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Legendary stories about Gabriel Gluck



Legendary stories about Gabriel Gluck

The artist 's destiny was thorny but interesting

Gabriel Gluck is one of the most under-appreciated artists of Transcarpathia. Saying in modern language, he was not as “media talked-up” as numerous of his colleagues in his time. But it was Gluck who was one of those artists who helped to form the art glory of our land. He should be surely recognized in the same light as Bokshai, Erdeli and Manailo.

Gabriel Gluck is a very interesting figure with a unique life story. Here are 19 facts that prove it and which will be interesting to lots of people.

  1. In fact, the artist’s name is not Havrylo but Gabriel. As his grandson Oleksandr Aleksandrov said, his grandfather’s name was Gabriel (you must agree there wasn’t such a name as Havrylo on the territory of today’s Romania?). But when the artist moved to the USSR, a passport officer who gave him a new document either did not hear or just decided to give him the name Havrylo (there was no Gabriel in the USSR) – now it isn’t possible to find it out. It was pretty much the norm at that time. So the artist had to get used to his new name.

  2. Before moving to Uzhhorod, “Gabi-bachi” managed to live in three capitals – Budapest, Bucharest and Chisinau. Moreover, he was born in Transylvania which is non-existent now.

  3. Gabriel is the only Transcarpathian (or even Ukrainian) artist whose works were influenced by the classics of Hungarian art Istvan Seini and Istvan Reiti, and Romanian - Ion Andreescu and Nicolae Grigorescu.

  4. When a child, the artist never answered the questions at the board. The fact is that his parents were so poor that they could not pay for the son's education. He was allowed going to school but without money, his knowledge was not checked.

  5. Like his father, Gabriel Gluck was a “cabinetmaker” studying in Budapest.

  6. The artist worked as a reporter for a sports newspaper and also in an advertising firm in Bucharest (a wood sculptor and decorator). He painted posters for films by hand.

  7. In 1933, Gluck became a soldier of the Romanian Army. He took care of horses in Sibiu. Interestingly, he got there in a twist of bad luck. When a student in Budapest, one day he received a mobilization notice and came to the indicated place. There were about a thousand boys there. When an officer of the Romanian army came, it turned out that he needed only 1 soldier. So he pointed at Gluck and said: “He’ll come with me and all the rest are dismissed.”

  8. The artist had to serve in the army twice. Thus, in 1941, when he was in Chisinau, the Soviet authorities called him up for military service. They didn’t trust him with the weapon, because he was considered “a repatriate” and “unreliable”. So, for four years the artist was digging the trenches near the Dnieper, in Rostov, Elista, Volgograd (Stalingrad), where he frostbit his feet. When he got to the hospital, he painted military men there. Incidentally, the locals badly treated the future artist wherever he worked. It was because he had a European appearance, spoke little Russian and was considered to be a "German". Gabriel Gluck did not get rid of the accent until his death.

  9. After the war, Gabriel Gluck got to Transcarpathia, namely to Uzhhorod, thanks to the accidental acquaintance. In Chisinau, he met one man and they got to talking. That man told him that he had come from Uzhhorod and surname Gluck was already familiar with him – he knew a man whose name was Willi. It turned out that this was the artist's brother and Gluck went to look for him. Thus, he remained in Uzhhorod.

  10. In Uzhhorod, Gabriel Gluck lived in the very town centre, but he was rather poor. At first, he was living in a municipal apartment on Zhupanatska Street, opposite the Art Museum. The apartment had one bathroom and one kitchen for three families. The artist's daughter slept on a bed made from two boxes.

  11. From 1949 to 1983, the artist's family was living in a private house, located at 42 Pidhirna street, which was the artist’s studio at the same time. However, G. Gluck insisted to share the living space with somebody else because he thought that it was too much for his family. A lieutenant colonel of the KGB became his neighbour. It’s possible that the latter was moved in to control the artist. 

  12. The artist was extremely fond of driving a car. According to some sources, Gluck used to drive his old car until the last. When it became possible to get a new one, he chose not fashionable “Volga”, although he was offered, but the cheapest “Zhyhuli” of bright green colour. But before that, the artist had GAZ, which was called “American Willys” at that time, although it was assembled in the Soviet Union. When the car appeared on the street, everyone in Uzhhorod knew that it was Gluck because Willys was the only car there at that time. In his jeep, the artist drove to the mountains to paint, but over time, he sold the car somewhere in the East of Russia.

  13. The works of Gabriel Gluck were exhibited in Russia, Poland, Mexico, Italy, Finland, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, France, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, and the USA. However, the artist couldn’t travel for a long time due to the “Iron Curtain”. As writer Feliks Kryvin said, instead of him, his works were travelling all over the world. G. Gluck never knew where his works were. As the grandson of the artist O. Aleksandrov said, “people came, placed an order and took away”.

  14. Gluck is the only Transcarpathian artist who had a solo exhibition in distant Venezuela, namely in its capital Caracas. In 1977, the exposition was arranged by Gabriel's sister Veronika. The artist himself could not get to this exhibition. He saw only a brochure for the exhibition.

  15. Currently, 34 paintings by G. Gluck are kept at the Kyiv National Museum, 6 works –  at the Tretyakov Gallery and 3 – at the Pushkin Museum of Art (Moscow). The works of the artist are at the museums of each regional centre of Ukraine.

  16. For each of his works, the artist made 30-40 sketches. Nobody posed for him, he always painted in the field or in another place while people were working. In those days, nobody stopped the production because of the artist.

  17. Gabriel was not only an Honoured Art Figure of the Ukrainian SSR (1954) but also a member of the Union of Soviet Artists of Moldova. The last title was given to him for the portraits “A Gipsy Woman” and “A Moldovan Woman”.

  18. The name of the artist was included in numerous encyclopaedias, in particular, in the Ukrainian Soviet Encyclopaedia, in the Ukrainian Encyclopaedic Dictionary, as well as in the art encyclopaedia "Art of the World Nations".

  19. In Uzhhorod, it was built a monument to Gabriel Gluck – near the house on Podhirna street where the artist had been living for several decades. The author of the mini-sculptor, placed on a stone in the square of the same name, is Mykhailo Kolodko.  It was open in November 2012. The sculpture is a miniature image of the artist driving his beloved car Willys. In the back seat of the car, there is an easel, which should tell everyone that the car is driving by the artist himself. By the way, the only one artist who was honoured by the chocolate sculpture is Gabriel Gluck. The famous Transcarpathian confectioner Valentin Shtefanyo made a sweet monument to the 100th anniversary of Gabriel Gluck.

Learn about how the artist created his masterpiece “Loggers”.
Denys Fazekash