Harapko Ivan background picture
Harapko Ivan

Harapko Ivan

(1909 – 2002)

Sculptor, pedagogue, laureate of the Regional Prize named after Y. Bokshai and A. Erdeli.

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The name of a prominent sculptor and pedagogue I. Harapko is in the list of the outstanding personalities of Transcarpathia, who made a significant contribution to the artistic chronicle of the region. Together with his colleague and associate V. Svyda, he was the pioneer of professional plastics in the territory of his native land.

Ivan Harapko was born in 1909 in Zavydovo village in Mukachevo district. Since his childhood, he was in love with a tree, as a material of artistic processing, he dreamed of becoming a woodcarver. The desire to create led him to the school of wood art in the village of Yasinia, where a talented and enthusiastic young man learned the basics of professional writing under the benevolent and attentive mentoring of the famous Czech artists A. Elena and V. Fulik. A gifted student immediately attracted the attention of the teachers, who promised him brilliant prospects and advised him to continue his studies at the Prague Higher School of Art and Industry at the Faculty of Sculpture. I. Harapko listened to their advice and successfully graduated from this educational institution, where he received thorough knowledge of drawing, painting, sculpture, and composition. The owner of the diploma of academic sculpture, he received a referral for further studies in Paris. However, it was prevented by the World War II, Paris remained a pipe dream. In 1939, the artist came back home and he had never regretted about it, his work on the native land was useful, fruitful, and effective.

For some time he had to forget about the art, because the war was already approaching. He had to defend his motherland in the ranks of volunteers. And only after 1945 the sculptor was actively involved into the artistic life, as if trying to make up for the years stolen by the war. From the very beginning the artist worked with different materials and techniques - wood, ceramics, clay, gypsum, and stone. His art is distinguished by the breadth of genre interests - lively and unbiased scenes from the life of Transcarpathians, weighty and significant historical events, acute psychological portraits, expressive monuments, and decorative park sculptures.

I. Harapko, even in his early works of art, demonstrated consistent and well-established fidelity to the realistic image method and kept his dedication to his creative programme and worldview preferences until the last days. The author used the language of expressive, convincing in his artistic truth, clear, and intelligible plastic images both in his numerous chamber, small in size easel sculptural compositions, and in significant by design and his artistic implementation of monumental works. The sculptor's artistic works are invariably distinguished by the professionalism of the performance, they are devoid of the slightest deformations and deliberate, unjustified effects of plastic forms, they are genuine, understandable and objective by the artistic appeals to the viewer.

Petro Hodanych, the contemporary of Ivan Harapko, recalls in his autobiography: "In wartime, Ivan was the only professional sculptor in Uzhhorod. At the time of Czechoslovakia, he specialized in the figures of girls and boys for fountains. And once in the middle of the night, military people asked to restore the hand of the leader – Comrade Lenin. When transported, it was crashed and all that was left was a stump in the form of a metal rod. Next day, 7 November, was the day of the revolution and monument opening. A hundred kilometres to the district centre. A dark night, raining hard, no electricity, and the monument of the armless leader covered with military tarpaulin. The secretary of the district committee, the police chief, the military, everybody was to help the sculptor. They got a month’s supply of gypsum from the district hospital.

Ivan asked to remove the tarpaulin from the amputated stump and got to work. For the accuracy of the image, it was given the illustrations of Lenin on the armoured car. The leader firmly clamped his cap in his hand. Ivan decided to put the cap in his hand as well. In the light of the Studebakers, the work was completed on time, the tarpaulin was lowered down to the pedestal. They shared a bottle of cognac in the district committee and went to the meeting. The rain stopped. There were columns of people with portraits of the leader, red flags, revolutionary speeches, the authorities together with Ivan - on the rostrum. The workers wanted to see the statue of the leader. The secretary of the district committee and the head of the conscription office pulled out the cover. The honour guard shot the carbines three times. Comrade Lenin with the cap in his hand showed the direction to the hopeful future. Happy people should have shouted "Hurray!", and instead the deathly silence. The same cap on the leader’s head! The career of the sculptor ended unexpectedly for Ivan, he set all his hopes on his students."

I. Harapko successfully combined creative work with teaching. From 1946 to 1958 (in the difficult post-war period of the formation of the educational institution) he was the director of the College of Applied Art, later the lecturer (before retiring in 1974), who educated a whole pleiad of young talented sculptors. Transcarpathia is thankful to Ivan Harapko for his significant contribution to the development of the art of sculpture of the region.

The sculptor’s works participated in regional, republican, and all-Union exhibitions, the author's monumental works decorate the squares, streets, and walls of buildings in a number of Transcarpathian cities and villages untill nowadays.

Portfolio of works

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Книги, каталоги, альбоми

Персональна виставка творів Івана Гарапка, присвячена 70-річчю з дня народження / Вступ. сл. О. Чернега-Балла. – Ужгород, 1979. – 16 с.

Статті в книгах та збірниках

XVI обласна виставка творів художників Закарпаття, присвячена 100-річчю від дня народження В. І. Леніна та 25-річчю визволення Закарпаття від фашистських загарбників: Каталог / Укл. С. Й. Мальчицький, Ю. Ю. Сташко. – Ужгород, 1969. – 54 с.

Гарапко Іван Іванович // 10 обласна виставка скульптури, присвячена ХХVІІ з’їзду КПРС: Каталог виставки / Відпов. за вип. І. Івашко; вступ. сл. М. Белень. – Ужгород, 1985. – С. 13-14.

Виставка творів художників Закарпаття 1946-1986 : Каталог / Відпов. за випп.  Ю.В. Скакандій. – Ужгород: Міська друкарня, 1988.

Хланта О. Освітянтн, художник, громадянський діяч // Календар Просвіти на 1999 р. – Ужгород. – С. 31.

Алмашій М. Гарапко Іван Іванович // Енциклопедія Закарпаття: Визначні особи ХХ століття. – Ужгород: Ґражда, 2007. – С. 87-88.с

Статті в газетах і журналах

Балла П. Повертаючись до старих часів // Новини Закарпаття. – 1995. – 18 березня. – С. 15.

Публікації в Інтернет-ЗМІ

Гарапко Іван Іванович // Вікіпедія – 24 січн. – 2016. - https://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/Гарапко_Іван_Іванович

Літераті Т. Виповнилося 100 років від дня народження скульптора Івана Гарапка // Закарпаття онлайн – 7 жовтн. – 2009. - http://zakarpattya.net.ua/News/48959-Vypovnylosia-100-rokiv-vid-dnia-narodzhennia-skulptora-Ivana-Harapka


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  • Biography
  • Portfolio of works
  • Photo archive
  • Video archive
  • Bibliography