Mykhailo Andrienko-Nechytailo

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Mykhailo (Michael) Andrienko-Nechytailo was born in the city of Kherson to a nobleman of Chernihiv origin. He studied in St. Petersburg: at the drawing school under the Arts Promotion Society run by N. Roerich and at the local University’s Faculty of Law (1912–17).

As a student, he produced numerous easel drawings, illustrations to periodicals and sketches of theatre decorations and costumes that attracted public attention. During the Civil War he worked with Odessa K. Myklashevsky’s Chamber Theatre where he decorated scenes for Hofmannsthal’s Elektra, Plautus’ The Two Menaechmuses, etc.

In 1920, the artist illegally crossed the border. In emigration, he worked as art director for the Bucharest and German Operas and the Russian Chamber Theatre in Prague. His best projects of the early 1920 s included R. Drigo’s Millions d’Arlequin, D. Fonvisin’s Greenhorn, etc.

Already a recognised artist, he moved to the much-longed Paris (1923). The atmosphere of the French capital with its museums, shows, diverse salons and motley artistic styles invited to experiment. M. Andrienko-Nechytailo’s quest for painting manner resulted in cuboconstructivism (Composition; Personage). In the 1930 s, he created a cycle of paintings with noticeably surrealistic organisation of figurative elements (Still-Life with a Clock). Besides, he produced several hundred interesting genre drawings and numerous landscapes. His series Paris Faded Away is also a piece of historical value, being a painted document of the French capital city’s past. During the post-war period the artist delivered a number of abstract compositions characteristic for rhythmical plastics of various elements taken from reality (Pink Plans; Composition with Stairs). He arranged his personal shows in Paris (1964) and Rome (1965).

In cooperation with M. Hluschenko and K. Redko, Andrienko-Nechytailo organised the Association of Ukrainian Artists, supporting young compatriot painters who emigrated to France.

A person of high cultural standards, M. Andrienko-Nechytailo fruitfully worked as an art theoretician and writer, his book The Crossroads (1976) being a perfect example of his

activities in this field. For decades living at the centre of European culture, he successfully evaded primitive imitation. Having developed an original creative manner and an individual style, the artist became one of the 20 th century’s out-standing masters of fine arts.