Slovakia Genealogy Research Strategies

Home Strategy Place Names Churches Census History Culture
Toolbox Contents & Search Places Maps FHL Resources Military Correspondence

Art and Architecture Overview

Architecture Intro - A-J - K-R - R-Z Art Intro - A-LM-Z

Annotated Bibliography of Eastern European Folk Architecture

K-R

Danusha V. Goska, PhD

 

Kandell, Jonathan. 1994. "Bare Ruined Choirs: A Western Hunger for Gothic Madonnas and Renaissance Angels has Fueled the Sacking of Eastern European Churches -- and Limited Attempts to Save Them" The Los Angeles Times August 14 pp. 10+

Overview:

Eastern Europe is stripped bare of its easily accessible folk art treasures by bold and rapacious thieves serving wealthy patrons in the West, often Germany. Again, Eastern Europe is the helpless victim raped by amoral, powerful invaders. The article suggests no hope. If, however, crisis is a situational anagram for opportunity, Eastern Europeans could respond by learning to recreate their folk art, either over or under the table, and sell reproductions. This could lead to an , again, over or under the table renaissance in folk art skills and production.

Main Points:

The damage done to one tiny parish ... thieves' methods ... thieves might set a church on fire to gain access ... have left churches in ruins ... priest attributes it to the coming millennium; says there may be no art left by the time the forces of goodness can rise against thieves ... people need hard currency ... Czech republic has suffered the greatest losses; a hemorrhage ... many fewer thefts in communist days ... churches have no inventories, no photos or records of stolen items ... foreign art historians haven't seen the stuff; communists wouldn't allow them to travel ... communists allowed few priests to be trained; no one guards churches ... German and Austrian law do not forbid purchase of stolen foreign art objects ... stolen items are openly displayed in shop windows in Germany and Austria.

 

Kepes, Gyorgy. 1980. "Dignified Simplicity" The New Hungarian Quarterly Winter, 21:80, 13-17.

Overview:

Heartfelt salute to folk art, specifically Hungarian folk art, and discussion of its value for elite artists, by an elite artist. Illustrated with four photos of Hungarian textiles and painted ceramics (which, in their exuberance, hardly support the title of the article).

Main Points:

Author is a Hungarian painter ... folk art has transformed twentieth century art ... provides examples of "authentic expression, strength of the simple, familiar objects, rhythmic, melodic richness and chromatic freedom" ... it served to "replenish the waning strength and fading honesty of western culture" ... makes reference to Kandinsky, Gaugin, the Cubists, Bartok, Kodaly ... folk art revealed what we lack: an interconnected sense, the community of man and object ... Kandinsky mourned 'the total loss of a mutual relationship between art and society' ... an extensive quote from Bartok celebrating his time in the field, apart from "manufactured stereotyped trash" ... author protests he does not wish to "shrink the world nor to limit horizons" ... connection with the past is necessary ... in spite of poverty and humiliation, art expresses unshakable faith in life ... "these works, like nature, were anonymous" ... "adult civilized life is systematically cut up, scheduled and parceled out. We live by timetables and maps" ... William Morris demanded that joy be part of labor ... art is now separate ... John Ruskin: "It is the vainest of affectations to try to put beauty into shadows, while all real things that cast them are left in deformity and pain" ... Marcel Duchamp claimed that art is a genetic coding of life patterns, models of vision increasing the range of potential life experiences.

 

Kerechanyn, Vm. 1974. Handicraftsmen of Transcarpathia. Kiev: Mistetstvo.

Overview:

Small format introduction to Carpathian folk art, probably meant for tourists. Unusual in this bibliography for the number of photographs of people making things and people interacting with each other; the final photograph is of a grandmotherly woman passing something on to a young girl. Includes a photo of a kilim with a Lenin portrait. Ninety-one high quality photographs, majority black and white but a little less than half in color.

 

Keseru, Katalin. 1988. "The Workshops of Godollo: Transformations of a Morrisian Theme." Journal of Design History 1: 1-23.

Overview:

Richly detailed, if poorly organized, introduction to the workshops of Godollo, where, early in this century, Hungarian artists lived communally and supported the advancement of folk art. Twenty-three illustrations, including sketches and photographs, of the artists' work and of the artists' themselves.

