“With God’s help, act in favor of Ukraine”: unknown letters of Fedir Ernst to Adelaida Artiukhova (1927–1929)

Pryn O.V. 


DOI: doi.org/10.21272/shaj.2020.i35.p.12


Abstract. In the article, the author studies the correspondence of F. Ernst and A. Artiukhova. The found complex of letters covers the chronological period from 28.09.1927 to 01.12.1929 and belongs to the time of their joint work in Taras Shevchenko All-Ukrainian Historical Museum. F. Ernst was a head of art department of the museum then, and A. Artiukhova worked as an assistant from 1927. Simultaneously with working in the museum, from 1926 F. Ernst worked as Kyiv krai inspector for protection of cultural heritage, and from 1929 he was the member of Parity Commission for Cultural Valuables Exchange between RSFSR and Ukrainian SSR. The letters, found in Central State Archives of Public Organizations in Ukraine in fund 263 “Individuals repressed by GPU-NKVD-KGB during the 1920–1950s in Kyiv and Kyiv region” in the archival investigative case No. 64684 FP, and were the evidence in the case of accusation of Adelaida Artiukhova of “counter-revolutionary nationalist activity”. All the charges were reduced to a personal acquaintance with F. Ernst, who was already deported at that time. The found archival sources allow to reconstruct in more detail the biography of Adelaida Volodymyrivna Artiukhova and her personal contribution to the replenishment of the art collection of the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Historical Museum. A. Artiukhova was born in 1902 in the city of Kyiv. In 1920–1923, she studied at the Kyiv Institute of Public Education and the Kyiv Archaeological Institute. In 1924, she began working at the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Historical Museum (UHM) in Kyiv as a laboratory assistant of the art department. During 1927-1929, together with F. Ernst, she was returning cultural values from the museums of the Russian Federation, replenishing the UHM collection, and for this purpose often visited the museums of Moscow and Leningrad, studying their collections and museum work in general. The texts of the letters are published without any reductions. Phonetic and orthographic features of the document language are preserved. The letters give an opportunity to immerse in the historical context of the museum life of one of the leading museums of Ukraine, to study into inter-museum cooperation, etc. F. Ernst’s epistolary reveals the contact points of the researchers, shows their friendly style of communication and the topics they discussed. Throughout the correspondence, there are three main topics: the activity of the art department of the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Historical Museum (exhibitions and collections), cooperation and return of paintings from Russian museums, and everyday life (rest of the scholars in the Crimea and Odessa). All letters are very informative; they show the internal activities of the art department of the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian Historical Museum: replenishment of the collection, exhibiting activity, scholarly contacts. The letters reveal the complex inter-museum relations of UHM with Russian museums and the role of personal contacts of scholars. It was found out that A. Artiukhova, who used F. Ernst’s personal connections and acquaintances for the benefit of the museum, had a significant influence on the implementation of the large replenishment of UHM.


Keywords: Ernst F., Artiukhova A., Taras Shevchenko All-Ukrainian Historical Museum, museum, Tretyakov Gallery, paintings, exhibitions, Narbut, Shevchenko.