars Nova
27.4.−2.9.2018

Works by the Beloved Folk Artist will be Exhibited in Finland for the First Time

Maria Prymachenko (1908–1997) is one of the most renowned artists in Ukraine. The summer of 2018 sees the Finnish debut of this self-taught artist’s colourful animals, flower arrangements and depictions of folk life. Produced by Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, The Fabulous World of Maria Prymachenko will showcase the artist’s watercolour and gouache paintings. The works belong to the collection of the National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art in Kiev.

Getting to explore the extensive collection of Prymachenko’s works at the National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art has been a privilege. Our aim has been to assemble an array of works that offers an abundant and memorable introduction to the artist’s works,” says Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova’s curator Silja Lehtonen.

Prymachenko’s paintings are filled with imaginative details. They feature beautifully plumed birds and other animals that act in a human manner: they argue, play music and dine together or simply march smartly across the frame. Prymachenko’s symmetrical depictions of decorative floral arrangements display a splendor of colours. Her paintings of traditional life in the Ukrainian countryside are like storybook illustrations.

Maria Prymachenko was born in 1908 in the Ukrainian village of Bolotnia. Her family taught her a variety of traditional Ukrainian crafts, such as embroidery and decorating Easter eggs. She expressed her rich sense of fantasy through drawing and painting.

In 1936 Prymachenko was invited to Kiev to join a community of artists aiming to produce folk art on a professional level. Prymachenko’s works were widely on display all around Europe and. In 1937 she was awarded with a golden medal at the Paris World Fair, where her appearance gathered a lot of attention. It is said that Pablo Picasso titled her “an artistic miracle”.

Maria Prymachenko returned to her home village at the start of the Second World War. The next public appearance of her works was in the 1960s. Moving from watercolour to gouache allowed her more freedom in colours and a more precise form of expression.

The Fabulous World of Maria Prymachenko is on display from April 27 to September 2, 2018, on the first floor of the Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova museum.

In cooperation with:

In cooperation with Marimekko.

Maria Prymachenko: Spring Revels of Hares and Birds, 1968, gouache on paper, 60 x 84 cm, National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art
Maria Prymachenko: Bears at Apiary, 1965, gouache on paper, 57 x 80,5 cm, National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art
Maria Prymachenko: Pretty Pig, 1965, gouache on paper, 60 x 85 cm, National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art
Maria Prymachenko: Little Shepherds, 1959, gouache on paper, 60 x 80 cm, National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art
Maria Prymachenko: Big Quarrel, 1936, watercolour on paper, 30 x 41 cm, National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art
Maria Prymachenko: Ushatka (Eared Beast) Has Caught a Crawfish, 1983, gouache on paper, 61 x 65,5 cm, National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art
Maria Prymachenko: Green Elephant, 1936, watercolour on paper, 30 x 41 cm, National Museum of Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art