Main Points:

In 1869, Hungary was seventy per cent peasant ... the second Reform generation was influenced by the ideas of Marx and Morris, although Morris was not translated into Hungarian ... education and art were seen as a means of elevating the people ... artists were to be saviors and intercessors ... peasants lived in semi-feudal conditions even after the end of serfdom ... organizations were formed throughout Eastern Europe and Scandinavia to preserve folk crafts ... Mor Galleri believed that by transforming home crafts into profit making ventures the peasantry could be rescued from moral and aesthetic problems ... by the turn of the century it became clear that this was not going to happen ... even so, supporting home industry became part of governmental policy ... the government gave some financial support to the founding of the artists' colony in Godollo, a village near Budapest ... Godollo artists hoped to inspire emigrants to return ... unlike the English artist-craftsmen and like the Scandinavians and other Eastern Europeans, the Godollo artists studied folk art ... produced a five volume work, The Art of the Hungarian People , a documentation of all folk arts ... they saw in folk art useful, aesthetically pleasing, and national qualities ... using them as inspiration, wanted to develop a national and universal style ... Kalotaszeg in Transylvania was an inspiration ... a hotbed of folk art because it was Protestant ... Protestantism laid the foundation for a vernacular culture and education in the 16th c. ... Bela Bartok's furniture was made there ... examples given of exploitation of folk art, e.g. graveposts as designs for carpets ... Hungarian folk architecture as inspiration for commissioned architecture ... Godollo group recognized the importance of mass production too late ... their crafts included pottery, woodwork, needlework, leatherwork; only weaving was practiced continuously ... a carpet factory employed up to fifty local girls ... motifs might come from myths, ballads, and legends ... practiced eurythmics; were vegetarian; wore peasant costume; honored nakedness.

 

Kiest, Karen S. "Czech Cemeteries in Nebraska from 1868: Cultural Imprints on the Prairie." pp. 77-105 in Meyer, ed.

Overview:

Introduction to cemeteries established and maintained by Free Thinking and Catholic immigrants to Nebraska from Czech lands. Sees distinctive landscaping and tombstone design in these cemeteries, reflective of the immigrants' response to the unbroken prairie, and expressive of their beliefs and culture, and the retention and evolution of same over time in the new country.

Main Points:

A death in My Antonia ... cemeteries are "frail" statements of aesthetics and culture against agribusiness, as they once were against unbroken prairie ... "practicality determines preservation" ... "endurance of the cemetery indicates its necessary though quiescent role within the community" ... Czechs have been a significant community since 1865 ... three phases of their cemeteries: pioneer, improvement, modern ... prairie states are unlike rest of country; no overlay of new settlement; population numbers have remained static ... Plains rapidly settled ... Homestead Act, settlement grids, railroads ... settlers from Germany, Scandinavian countries, and Czech lands ... 55% Freethinkers, descendants of Jan Hus ... rest, Catholic ... flowering of Czech culture ... development of exclusively Czech cemeteries ... early settlers died often ... a coffin made of a wagon box ... Freethinkers and Catholics developed separate cemeteries ... In Czech lands, settlements were circular or linear ... grid requirements disrupted patterns of settlement ... cemeteries on rises, along transportation routes, at periphery of towns; why ... graves faced east ... attempt to set cemetery off from prairie ... concrete borders, fences ... extensive plantings distinguish Czech cemeteries ... little stone; use of metal ... red cedars came to be "cemetery trees" ... "In the prairie landscape, which lacks a clear visual boundary, the interrelationship of the single grave and the cemetery form itself become quite important" ... popularity of slabs ... vandal proof ... (aha! Not just Ms. Halporn's subjects are vandalized!) ... cemetery serves as a community's "cultural memory" ... forces ending influx of new Czechs ... assimilation of old Czechs, esp. as seen in cemetery.

 

Kladyk, Pamela Ziemba. "Sadness as Motif in Certain Types of Polish Sculpture" pp. 99-109 in Pula, ed.

Overview:

Attempts to argue that "Sorrowful Christ" figures in modern Polish folk art can be traced back to pagan times. Uses a Tylorian survivals approach. I didn't feel that the author convincingly supported her very big assertions.

Main Points:

Sorrowful Jesus is a frequently encountered theme in Polish folk art ... Women mourners watching Jesus suffer are the most frequently encountered female version of suffering in Polish folk art ... also there are many pietas ... prototypes for sorrowful Jesus come from the Gothic period ... perhaps Sorrowful Jesus sculptures' roots can be found in pagan Slavic sculptures and ancient Greece sculptures? ... argues that sorrowful Jesus is frequently seen in Polish folk art because of its features in common with Polish folk life, for example, Jesus is portrayed sitting alone, and farmers often work alone ... ancient Slavic sculptures also were thought to have apotropaic qualities ... placement of sorrowful Jesus in natural settings is seen as similar to placement of pagan idols in sacred Slavic groves ... mourning women seen as descendants of thousand year old baba sculptures.

 

Kleeblatt, Norman L. 1984. The Jewish Heritage in American Folk Art New York: Universe Books.

Overview:

Museum catalogue for a unique show exploring Jewish-American folk art. Includes photos of all one hundred twenty eight items in the exhibition; most photographs small size and in black and white. Items pictured include paintings, tombstones, silhouettes, furniture, needlework, architectural accents, micrographic portraits, papercuts, quilts, ketubahs, and carvings on various surfaces, including scrimshaw.

