Kharkiv Art Museum
It is one of the oldest museums and one of Ukraine’s most valuable art collections. The museum was housed in a former mansion built in 1912 and opened in 1944, during World War II, when the surviving collection returned from evacuation. A large part of the collection was lost during the retreat of German troops, who poured gasoline on the museum building and set fire to it, having previously taken valuable works from there.
To this day, there are still engravings by Albrecht Dürer and Pieter Brueghel the Elder and a unique collection of original Dutch graphics from the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries. A separate room in the museum is dedicated to Ilya Repin. There are eleven of his works, including the second version of the painting "Cossacks Writing a Letter to the Turkish Sultan," which he liked better according to the artist’s recollections. The museum’s collection also includes works by other classical and contemporary Ukrainian masters, such as Volodymyr Borovykovskyi, Ivan Aivazovsky, Serhii Vasylkivskyi, Mykola Samokysh, Oleksandr Murashko, Yurii Narbut, Mykola Pymonenko, and Tetiana Yablonska.
Founded in 1805 by Vasyl Karazin, who acquired a collection of two and a half thousand graphic works for Kharkiv University, the art collection now includes more than 25,000 exhibits of Western European and Ukrainian art, as well as decorative and applied (including oriental) art of the XV-XXI centuries. In the second half of the 19th century, Kharkiv University graduates helped replenish the collection by donating and bequeathing thousands of works by European painters, including a collection of original Dutch graphics and still lifes.
During the full-scale Russian invasion on March 2, 2022, the museum was hit by the first blast wave and later survived two more blast waves. All the windows and the roof were smashed, the plaster crumbled, and the doors were blown away. All this disrupted the temperature and humidity conditions.
On April 13, 2023, the museum opened to the public for the first time since the start of the full-scale invasion with an exhibition by Kharkiv artist Viktor Kovtun, "Where We Are," a kind of chronicle of military events in 160 paintings created after February 24, 2022, depicting doctors, soldiers, rescuers, utilities, and volunteers.
Between the attacks, the blown-out windows were repaired by volunteers, and thanks to a philanthropist, new ones have already been installed in the museum’s main building. Recently, the museum received funds to restore the roof. However, the building itself needs repairs, both inside and outside, and the basement will have to be adapted for the storage facility due to the threat of further missile attacks. Air ventilation systems must be installed and equipped (shelves, racks, etc.). The presence of dehumidifiers is critical to maintain optimal temperature and humidity conditions.