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Krynytskii, Nykyfor /Krynicki, Nikifor

Nykyfor Krynytskii/Nikifor Krynicki (b. Epifanii Drovniak, May 21, 1895, Krynica [Austrian Galicia], Poland; d. October 10, 1968, Folusz, Poland) — world-renowned Lemko naive painter in Poland. Nykyfor started painting at an early age, but was not “discovered” until the 1930s. His first exhibition was organized in Paris (1932) at the initiative of the Galician-Ukrainian painter, Roman Turyn. By World War II Nykyfor was largely forgotten, and after the conflict ended he was deported from the *Lemko Region to Szczecin in northern Poland. Twice he returned home on foot and twice more he was deported.

After 1948 Nykyfor the artist was “rediscovered,” but this time as a “Polish primitivist.” His works were exhibited in several cities in Poland (Sopot, Cracow, Warsaw) and abroad (London and Rome). Thanks to the Polish art experts Andrzej and Ewa Banach Nykyfor’s works were even more widely exhibited: in 1959 (Amsterdam, Brussels, Liege, Jerusalem, and Haifa); in 1960 (Frankfurt, Hannover, Baden-Baden, and Basel); and subsequently in Vienna, London, Kiev, Zagreb, Munich, and the United States. Many of Nykyfor’s paintings capture his unique vision of the Lemko environment in which he spent almost all his life. Of particular importance was the Byzantine-rite church, which for him served as a place of reflection as well as shelter and whose icons provided artistic inspiration. In 1995 a permanent museum including 215 of his paintings as well as personal effects was established in his native Lemko Region town of Krynica.

Bibliography: Tadeusz Zagorzanski, Nikifor: bibliografia w 100-lecie urodzin Nikifora (Warsaw, 1995); Andrzej Banach, Nikifor (Cracow, 1957); Andrzej Banach, Pamiatka z Krynicy (Cracow, 1959); Andrzej Banach, Nikifor (Warsaw, 1993); Oleh Sydor, “Nykyfor-Epyfanii Drovniak: vidkryttia i vidryvachi,” Pamiatky Ukrainy, No. 110 (Kiev, 1995), pp. 159-161; Zbigniew Wolanin, Nikifor (Olszanica, 2000).

Bogdan Horbal

Entry courtesy of Encyclopedia of Rusyn History and Culture.
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