Main Points:

Traces history of scholarly and popular interest in American folk art, and describes a parallel thread among Jews in America and Europe, e.g., the activities of S. An-Ski, collector active in Ukraine ... reviews American Jewish history in terms of folk art ... artworks discussed as cultural adaptations to traditional forms ... contests Life is with People, which claimed that Jewish art was primarily verbal, not material; draws strong umbrage when Jewish material culture is said to contain nothing to compare to the papercuts of lowly Poles.

 

Kolar, Walter. 1980. The Folk Arts of Hungary Pittsburgh: Duquesne University.

 

Komorovska, Marta. 1987. Pastierske Umenie Bratislava: Tatran.

Overview:

And again wow. Two hundred twenty-five photographs, many full page and in color, capture the very rich folk art of Slovak shepherds. Included are intricate wood carvings reflecting scenes of pastoral life, cheese molds, butter molds, walking sticks, axes, salt boxes, spoon holders, candle holders, coats, socks, vests, leather belts and bags, pipes, bells, whips with inlaid handles, carved horns, inlaid flutes, bagpipes. In Slovak with English summary.

Main Points:

Nomadic shepherds from the Balkans and Transylvania brought a new style of sheep breeding to Slovakia beginning in the thirteenth century ... shepherds' art has high aesthetic standards, and combines utilitarian and aesthetic functions ... motifs are most typically taken from nature and the shepherds' own lives and work.

 

Kovacevicova, Sona. 1956. The Slovak National Dress Through the Centuries Prague: Artia.

Overview:

It has been said of the Slovaks, by a historian of Slovaks in America, that they have no history. In a sense, this is true; they have, for the most part, been peasants or proletariat ruled by others. That being the case, this discussion of Slovak national dress becomes an interesting example of how social history is constructed. Romantic nationalist artists hit the countryside and did watercolors of colorful peasants; travelers of more civilized countries wrote in their diaries about the exotic others; the bleeding heart liberals of the day gathered data to incriminate oppressors. Thus this brief record of Slovak national costume was pieced together. The essay could have been improved with the provision of the dates of activity, origin, and profession of the prominent people it discusses; in these details, the essay is too vague. One hundred eighty-three reproductions, majority black and white, of illustrations of Slovak dress from the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries.

Main Points:

Oldest available historical sources reporting how Slovaks dressed are records describing taxes to be paid ... it can be surmised that the basic materials for clothing in the 13th century were cloth, fur, and linen ... archaeological discoveries suggest that prehistoric inhabitants wore a cloth wound round their bodies ... cloth, linen, leather, fur, bast and bark of trees were used ... expansion of sheepherding in the 14th to 16th centuries contributed to costume ... sheepskins and wool were used wherever sheepherding predominated ... panel paintings and frescoes of the 14th and 15th centuries show dress of that era ... a striking change in the 16th and 17th centuries was the introduction of the bodice and smock frock ... peasants were limited by laws stating they could wear only rough wool, homespun linen, and leather ... humanists in Hungary and Bohemia drew attention to these people by writing about them ... Jan Amos Komensky made woodcuts illustrating peasant life ... Matej Funtik Belius, a.k.a. Matej Bel, in the early 18th century, wrote a book describing peasant life; data on clothing included ... older clothing became undergarments, newer styles were worn on top ... better agriculture, increased industrialization, and the liberation of the serfs ... Juraj Fandli criticized mistreatment of Slovaks ... his book includes woodcuts of peasants in folk costume ... Slovakia had no economic center; goods were traded at markets and peddled house to house ... Slovaks earned extra income by making bobbin laces for sale to neighboring countries ... Slovaks had to travel for work, as peddlers, glaziers, agricultural workers; wore a cloak that served when sleeping out of doors and wide leather girdles as money belts ... Josef Caplovic wrote of peasant life ... some jobs lead to conservatism in costume, for example, poling rafts; others lead to adoption of new costume, e.g., serving in a manor house ... peasants usually were barefoot ... women would carry their shoes and don them only when arriving at a destination, as they might have only one pair in a lifetime ... Maximilian Racksay recorded, in pictures, peasant life in Orava ... proverb: "Go over a hill and find another costume" ... J. Sreznevski made descriptions and drawings of Slovak folk costume ... Josef Manes and Peter Bohun made drawings of folk costumes.

 

Kunczynska-Iracka, Anna. "The Role of Historical Tradition in Polish Folk Painting and Sculpture" pp. 765-781 in Cordwell, ed.

Overview:

Explores the forces that shaped hundreds of years worth of Our Lady of Czestochowas and The Man of Sorrows, the two most popular human figures in Polish folk art. Argues that Our Lady was made inaccessible, while Man of Sorrows was portrayed as one of the folk. Eleven black and white photographs.

