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Woodcut by Hnizdovsky, 1971

Woodcut by Hnizdovsky, 1971

Jacques Hnizdovsky was born in 1915 in Ukraine to descendants of a noble family bearing the Korab coat of arms. Being titled landowners, his parents were exiled to Siberia, but his mother managed to send him a secret message while he was away in boarding school. Realizing that he could never return home, he enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, but when the Second World War broke out, he quickly transferred to the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. After many difficult years in war-torn Europe and Displaced Persons Camps, Hnizdovsky emigrated to the United States in 1949.

Shortly after his arrival in the US, A. Hyatt Mayor of the Metropolitan Museum of Art chose one of his woodcuts for a Purchase Award at a 1950 Minneapolis Institute of Art print exhibition. It was a turning point in his career. From that moment on, he was determined to make his livelihood as an independent artist and moved to New York City. Hnizdovsky proceeded to create hundreds of paintings, numerous watercolors and pen and ink drawings, as well as over 375 prints. In 1962 he was awarded the First Prize at the Boston Printmakers annual exhibition for “The Sheep,” which was to become his best-known print.

Hnizdovsky’s work can be best described as stylized realism and draws inspiration from Dürer, Ukiyo-e and Chinese painting. While he became most famous for his prints of animals and trees, Hnizdovsky probably created more paintings than prints. His routine was to paint during the day and work on his prints in the evenings. Weekends were reserved for printing woodcuts, linocuts and etchings.

Jacques Hnizdovsky died in 1985 in New York.

The Hnizdovsky Estate