YURI FEDOROVICH VNODCHENKO (1927-2013)
"By the Water Well"
24 1/4" x 19 3/8", Oil on Board 10943
Yuri Fedorovich Vnodchenko (1927-2013)
Yuri F. Vnodchenko was born in 1927 in the Odessa Region of Ukraine. He was orphaned at the age of six when his father died. He then lived in a children's home located in a small peasant village, and throughout his life has paid homage to the kindness of the common people who raised him. Even though the region was poor he was able to take lessons in art and music. When the Germans invaded Ukraine the children were moved from the home to a city in Moldova. The time of the German occupation was harsh and the children would often forage through the bombed out buildings. It was foraging through one of these sites that Yuri found a set of oil paints. He immediately started painting copies of works in books and museums. The sale of these offered him a small income. There was a Romanian officer who was stationed in the town of Teraspol where young Yuri lived and the officer was very involved in cultural affairs. He would take Yuri's work and sell it for supplies, paints, canvas and paper.
As soon as the war ended an art college was opened in Kishinev, the capital of Moldova, and Yuri F. Vnodchenko enrolled immediately. After finishing there he traveled to Kiev and entered the art academy there. He studied under Tatiana Yablonskaya, whom he still credits as the greatest influence on his development as an artist.
Because of his talent, he had the freedom to choose where he wanted to work after graduation in 1956. Vnodchenko moved to Voronezh because it was full of culture, and he had relatives there. From the start, Yuri was invited to travel and work at the academic dachas set up in the country. Only the most promising and proven artists were invited to paint at these dachas where they were able to concentrate solely on their work. Even members of the Artist's Union were not guaranteed a place there. Even in this exclusive circle, he was known as a Master of Russian art and painting.
Yuri F. Vnodchenko states emphatically that he is a Realist- but not a Social Realist. He says that nature is and has always been his greatest influence. Even though most of his early works were figurative there was always a great love and devotion to history and landscape.
His influence is unmistakable in the works of Voronezh artists who have studied with him. He has been awarded certificates and titles which include Honored Artist of the Russian Socialist Federal Soviet Republic in 1976, 1987, 1997. Most of his main works hang in the Kromskoi Museum in Voronezh. The Russian system worked differently, in that important works were sold directly to the Ministry of Culture- therefore Yuri F. Vnodchenko only knew the whereabouts of the works in his home museum. Private collections in Europe and the U.S. also have some of his paintings. After a long and fruitful career his eyesight and health began to deteriorate, and in 2007 he stopped painting.
Despite a difficult childhood, Yuri F. Vnodchenko was known as a gentleman in every respect, always with a smile and kind words and regards for all that ever encountered him.
Yuri Fedorovich Vnodchenko died at the age of 86, February 2013.
Biography adapted from the L P Cline Gallery’s biography.