Main Points:

Folk art in Poland is adopted from religious art, mostly Catholic, sometimes Orthodox ... contact between folk and official art was the guild tradition ... example of how a banal illustration can serve as inspiration for a fine piece of art ... why? ... two favorite themes in Polish folk art are man of sorrows and Our Lady of Czestochowa ... paintings for pilgrims flourished in Czestochowa since the 1500's ... after Our Lady was credited with driving back the Swedes, the image became patriotic as well as religious ... Paulines attempted to combat crude works with a painters' guild ... since art was "purchased almost exclusively by pilgrims of peasant origin, there was a considerable lowering of standards" (!) ... Mary was surrounded with trappings of wealth: "for the peasants, power meant inaccessibility and wealth" ... their versions were colorful, also associated with wealth ... Man of Sorrows common in church art at end of Middle Ages ... somewhat later placed in roadside chapels ... a surviving example in folk art dates from 1650 ... local workshops had distinctive versions ... unlike Our Lady of Czestochowa, this figure was approachable; intimacy gave this figure its emotional force ... after National Uprising crushed in 1864, Man of Sorrows was dressed as a soldier to commemorate rebels ... "these figures attained their full expressiveness only in folk art."

 

Lajer-Burcharth, Ewa. 1994. "Warsaw Diary: How the Collapse of Communism Affected Art in Poland" Art in America February, 82:84+.

Overview:

Several interesting insights into the forces at work on art in post-communist Poland, by a former Polish resident. Points are illustrated with descriptions and interpretations of recent art works and their reception.

Main Points:

Art scene has changed for the worse since the fall of communism, one critic says ... state patronage has disappeared ... economic chaos; different segments of economy westernize at different rates ... price of paintings in chaos ... intelligentsia suddenly has no money; nouveau riche have money but no desire for art ... artists are confused by new system based on cash rather than merit ... the "lack of interest in contemporary visual culture is new" ... Poland used to have vital art scene, including a large and committed audience ... Poland was the materially poor, spiritually and intellectually rich Soviet satellite ... Poles have no time, now must make money; western art, like movies, are easy to come by; Polish artists are used to a hermetic, conspiratorial life and relationship to their audience / engagement was seen as capitulation; artists are still groping with their new freedom and the freedom critics have to bash them ... press ignores art; economy is big news ... used to be two art weeklies; now, none ... extensive discussion of recent artworks.

 

Machann, Clinton. 1985. "'Uncle Pete' Drgac, Czech-American Folk Artist" pp. 172-177 in Abernathy, ed.

Overview:

Affectionate portrait of a small town Czech-American artist in oils. A psychological interpretation is suggested but not pursued; an unsupported claim is made to link him to Czech folk art. Eight reproductions of the artist's work, one in color.

Main Points:

Pete Drgac was born in Caldwell, Texas, in 1883 ... parents were immigrants ... operated a grocery store ... liked children; earned nickname 'Uncle Pete' ... began painting at 85 ... "He was a pure example of the 'naive' artist" ... no art lessons; didn't imitate anyone ... used bright enamels ... decorated household items with animals and geometric designs ... fanciful/surreal construction ... portraits including items belonging to sitter ... did not use perspective ... "a psychological critic would have a field day interpreting some of these paintings, which seem to have simply leapt out of Uncle Pete's unconscious" ... he worked rapidly ... completed several paintings a day, hundreds constitute his opus ... showed no concern for their perishability; gave them away.

 

Meyer, Richard E., ed. 1993. Ethnicity and the American Cemetery. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press.

 

Milnes, Gerry. 1994. "The Egg as Artwork: A Weirton Woman Eggs on an Ancient Craft "The Sunday Gazette Mail May 1; p. 1E.

Main Points:

Mary Waskevich, whose Rusyn parents immigrated from Czechoslovakia, makes pysanky ... eggs symbolize various things ... Russian Orthodox traditions surrounding Easter ... adopted geometric Ukrainian style and still does the more floral Rusyn style ... given fragility of eggs, old examples are rare, but were buried with people for religious reasons ... Mary teaches egg design to younger people through the West Virginia Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program.

 

Mladek, M. "Central European Influences in Frank Kupka"

 

(I found this citaiton in the Art-bibliographies Modern; it was incomplete. I have to wait for the material to arrive via inter-library loan before I can complete the citation).

 

Morse, Julie. 1995. "Decorated Eggs from around the World Are Cracking Into the Collectibles Market" Chicago Tribune March 19, p. 3.

Main Points:

Traditional techniques for decorating eggs and disposing of contents discussed in detail ... design of Lithuanian, Polish, Ukrainian, eggs compared ... Russian and Polish wood eggs ... costs ... how to guard against eggs exploding ... sources of eggs listed.

 

Mrlian, Rudolf. 1953. Slovak Folk Art. two volumes. Prague: Artia.

