Ukraine - Paradise
The Ukraine is beautiful; plain, very colorful country, fossilized sea. Its endless space is magnetizing. At night, I was going to the steppe, feasting my eyes on its beauty until the morning. Chahars lined with lilies of the valley, yellow kingcups, looking like a carpet of flowers. Trees on black backgrounds look like whitened cypresses. While in the Ukraine, in August 1885 or 1886, I saw a beautiful Bethlehem star (Venus) in Berezne when I was staying at Kazimierz Podhorski. I was dazzled by stones, a hill, and the huge star. I was standing in disbelief. – Can you see this star?! Peace, quiet and a live star close to the earth. I will never forget this.
[In 1886, Count Władysław Braniecki invited Wyczółkowski to Bila Tserkva].
Paradise. At that time I started working like mad. I was suffering in the Ukraine waiting for the moment of sunset, making sure that I have captured everything in 20 minutes. I was painting mornings and evenings for several months, having medical problems with my eyes.
[During that time the artist started suffering from allergy to oil paints].
The Fishermen, a series of about 30 paintings. Rushes, fishermen on a boat with a troll-net and fishing rods; 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, Two Fishermen [oil on canvas, 1889]. In the past, I was a revolutionary in art. This revolution – it was my new, personal location. The Ukraine… was my breakthrough. I was reborn, released from the influences of the Academy.
I was painting Oxen [aka Plowing, oil on canvas, 1892], Digging Beets [oil on canvas, 1893]. These oxen were posing to be painted.
Two years at the Podhorski family produced a series of fishermen. Oxen, Beets, at Branicki in Stavysche, Confidence in Berezne. Confidence, initiated in the Ukraine, was completed later in the Hotel Bellevue… Polish aristocracy in the Ukraine, taste, charm, refinement, and wilderness. They looked with contempt on my paintings depicting fishermen, plowmen, digging beets, since they were showing peasants. As a painter and man I liked those folks. My location was in rural areas, in the Ukraine, not in Paris.