Vasyl Sedliar was a Ukrainian painter and graphic artist, executed during the Stalinist purges in 1937 along with his mentor Mykola Boichuk and fellow artist Ivan Padalka. Sedliar studied at the Kyiv Art School and then under Boichuk at the Ukrainian State Academy of Arts, focusing on large-scale murals, book illustrations, packaging design and ceramics. Together with Oksana Pavlenko and others, Sedliar created murals at the Kyiv Institute of Plastic Arts in 1924, which were destroyed in 1934 after the institution was dissolved. Frescoes produced with Boichuk and Padalka at the Kharkiv Chervnonozavodskyi Ukrainian Drama theatre were also destroyed.
Sedliar’s works were often executed in the embattled Boichukist style, borrowing directly from Byzantine religious imagery—both icons and, most particularly, mural painting—and also incorporating contemporary secular subject matter. His illustrations in a 1931 edition of Taras Shevchenko’s Kobzar, which is a featured item of the Ukrainian Museum-Archive’s collection, were created in this vein. Sedliar, like many artists of that time, fell under increasing pressure to employ elements of socialist realism in his creative works, though his use of those motifs did not prevent him from persecution during the Stalinist terror. He was arrested in November 1936 and charged with terrorist activity. He would be executed on the same day as his mentor Boichuk and his friend Padalka, after which the majority of his works were destroyed. The 1931 and 1933 editions of the Kobzar were also banned, existing copies confiscated and destroyed. There were 5,000 published in the first edition and 10,000 in the second, with only a few restricted copies surviving along with a few in private collections, which makes the fact this volume surfaced in Cleveland, OH all the more remarkable.
- Zhorzhivka, Ukraine
Date of death
Author(s) of this page
- Kulick, Orysia Maria