Overview:

Few locations offer the folklorist what Slovakia does. Enough folk songs that one collector, Stephen Blasko, can claim that Slovakia has the highest number of folk songs per capita of any country in the world; folk songs so unique that when ethnographers first hit the field, they didn't even know how to write them down. Embroidery assessed by many as, with its neighbors, Bohemia and Moravia, the best in the world. Peasants living under feudal conditions that persisted until this century. Industrialization arriving now, right before our eyes; I have seen women in full folk regalia unselfconsciously mingle with Western-style business suits. Slovaks have lived under some of the most notorious oppressors we know: Nazis, Hapsburgs, commissars, and, in spite of that, produced compellingly beautiful, unarguably folk, art. Okay, my fellow folklorists, so very dedicated to the art of the marginalized peasant, where are you? Where is the valuable ethnographic writing on Slovakia? Instead the researcher is confronted with writing like that found in this volume, valuable mostly as evidence of Stalinism's impact on scholarship. As such, it should be required reading. Six hundred fifty-four photographs of village settings, costumes, both being worn and in detail, ceramics, wood carvings, shepherds' paraphernalia, masks for Christmas plays, tombstones, beehives, gingerbread molds, painting, on wood, canvas, and glass. Some of the photographs are artistic, esp. of the wood carvings. Photos are majority black and white, with extensive captions.

Main Points:

Until 1918, Slovakia was semi-feudal ... folk art is evidence of Slovak fighting spirit ... "every popular work of art has some kind of collective meaning" ... "the real dialectical unity of content and form is created in the folk art" ... "folk art fulfills its social mission" ... "socialist art" finds its strongest support in folk art ... socialist artists "wish to speak in direct clear language to our working man" ... "our people" have "an inherent creative capability" which is proven by folk art ... "no amount of alighting (sic) and oppression on the part of his masters will ever kill in his soul the good and the beautiful, which, in the end, makes the man of him" ... "his portraiture was basically right, as it was true to life. The material here collected points to the social placing of our people in a class society. As we can follow the documents of our people's housing conditions, apparel, occupations and way of life in general in the past, we acquire undiluted mental picture of their development and of their overcoming, through that development, of all the obstacles thrown into their way by the class divided society during feudalism and capitalism" ... "This must fill us with admiration and love for the working people of all nations of the world" ... "the rich peasants always wished to exalt themselves and differ from the others by doing it" ... "capitalism thwarts talent" ... "None other than the socialist social system can free all the creative forces of the working people, wherefore only in socialism a multitude of artistic talent can spring up, as it does in the Soviet Union" ... "there is no room for any l'art pour l'art" ... "the housing accommodation offered to our working man in town and village now is more comfortable, healthier and better in every respect" ... "how can one escape one's misery and want, one's low social condition? They always conceived this interest in connection with life in this world of realities, not in the other unknown world."

 

Nosal'ova, Viera. 1983. Slovensky L'udovy Odev. Martin: Vydalo Vydavatel'stvo.

Overview:

Thorough pictorial introduction to Slovak folk costume, region by region. Costumes are shown being worn in archival photos in black and white, and in modern color photos. Detailed photos focus on costume elements such as cuffs, lace, embroidery, caps, etc. Color drawings illustrate costumes laid out flat. Photos and drawings are very clear and often artistically composed. Even for the non-speaker of Slovak, a valuable introduction to Slovak folk costume. In Slovak with English summary. Two hundred eighteen pages; several illustrations on almost every page.

Main Points:

Folk costume is one of the most remarkable elements of Slovak folk culture ... valuable scholarly material is lacking ... first work began in earnest after WWII, just as folk costume was dying out ... regional division based on counties created beginning in the tenth century ... borderlines of counties, costumes, and dialects almost identical ... as administrative units, abolished on December 31, 1922, but remain in people's consciousness ... children's costumes omitted ... "the socialist society continues in preserving the sound national traditions, exploiting the rich treasury of our folk culture."

 

Oliver, Merrill, ed. 1986. Goddesses and Their Offspring Binghamton, New York: Roberson Center for the Arts and Sciences.

Overview:

This collection of articles by various folklorists was the catalogue for a museum show. Wins, in the context of this bibliography, the "Makes the Most Outlandish Claims with the Least Support" award. Are women of Slavic decent in the Northeast of the US carrying on elements of ancient pagan goddess worship through their embroideries? Well, my Slovak mother taught me to embroider; we lived in a pretty small house; if she were secretly worshipping the Venus of Willendorf, and imbuing goddess worship in me with each cross stitch and French knot, I think I'd know about it. But I don't, and this book provides me with scant data to support any such claims. Seventy-seven pages, with many photos on almost every page, majority black and white, of embroideries, contemporary Slavic-American embroiderers in the Northeast of the US, and a smattering of archival photos.

