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Artworks of Ukrainian folk artist Katerina Bilokur

Усі розділи Колекції

Katerina Bilokur. The mid-1950s. After a photo by Ya.L.Povolotskii.

Kateryna Bilokur as a painter could organically exist with her pictures in any century. She never went to school, nor studied painting anywhere. In the village of Bohdanivka (now in the Kyiv region) lost among melon fields, she spent all her life, and consciously used it so that she, a self-taught woman, was simply recognized as a painter.

The time when Kateryna Bilokur lived her life (1900-1961) was not gentle to her, but in her pictures it is as if she stands back from the stormy events that raged in Ukraine in the beginning and middle of the 20th century.

On a piece of home-made cloth with coal or a brush she made herself, thin as a needle (several ferret hairs attached to a twig), at first with vegetable, and later with oil paints, Kateryna Bilikur stubbornly taught herself to paint, while the flowers served as her models. She differed from her village environment, she was a lonely dreamer who never had her own family and children; she lived as an “alien” to all ordinary joys of human destiny, because she had those of her own, hidden from strangers.

The nature of this woman is disclosed by her paintings and letters she wrote to her friends and close people. The pictures produce a strange impression – they have the feeling of flight. Maybe the absence of any school made her free in her fancies and the method of realization on canvas.

Big compositions with an indefinite subject are especially characteristic of Kateryna Bilokur. Flowers, for very seldom exceptions, are the only dwellers of her paintings which do not enter the framework of classic still life or landscape. The painter diligently copies the plants from nature and simultaneously transforms to her own the world where they should exist. It ia as if she arranges the state of nature – dusk, dawn, or a hot afternoon.

«Flowers Behind The Fence» (1935) is a colourful wave of plants barely retained by the fence. The way she puts and harmonizes the flowers on the canvas resembles music or versification – the plants can be gathered either in strands of fire or exist in dreamy wideness.

In «Flowers And Viburnum» (1940) the background is deep blue, the plants are as if they are drowning in the night air, and remind of cups filled with dusk.

«Wild Flowers» (1940) is a melon field covered with morning mist. This picture, like many other of her paintings, is devoid of perspective of real landscape. It overlays the image of elaborately depicted flowers on richly coloured but indefinite background – simply «breathing» blueness.


«Abundance» (1944-1947 рр.), «Decorative Flowers» (1945 р.) evoke the feeling of heat with its waves «swaying» the flowers, and sunny wind dancing on the painting.

The Museum possesses a rich collection of pictures by this extraordinary person who in the beginning of her way to the “holy painting” worked for nobody, hid her pictures, like a sin, but defeated the fate, and really proved that she had been born to be a painter with a lyrical and very individual gift.


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