(16 Mar 1871 – 12 Aug 1942)

Painter, scene designer, actor, writer,
fine art expert, educator.
Distinguished artist of USSR (1936),
honoured artist of USSR (1941), professor (1927).
Director of Kharkiv Art Technical School
from 1925 till 1927.

Mykola H. Burachek was born on 16th March, 1871 in the village Letychiv (nowadays urban-type community in Khmelnytsk region). Mykola got his first classes in Drawing from his father who was an artist amateur, and from I. Vaskov who was a teacher at Kamyanets-Podilsk Gymnasium and the artist H. Vaskov’s brother.

In 1889 he entered Kyiv University. However, soon he was expelled from the university for his participation in students’ demonstrations.

In 1890 after a famous actress M. Savina recommendation, he was enrolled to Kamyanets-Podilsk Russian Theatre Company as an actor. He performed on the stages in many cities of Ukraine and Russia with such masters as M. Savina, V. Komissarzhevska, P. Orlenyev, V. Davydov, M. Tarkhanov. Among his roles there were Rasplyuev (Krechinsky’s Wedding Day by O. Sukhovo-Kobylin), Neshchaslyvtsev (Forest by O. Ostrovsky), etc. Along with performing on the stage, he worked as a stage-painter in such plays as Chime sent to the bottom by G. Gauptman, Forest by O. Ostrovsky, Power of darkness by L. Tolstoy, etc. Later, at the age of 19, he began attending M. Murashko’s School of Drawing where his teachers were M. Pymonenko and Kh. Platonov. During that period of life he created several paintings, namely Twilight (1890) and On the Dnipro at dusk (1898).

In March, 1905 he took part in the I All-Ukrainian art exhibition in Lviv. That year he got acquainted with a Polish painter Ya. Stanislavsky and after his recommendation he entered Krakow Academy of Fine Arts (class by Ya. Stanislavsky, after his death – by F. Rushytsya).

In 1910 he began working in Paris at the workshop of A. Matisse, later – at P. Ranson’s Free Academy of Arts. At that period of life he created such paintings as Davyd-small town. Polissya (1910), Yard in winter and Saint-Étienne Church in Paris (both 1911).

In 1912 M. Burachek moved to Kyiv where he became a member of the Association of Kyiv painters and Association of Ukrainian painters.

From 1917 till 1919 he participated in cultural construction in Ukraine. He was a member of the organising committee of the National Exemplary Theatre. Also Burachek was one of thefounders of Ukrainian State Academy of Arts where he worked as a lecturer since 1917, and in 1918 he became its President.

From 1918 till 1921 he was a lecturer at Kyiv Institute of Theatre Arts.

From 1921 till 1924 M. Burachek worked as a school teacher of drawing, stage director and actor of amateur theatres in Kyiv region.

In 1925 he moved to work in Kharkiv where he became one of the founders of the Association of Revolutionary Art of Ukraine, member of the Association of Modern Artists of Ukraine, exhibitor of the Association of Red Ukraine Artists, Head of Kharkiv Central Bureau of Art.

From 1925 till 1927 Burachek was Director of Kharkiv Art Technical School; professor since 1927. When dismissed from the post of the director, he was engaged with his personal creative workshop.

In 1931 he became a research associate at the Gallery of T.H. Shevchenko’s paintings in Kharkiv.

M. Burachek died on 12 August 1942 in occupied by fascists Kharkiv.

M. Burachek’s pictural legacy comprises around 10 000 pictures, most of which though were lost during the WW II. In a subtle way his landscapes show a great variety of colours in the nature, and at the same time how changeable the latter is. His most famous paintings are: Sunflowers (1914), Roofs of Saint Sofia Cathedral in Kyiv (1917), The Dnipro. Storm is coming on (1934), Apple-trees in blossom (1936), Autumn in Khorol. Myrhorod (1917), In winter. Kyiv (1920), Dusk over the Buh. Vinnytsya (1929), March; Wind in March (both: 1917), Rye in the collective farm (1935), Causative. The mighty Dnipro roars and bellows (1941), etc.

As a stage designer M. Burachek decorated a number of plays, namely On the way to a fairy-tale by O. Oles (1918, Kyiv State Drama Theatre), Give your heart a free will, it will lead you into serfdom by M. Kropyvnytsky (1936, Kharkiv Ukrainian Drama Theatre), Maidservant by I. Karpenko-Kary (1938, Donetsk Ukrainian Music and Drama Theatre), etc.

M.H. Burachek is an author of numerous papers and monographs on study of art. He is one of the researchers who studied creative activity of T.H. Shevchenko as an artist. His first publication was On portraits by T. Shevchenko, 1928. It is notable that M. Burachek attributed hundreds of Shevchenko’s water colour paintings and pictures, developed the chronology of his pictural and graphic legacy, and established the methodology for its studying.