Main Points:

Review of New Immigration ... goddess motifs prevailed in nineteenth century embroideries from Eastern Europe, but are absent from embroideries done in America ... these goddesses were "the relic of a former system of belief in a Great Goddess" ... nowadays can only be found in abstract form ... embroideries vary by region ... uses may be private-sacred, private secular, public-sacred, public-secular ... female forms in embroideries are really goddesses ... worship of female goddess survives in various forms, including "worship of the feminine in Russian literature" ... the female in men's art is destructive; this is a survival of suppression of the goddess by patriarchal groups ... embroideries are related to Neolithic sculptures ... some motifs are so abstract that only the trained eye can see the goddess ... women are related to souls, since soul is feminine in Ukrainian ... what Jung might say ... rushnyky ... "The sacred rights in which rushnyky were used have survived through customs which the people do not clearly understand. They adhere to them fervently, nevertheless, for tradition's sake" ... over 120 different stitches used ... motifs on rushnyky include the goddess ... the collecting work of Natalia Shabelsky; her friendship with V.V. Stasov ... their exhibitions.

 

Orel, Jaroslav. 1979. "Methods of Research and Documentation of Popular Art In Czechoslovakia." pp. 735-744 in Cordwell, ed.

Overview:

Not much new here; I'd give it a pass. Two black and white photos.

Main Points:

Discussion of popular arts as "the continual work of generations and of the genius of the people in every nation" ... encouraged by law in Czechoslovakia ... Leos Janacek proscribed no overestimation, no underestimation, knowledge -- of popular arts ... popular arts listed; types of investigation listed.

 

Ostapchuk, Emily. 1957. Folk Art of Carpatho-Ukraine Toronto: Phillip Ostapchuk.

Overview:

Contains some interesting verbal snapshots of what was going on in Rus-Carpathian folk art on the ground in the 1950's: what towns had switched from folk costume to purely urban dress; what families were doing well with wood carving; at what fares you could get the best pottery. Theoretically, sentimental, nationalistic, and elitist. For example, the Carpathians are described as the "most picturesque mountains in the whole of Central Europe." Colorful pottery is denounced as pseudo-folk because it has foreign buyers; "primitive" pottery without decoration is deemed truly folk; also, folk art today is seen as survivals of the Neolithic. Over one hundred photographs, about ninety per cent in black and white, the rest tinted, of costumes, wood carving, utensils, metalwork, eggs, decorated breads, churches, ceramics. Photos are not as high quality as they are in some of the other books in this bibliography which record similar materials.

Main Points:

Introduction to geography, population statistics, industry, history, which is "an example of the admirable fortitude of the autochthonic population" ... Magyarization campaigns ... argument for calling this area Ukraine ... unique folk art of the Carpathians explained away as Ukrainian art gone awry ... Hutsul folk art uses much wood as they live in forests ... religious motifs ... items are conservative and yet vary ... Yuriy Mykhalchuk, an exceptional carver ... burning in designs ... Hutsul axes, their design and ritual use ... The Shkryblyakivs, an exceptional carving family (can we lobby the UN to airdrop some vowels on these people?) ... their individual designs came to be collective ... methods and motifs traced back in time; are they Ukrainian? Folk? Yes. ... wooden churches and their construction ... church interiors are deemed not folk art ... homes usually display pottery on shelves ... Kapusyana pottery denounced as "pseudo-folk" pottery, because it appeals to American buyers ... true folk pottery has a "primitive style" ... sees survivals of Neolithic thinking in folk pottery ... survivals seen from Bronze Age, evidence not of direct transfer, but of a "common artistic psychology" ... 1,000 years isn't that long in village terms ... remarkable potters discussed ... costume as "spiritual" protest of ethnicity in the face of "foreign elements" ... described in detail ... how hair is worn and adorned ... in larger towns, folk costume no longer worn ... weaving and embroidery ... type of embroidery (color, stitch, motif) popular in each region ... lozenge very popular ... though locals may call their patterns "sheep's horn" or "ears of corn," etc., it is purely geometric ... variations on the lozenge ... by rounding out lozenges, a figure implying infinity is created ... similarities seen with Caucasian carpets ... "national tradition is now dying quickly ... history has no real love for beauty."

 

Paine, Sheila. 1995. Embroidered Textiles: Traditional Patterns from Five Continents. London: Thames and Hudson.

Overview:

Lavishly illustrated, informative, and fun general introduction to embroidery from around the world. Data is not as well footnoted as it would be in a scholarly work. Disproportionately high number of examples from Czechoslovakia in particular and Eastern Europe in general. One hundred seventy-one crisp, high quality, color photographs, and many black and white photographs and line drawings.

