Ukrainian Modernist masterpieces transported from Kyiv under missile fire find refuge in Madrid exhibition

“An exhibition of Ukrainian Modernist works opening next week at the Museo Nacional Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid has been organised in record time, and under trying conditions, following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.

In the Eye of the Storm: Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s includes 51 works—around 75% of the show—that have been loaned from the National Art Museum of Ukraine (Namu) and the State Museum of Theater, Music and Cinema of Ukraine, both in Kyiv. To get to the show, the works were secretly packed into trucks and transported to Madrid on 15 November, which become one of the worst days of bombing in the Ukrainian capital since the beginning of the war. This is the largest-ever legal transfer of art from a war-torn country.

The exhibition will include world-famous names with connections to Ukraine. Among these are Kazimir Malevich and Sonia Delaunay, who were both born there, and the Russian artist El Lissitzky, who was part of the secular socialist Jewish organisation Kultur Lige, which was founded in Kyiv in 1918 during the short-lived Ukrainian People’s Republic. The show will also feature works by the increasingly prominent Ukrainian avant-garde theoretician, Oleksandr Bohomazov, from Namu and the collection of the Swiss publisher Michael Ringier, who purchased them from James Butterwick, a British dealer and a long-time champion of the artist” – The Art Newspaper, 23 November 2022

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