Jacques Hnizdovsky

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Jacques Hnizdovsky
Hnizdovsky wc 87.jpg
Jacques Hnizdovsky carving the woodblock "Two Rams" in his studio in New York, 1969
Born Jakiw Hnizdowskyj
January 27, 1915 (1915-01-27)
Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine
Died November 8, 1985 (1985-11-09)
New York, USA
Nationality American
Education Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw; Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb
Known for painting, printmaking, watercolor, ceramics, graphic design, bookplate design, book illustration and cover design, lettering design
Notable work www.hnizdovsky.com www.jacqueshnizdovsky.com
Movement stylized realism

Jacques Hnizdovsky (Ukrainian: Яків Гніздовський, Polish: Jakób Gniazdowski, Croatian: Jakiv Hnizdovskij), (1915–1985) was a Ukrainian-American painter (working in oil, acrylic, tempera and watercolor), printmaker, sculptor, illustrator and lettering designer.


Jacques Hnizdovsky was born in Ukraine in the Borshchivskyi Raion of Ternopil Oblast in a noble family of Korab coat of arms. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Zagreb, and produced hundreds of paintings, numerous pen and ink drawings and watercolors, as well as over 375 prints (woodcuts, etchings and linocuts) after his move to the United States in 1949. He was inspired by woodblock printing in Japan as well as the woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer. Influences on his early works can be seen on his website.[1][2] Most of his woodcuts, (apart from exhibition posters, which he also printed himself directly from the woodblock) were printed on washi, which in English is erroneously translated into "rice paper"[3]

Hnizdovsky's woodcuts frequently depict plants and animals, and the primary reason for this, in the beginning, after his arrival in the United States, was the lack of funds to pay for a human model. But what was first a substitute for the human form later became his primary subject matter. He was well known in all the botanical gardens in New York, where he would find subjects willing to pose for no cost. At the Bronx Zoo, he also found many models that were willing to pose, as he would write, "for peanuts". Andy, the orangutan that opened the Ape House of the Bronx Zoo when he was just a baby, was one of Hnizdovsky's favorite models.[4] When he died, the Bronx Zoo immediately purchased the woodcut in remembrance of Andy. Another favorite model for one of Hnizdovsky's best known prints, was also from the Bronx Zoo. The Sheep went on to be his best known print, illustrating the poster for his very successful exhibition at the Lumley Cazalet Gallery in London. This poster, incidentally, can be seen in the kitchen scene of the film The Hours.

The artist also designed several stamps and a souvenir sheet for the Ukrainian Plast postal service, issued in 1954 and 1961.

Hnizdovsky has exhibited widely and his works are in the permanent collections of many museums worldwide. The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston has a large collection of his prints.

An interview with Hnizdovsky, in Ukrainian, was conducted in 1982 was conducted by Ulana Pawuszczak Interview with Yakiv (Jacques) Hnizdovsky (Яків Гніздовський) on YouTube.

Jacques Hnizdovsky died in 1985 and is buried at the Lychakivskiy Cemetery in Lviv, Ukraine. His archives are housed at the Slavic and Baltic Division of the New York Public Library.[5]

Christmas card
Christmas card
Praying Child notecard
Annunciation card
Easter card

Books illustrating the work of Jacques Hnizdovsky[edit]

Shows all prints created during the artist's lifetime, a catalogue raisonné, profusely illustrated with images.
Shows prints created between 1944-1975, a catalogue raisonné, profusely illustrated with images.
  • Hnizdovsky, Jacques (1986). Jacques Hnizdovsky Ex Libris. S. Hnizdovsky. ASIN B0007BYZ94
Shows 54 Ex Libris designs that the artist created for collectors, friends, family, museums and libraries.


Hnizdovsky carving an ex libris (bookplate)

This is a partial list of books illustrated by Jacques Hnizdovsky.[6]

  • The Poems of John Keats, 1964
  • The Poems of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1967
  • Tree Trails of Central Park, 1971
  • Flora Exotica, 1972
  • The Poems of Thomas Hardy, 1979
  • The Traveler’s Tree, 1980
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost, 1981
  • Signum Et Verbum, 1981
  • A Green Place, 1982
  • Birds and Beasts, 1990
  • Behind the King’s Kitchen, 1992
  • The Girl in Glass, 2002
  • The Adventurous Gardener, 2005


  1. ^ Reflections of an Artist
  2. ^ Woodcuts - Relief Printing
  3. ^ In fact, rice paper is made from paper mulberry, also known as broussonetia papyrifera. Please see the following link for more information on the production of this beautiful handmade paper, which is likened to raw silk because of the raw mulberry fibers frequently embedded in the paper. This handmade quality and texture is a beauty to behold.
  4. ^ Andy the orangutan
  5. ^ Slavic and Baltic Division, NYPL
  6. ^ For a full list of Ukrainian books illustrated by Jacques Hnizdovsky, please contact the Slavic and Baltic Division of the New York Public Library, which houses the entire collection.

Further reading[edit]

  • Leshko, Jaroslaw (1995). Jacques Hnizdovsky Яків Гніздовський.
Published by The Ukrainian Museum on the occasion of the exhibition Jacques Hnizdovsky 1915-1985: Retrospective Exhibition, organized by The Ukrainian Museum, New York. Profusely illustrated bilingual exhibition catalogue containing 23 pages of biographical text, showing examples of paintings, woodcuts, linocuts, etchings and ceramics by the artist.

External links[edit]