Main Points:

Embroidery is not trivial, but has great ritual significance ... examples given of ritual uses of embroidery from around the world ... a guide to identification of embroideries from around the world ... Eastern Europe: linen and wool ... immense diversity ... blouses may be dinaric or pannonian ... patterns on wool more archaic than those on linen ... typical motifs in Hungarian embroidery ... "glory" is work on sheepskin and frieze ... Czechoslovak features: bobbin lace, broderie anglaise, ribbons, whitework, Pannonian cut blouses ... evidence of goddess worship in embroidery ... typical postures and accompanying symbols of goddesses in embroidery ... tree of life symbolism in embroidery ... the hunt ... horns ... birds ... the sun ... the great world religions and how they feature in embroidery ... Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Christianity ... embroidery's apotropaic functions ... Ghiliak superstitions about embroidery -- that embroiderers can ensnare souls, that watching a woman embroider causes disorientation, reflect magical power embroidery was assumed to have around the world ... parts of the body that have received special protection from embroidery, esp. sexual parts and the head ... magical properties of various materials, such as cowries and coins ... red's power ... magical power of certain embroideries, such as birthing curtains in Czechoslovakia, which may have protected mother from the "twenty or thirty" other people who might live in the same room with her ... embroideries for magical spots, such as mirrors or thresholds; mezuzahs might be hung in an embroidered case ... underlying belief systems that supported embroidery are disappearing, and, so, traditional embroidery is, too.

 

Perlez, Jane. 1994. "The Looting of East Europe's Art" International Herald Tribune April 16.

Main Points:

"With the opening of Eastern Europe's borders, its little visited museums and poorly guarded churches are being stripped of paintings, manuscripts, and religious objects by thieves" ... 200 items stolen from Jewish Museum in Budapest are so rare and recognizable they could not be openly sold ... happening on top of Nazi and Soviet plundering of region, just as newly freed nations struggle to assert their identities ... "'hemorrhaging their heritage' says Constance Lowenthal, thanks to open borders, poverty, and unscrupulous Westerners ... each year since 1989, 20,000 valuable art objects have left Czechoslovakia and gone to Germany ... Jewish Museum theft described ... Germans like Baroque wooden St. John of Nepomuks, a Czech saint; will pay as high as $100,000 ... 'a catastrophe liquidating our national identity' says a Czech art historian ... even graveyards are robbed ... typical thief described.

 

Pickens, Nora. 1990. "Beribboned Glimpses of Village Life" El Palacio 95:40-5.

Overview:

A museum curator's diary-like musings about the Czechoslovak folk costumes she handled for the "Village Clothing of Czechoslovakia" show at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico in spring of 1991. Strangely uninformed; for example, she reports that she is surprised to see Czechoslovaks on TV during the Velvet Revolution are not dressed in folk costume. The four pages of color, full page photographs are the best seen in preparation of this bibliography. The color is rich and true, the fabrics are crisp and yet not clinical. Strangely, though no body inhabits them, they do not have the ghostly look laid out fabrics have in other photos described here.

 

Pietkiewicz, Kazimierz. 1966. Polish Folk Art. Warsaw: Polonia Publishing House

Overview:

Small format guide, probably meant for tourists, to Polish folk art. Each folk art taken in turn. The author describes how long the art in question has existed in Poland, where it is made now, and who makes the best examples. Regions, workshops, or actual individuals are named. Photographs are probably too small for further use.

 

Piroch, Sigrid. 1988. "Slovak Folk Art: Indigo Blue Printing." Ars Textrina July: 63-124.

Overview:

Main Points:

 

Piroch, Sigrid. 1990. "Textiles of Slovakia" Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot 21: 38-44.

Overview:

Applied technology. Six pages of photographs and instructions on how to replicate Slovak folk weaving.

 

Pisutova, I. 1978. "Slovak Folk Art" Art and Artists 13:36-39.

Overview:

Very general introduction. Lacks specific examples.

Main Points:

Turkish, Polish, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Moravian art all influence Slovak folk art ... influence of Haban ceramics ... the folk art of viniculture ... central Slovakia probably has the most folk art ... pervasive use of wood ... miners made important nativity scenes; their wives made bobbin lace for cash ... Janosik ... apiculture and beehive art.

 

Pisutova, I. 1978. "Slovak Folk Paintings on Glass" Art and Artists 13:52-53.

Overview:

General introduction; contains some of the kind of excellent examples which the above piece by this same author lacked.

Main Points:

Have many themes and functions in common with wood sculpture ... "sincere, naive" ... Janosik paintings are inspired by graphic sheets from the 18th century ... typical theme is a new member being accepted into Janosik's band; he is leaping on a barrel with a carbine in his hand ... initiation for new outlaws involved his proving that he could leap on a barrel, shoot the top branch off of a tree, and drink from a flask of brandy, simultaneously ... domestic cult corners and glass paintings' role there ... religious paintings might be souvenirs of places visited on pilgrimage ... Slovak glass paintings are typified by simplification and a limited palette of pink, blue, yellow, green, and some brown and gold ... became widespread in counter reformation ... peddlers carried them ... production sites listed.

