Portrait of a Young Girl
Like fellow Ukrainian artist Oleksa Hryshchenko, Vassyl Khmeluk (usually called professionally as simply Khmeluk) developed a style which was influenced by Cezanne in its construction of form and explored color in the expressionist manner of Georges Roualt, evolving from the Fauves dark outlines and bold color in patterns reminiscent of stained glass. He used his unique style in a variety of genres, including landscapes, still-lifes, and portraits like Portrait of a Young Girl. The flat planes of paint in muted colors and negative space of the background help evoke the melancholy we sense in the face of the girl with her downcast eyes. Born in the village of Bereziuka in the Ukraine, Vassyl Khmeluk first studied art in Krakw and Prague, staying on the move throughout the 1920s. By 1931, he had moved to Paris and by the 1940s, he had become well-known with exhibitions of his work taking place in London, New York, Geneva, and Munich. Charles Kunstler, a noted art historian, has called him, a poet, a musician of color, while French critic F.H. Lem termed him simply one of the best artists of his generation.