Ivan Shulga is one of the pioneers of the Ukrainian School of Painting. He was born in Mikhailivka, Kherson province in the Ukraine the 31st of October 1889 as the son of a poor peasant. He finished school in Skadovsk.
He started to paint already as a boy; decorating the dinner trays of a restaurant or copying book illustrations. The people of Skadovsk noted his talent and organised a benefit concert for him in 1905 for which Shulga decorated the program with beautiful drawings. The collected money allowed him to travel to Odessa where he entered the Imperial Art School. He finished the Art School of Odessa in 1911 and went to the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts.
After graduation in 1917, Shulga returned home to Skadovsk. In 1922 he moved to Kharkov. His paintings reflect the atrocities of the Civil War (for example The Destruction by Fire of the Hostages), the building of the New Soviet State (The Hydro-Electric Centre Dnyeprostroi) and the events of World War II (The Council of Pereyaskav).
His most famous painting, Lenins Speech, Shulga created in 1937. Lenin speaks in a very expressive way from the balcony to the listening people below on the street. Other famous paintings by Shulga are, among others, The Young Taras Shevchenko and the painter I. M. Soshenko and T. G. Shevchenko returning from Exile (1938-1939). Taras Shevchenko was a leading cultural figure in Ukraine in the 19th century.
Shulga had many pupils and played a mayor role in the development of socialist realism in Ukraine. He was a merited artist and received the Soviet Award in 1946. Shulga died in Kiev the 23rd of April 1956 and was buried in Kharkov.
His paintings On the Beach and A Bay with Boats and People Bathing were reproduced in the 1997 Douwes Fine Art Russian Paintings catalogue
– Collection V. Karminsky, Paris
– Douwes Fine Art, London, 1997
– Private collection, The Netherlands
Note: his paintings On the Beach and A Bay with Boats and People Bathing were reproduced in the 1997 Douwes Fine Art Russian Paintings catalogue ; T.G. Shevchenko returning from his Exile in the 1999 catalogue.
– Retrospective Exhibition in Kharkov, 1962, catalogue page 10
– A Dictionary of twentieth century Russian and Soviet Pain¬ters, Mathew Cullerne Bown, London, 1998.