 

Pula, James S. and M.B. Biskupi, eds. 1993. Heart of the Nation. New York: Columbia University Press.

 

Raloff, Janet. 1996. "A Salty Heritage: Licking the Problem of Poland's Melting Treasures" Science News April 27 149:264+.

Overview:

Popular science report on a system invented to protect sculptures at the Wieliczka salt mine in Poland. Refers to sculptures but does not describe them in detail; focusing, rather, on the science of preservation.

Main Points:

Salt mines provided Poles with income for six centuries before refrigeration knocked down the value of salt as a food preservative ... 25% of king's income once came from salt ... was once as costly as gold, per pound ... In the 16th and 17th centuries, ten per cent of miners died each year ... workers and even outside artists have been carving the salt into sculpture for centuries; sculptures include entire rooms carved out of salt, statues with religious, mythological, and folklore subjects, chapels, chandeliers, etc. ... Wieliczka was among the first eight entries on the United Nations inventory of endangered world cultural heritage sites ... during a conference on pollution in Poland, an American park service archaeologist visited the mine and was impressed enough to start a rescue effort ... Poles were convinced air pollution from nearby Nowa Huta was the culprit responsible for destroying carvings; Americans suspected moisture; after long investigation, it was found that both were responsible, and a new system was developed to handle both ... $100,000 expenditure ... worth it because this new system may be applied elsewhere, such as tombs and churches.

 

Robinson, Ruth. 1993. "When a Careful Hand with Eggs Yields Intricate Folk-Art Designs" The New York Times April 4.

Main Points:

Dorothy Discko of Darien makes pysanky ... uses waxing and dying method ... has passed this on to others ... varying designs based on regions ... what motifs symbolize ... previously, vegetable dyes; today, analine dyes ... now electric styluses are used to apply beeswax ... protective coating of polyurethane can be added ... Jane Pollak uses designs from quilting to decorate eggs; others now follow her example ... her paisley designs are her most poplar ... she uses brown eggs for an antique look ... Mrs. Discko uses white for young people, black for older ones ... she does not blow out egg contents, as they represent life; her eggs must be protected lest they explode ... Joseph Roll does blow out contents ... uses goose as well as chicken eggs ... Roll combines traditional and non-traditional motifs ... his special Lenten eggs are described ... Jane Pollak makes barrettes of ostrich eggs.

 

Ronnen, Meir. 1990. "Rare Remnants of Prague" The Jerusalem Post May 11.

Overview:

Discussion of an Israel Museum show of over 250 items of Jewish heritage from the Czech State collections. Reviews Nazi creation of Jewish museum in occupied Czechoslovakia.

Main Points:

Jews lived in Bohemia and Moravia for over one thousand years, including Rabbi Judah Loew ben Bezalel, Franz Kafka, Gustav Mahler, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein ... the first Hebrew press was established in Prague in 1512 ... Salomon Hugo Lieben established a Prague Jewish museum in 1906 ... Nazis sent the Jews of Prague to Therensienstadt ... Eichmann set up Central Office for Jewish Emigration and Juedisches Zentral Museum ... confiscated articles of murdered Jews were catalogued by former internees of Therensienstadt ... objects included ritual objects, Jewish books, antique furniture, musical instruments, household utensils ... 140,000 items ... wooden hand carved ritual objects from Therensienstadt will be shown ... SS officers attended exhibitions during the war; curators would be sent to death in camps before shows ... remnants of Jewish community inherited museum; too small; state took over in 1950 ... ancient Jewish cemetery of Prague also has ethnographic data ... earliest tombstone from 1439 ... Maharal is buried there ... burial societies and their banquets; their special cups will be shown ... fifteen serial paintings from 1780 depict burial ... influence of Christian folk art ... other remarkable items in show described.

 

Ronnen, Meir. 1994. "Israel: Hanukkah Lamps, Lions, and a Soldier." ARTnews Summer 93:192.

Overview and Main Points:

Brief and favorable review of an Israel Museum exhibition of items collected by S. Ansky, a.k.a. Shlomo Rapoport, in an expedition to the shtetls of the Ukraine in 1912. (I always wanted to use exhibition and expedition in the same sentence). Ansky and two musicologists, an ethnographer, and several students spent two years collecting narratives, tunes, rubbings, amulets, Hanukkah lamps, jewelry, paintings, clothing, instruments and photographed villages, synagogues, and human subjects. The show of these items was supplemented by similar items from the museum's own collection.

 

Copyright 2004, Danusha V. Goska

Email: calamitygene [at] hotmail [dot] com

 Links to off-site webs will open in a new window.  Please disable your pop-up stopper. 

Last Update: 27 April 2013                                                    Copyright 2003-2013, Bill Tarkulich