Nikolai Iakovenko (1920-2000)
Nikolai Iakovenko was born in Krasnodar, Russia, near the border of the former Soviet Republic of Georgia. Iakovenko was living in Batumi, Georgia when we first met him. Shortly thereafter he moved to Kiev, Ukraine where is daughter and family were living. As a young man his studies in Leningrad were disrupted by the Second World War and he voluntarily joined the army. Many of his paintings have as their theme the Second World War. Some of these have been donated to the Springville Museum of Art.
From 1948-1950 Iakovenko studied at the Surikov Art Institute in Moscow. He painted with the Association of Artists in Moscow until 1957 when he returned to Batumi. In 1967 Iakovenko received the title “Honored Artis of Georgia”. In 1993 he moved to live and work in Kiev until the end of his life in 2000.
Iakovenko stated that “Art is not a learned trade and in the process of this work you have to forget about it, creating poetically and without force.” In every work of the Iakovenko the theme and composition develop tactfully and with the modesty so becoming to this artist. In every one of Iakovenko’s works there is a serious relationship between the painter, the form, and the colors. This can be seen in his portraits as well as his landscapes. They are all painted in different techniques.
Iakovenko worked in all genres and regardless of his many interests and hobbies, his main heroes remain sailors whom he called “the brave and strong people working he long and hard shifts at the sea.” Iakovenko was tremendously in love with the sea – “the storming sea as well as the calm sea, lazily rolling the small waves.” Iakovenko was always able to show this motif in a new way. In this exhibition are displayed three of Iakovenko’s motifs, fisherman at sea, a still life, and a landscape. Each of them displays the various creative talents of this exceptional artist.