Jacques Hnizdovsky
Jacques Hnizdovsky carving the woodblock "Two Rams" in his studio in New York, 1969
Jakiw Hnizdowskyj

January 27, 1915 (1915-01-27)
Pylypcze, Chortkiv Raion, Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine
DiedNovember 8, 1985 (1985-11-09) (aged 70)
New York, USA
Known forpainting, printmaking, watercolor, ceramics, graphic design, bookplate design, book illustration, book cover design, lettering design
Notable work
www.hnizdovsky.com www.jacqueshnizdovsky.com
Movementstylized realism

Jacques Hnizdovsky (Ukrainian: Яків Гніздовський, Polish: Jakub Gniazdowski, Croatian: Jakiv Hnizdovskij), (1915–1985) was a Ukrainian-American painter, printmaker, graphic designer, illustrator and sculptor.


Jacques Hnizdovsky was born on January 27, 1915 in Ukraine in what is now Chortkiv Raion of Ternopil Oblast to a noble family bearing the Korab coat of arms. He was the youngest of seven children and the only member of his family that was able to emigrate to the west.

He began his fine arts studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Germany's invasion of Poland and bombardment of Warsaw forced Jacques to flee Warsaw and continue his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He was classically trained and had a great interest in portraiture, but Hnizdovsky was entirely self-taught in the art of printmaking.

Hnizdovsky created hundreds of paintings, pen and ink drawings and watercolors, as well as over 377 woodcuts, etchings and linocuts after his move to the United States in 1949. He was greatly inspired by woodblock printing in Japan as well as the woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer. Influences on his early works can be seen on his website.[1]

Hnizdovsky printed all his woodcuts and linocuts himself at his home studio. Woodcuts and linocuts were printed on washi, which is erroneously translated as "rice paper"[2]

Hnizdovsky's prints frequently depict flora and fauna, and there are several reasons for him largely shifting his focus from the human form. His first few years in the United States were marred by financial difficulties, language difficulties and a creative crisis. But what at first were merely substitutes for the human form. later became his most cherished subjects. He was well known in all the botanical and zoological gardens in New York, where he would find subjects willing to pose at no cost. At the Bronx Zoo, he found many models that were willing to pose "for peanuts". Andy, the orangutan, who opened the Ape House of the Bronx Zoo when he was just a baby, was one of Hnizdovsky's favorite models.[3] When Andy died, the Bronx Zoo immediately purchased the Hnizdovsky woodcut in remembrance of Andy. Another favorite Bronx Zoo model was the sheep. Hnizdovsky's The Sheep would become his best known print, illustrating the poster for his very successful exhibition at the Lumley Cazalet Gallery in London. This poster, incidentally, can be seen in the kitchen scene of the film The Hours.

Hnizdovsky has exhibited widely and his works are in the permanent collections of many museums worldwide. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a large collection of his prints, as does the University of Mount Olive in North Carolina, which presumably has the largest collection of Hnizdovsky prints worldwide.

Hnizdovsky designed numerous book covers and illustrated many books. He also designed several stamps and a souvenir sheet for the Ukrainian Plast postal service (issued in 1954 and 1961).

Jacques Hnizdovsky died on November 8, 1985 in Bronxville, New York, and is buried at the Lychakivskiy Cemetery in Lviv, Ukraine. His archives are housed at the Slavic and Baltic Division of the New York Public Library.[4]

Books illustrating the work of Jacques Hnizdovsky

Shows all prints created during the artist's lifetime, a catalogue raisonné, profusely illustrated with images.
Shows prints created between 1944-1975, a catalogue raisonné, profusely illustrated with images.
Shows 54 Ex Libris designs that the artist created for family, collectors, museums and libraries.


Hnizdovsky carving an ex libris (bookplate)
Hnizdovsky carving an ex libris (bookplate)

A partial list of books illustrated by Jacques Hnizdovsky.[5]

Public collections

Among the public collections holding works by Jacques Hnizdovsky are:[6]

Name Location
Addison Gallery of American Art Andover, Massachusetts
Borshchiv Regional Museum, Borshchiv, Ukraine
Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, British Columbia
Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
Chrysler Museum Norfolk, Virginia
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
Davison Art Center at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut
Duke University Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina
Dulin Gallery of Art, Knoxville, TN
Hunts Institute for Botanical Documentation Pittsburgh PA
Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington Seattle WA
Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Laurel MS
Library of Congress Washington DC
Louisiana Arts and Science Center Baton Rouge LA
Louisiana State Museum New Orleans LA
Minneapolis Institute of Arts Minneapolis MN
Mississippi Museum of Art Jackson MS
Museum of Fine Arts Boston MA
National Collection of Fine Arts Washington DC
National Museum of Lviv Lviv, Ukraine
National Museum of Ukrainian Fine Arts Kyiv, Ukraine
New Orleans Museum of Art New Orleans LA
New York Public Library New York NY
Philadelphia Museum of Art Philadelphia PA
Temopil Regional Museum Ternopil, Ukraine
Tweed Museum of Art University of Minnesota Duluth MN
Ukrainian Canadian Art Foundation Toronto, ON
Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art Chicago IL
The Ukrainian Museum New York NY
The Ukrainian Museum-Archives Cleveland, OH
University of Delaware Newark DE
University of Minnesota Minneapolis MN
University of Mount Olive Mount Olive NC
United States Information Agency Washington DC
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Richmond VA
The White House Washington DC
Winnipeg Art Gallery Winnipeg MB
Yale University New Haven CT


One-Man Shows


Traveling One-Man Shows

Group exhibitions


  1. ^ Reflections of an Artist Archived 2014-09-13 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ In fact, rice paper is made from paper mulberry, also known as broussonetia papyrifera. Please see the following link Archived 2008-09-15 at the Wayback Machine for more information on the production of this beautiful handmade paper, which is likened to raw silk because of its texture and the tiny specks of raw plant fibers embedded in the paper.
  3. ^ Andy the orangutan
  4. ^ Slavic and Baltic Division, NYPL
  5. ^ For a full list of American and Ukrainian books illustrated by Jacques Hnizdovsky, please contact the Slavic and Baltic Division of the New York Public Library, which houses the entire collection.
  6. ^ Jacques Hnizdovsky Яків Гніздовський published by the Ukrainian Museum on the occasion of the exhibition Jacques Hnizdovsky 1915-1985, Retrospective Exhibition December 10, 1995 - March 3, 1996
  7. ^ Jacques Hnizdovsky Яків Гніздовський published by the Ukrainian Museum on the occasion of the exhibition Jacques Hnizdovsky 1915-1985, Retrospective Exhibition December 10, 1995 - March 3, 1996

Further reading

Published by The Ukrainian Museum on the occasion of the exhibition Jacques Hnizdovsky 1915-1985: Retrospective Exhibition, organized by The Ukrainian Museum, New York. Profusely illustrated bilingual exhibition catalogue containing 23 pages of biographical text, showing examples of paintings, woodcuts, linocuts, etchings and ceramics by the artist.