Grain Harvest

The present painting is an important study for the artist's major masterpiece Grain Harvest (1949 The State Tretyakov Gallery). Grain Harvest was a turning point in Yablonskaya's career. It brought her a Stalin award in 1950 and bronze medal at Brussels World Art Fair in 1958. Depicting a joyful harvesting scene, the picture became an icon in Soviet imagery. This study was executed in 1946 when Yablonskaya lead a student group on an internship in the Lenin kolkhoz, a collective farm in the Letava village in Khmelnitsky region.

In her memoirs "How I worked on Grain Harvest", the artist describes this painting as one of "five oil canvases painted at different times of day, about a meter on the long side". As in the famous final version, the scene takes place under glaring midday sun. Earthy ochre and pale pink dominate the palette, with some added splashes of greens and blues. The fresh, white colors of women blouses and scarves accentuate the harmonious rhythm and festive atmosphere of work in a kolkhoz.

The canvas shows a group of young women with shovels and scoops gathering grain in sacks on the threshing floor. One of the sacks on the right, similar to the final canvas, bears the year and letters
"K-p i…/s. LE../19.." that stand for "Lenin collective farm in Letava". The women are wearing short pleated skirts and white blouses. Their heads are covered with headscarves. The canvas focuses on two central figures – one is kneeling with a scoop and the other paused to catch a breath is holding a large sack with one hand, while raising the other to shield her eyes from bright sunlight. All the other figures аre captured in mid-movement around the resting woman, as if in a complex choreographed dance. Many sacks are already full of grain, indicating that the working day started early, perhaps before sunrise.

The leading Ukranian art historian and expert, Vladimir Tzitovich, called this work "an insight in the artist's laborious input into creation of the masterpiece". The canvas remained in Yablonskaya's studio for several years until she gave it to one of her favourite pupils, Oleksa Zaharchuk, whom she met in 1952.


Oil on canvas


77cm x 105cm

Tatiana Yablonskaya
1917 - 2005

Татьяна Ниловна Яблонская – выдающаяся русско-украинская художница. Родилась в Смоленске, рисованию училась с раннего детства под руководством отца - художника и преподавателя. Продолжила обучение в Киевском художественном техникуме и в Киевском государственном художественном институте (1935-1941 гг.). Занималась у Федора Крышевского - видного мастера живописи, обучившего целое поколение украинских художников. На протяжении всей творческой карьеры Яблонской ее работы постоянно выставлялись как в СССР, так и за рубежом, в том числе на XXVII Венецианском биеннале в 1956 г. и на Всемирной выставке в Брюсселе в 1958 г. Лауреат двух Сталинских премий (1949 г., 1951 г.) и Государственной премии СССР (1979 г.). На протяжении творческой карьеры художницы ее стиль претерпел существенные изменения, пройдя эволюцию от социалистического реализма до этнографического примитивизма и экспрессионизма и вновь вернувшись к реалистическим истокам. Работы Яблонской имеются в коллекции Государственной Третьяковской галереи и других российских и украинских музеев.