Nikolai Petrovich Glushchenko (September 17, 1901, Novomoskovsk, Yekaterinoslav Province — October 31, 1977, Kiev) — Ukrainian painter, master of portrait and landscape.
Features of the artist Nikolai Glushchenko: style of the artist, formed in Berlin and Paris under the influence of the Fauves (Henri Matisse, Andre Derain, Maurice Vlaminka) and artists of the school "Nabi" (Pierre Bonnard) in adult years has undergone changes under pressure from the masters of the Soviet art school. Recruited by Soviet intelligence, Nikolai Glushchenko lived in Paris for many years, collecting intelligence for the GPU. After returning to the USSR, the artist was forced to "let in" social realism on his canvases. In the last years of his creative career, Nikolay Glushchenko again returned to the bright colors and free broad strokes characteristic of his early works. Today Nikolay Glushchenko is one of the most expensive Ukrainian artists who worked under Soviet power.
Famous paintings by artist Nikolai Glushchenko: "Card Players", "March on the Dnieper", "Kiev Autumn", "The Thaw", "Winter Sun", "Sun at Sea", series "12 nu"
Nikolai Glushchenko was born in the town of Novomoskovsk, Yekaterinoslav Province (now Dnipropetrovsk Region). His father was an accountant, he died very early, and the family moved to Kursk province. Here, in the village of Borisovka, lived the descendants of the old Glushkov-Glushchenko family. Kolya’s grandfather and great-grandfather were artists (many icon painters lived and worked in Borisovka), and the boy’s interest in drawing arose quite early.
At the age of 9, Nikolai entered the Yuzovka 8-class commercial school (now Donetsk), but did not leave drawing. Under the influence of his mother, the future artist decided to enter a higher technical school and in 1918 arrived in Kharkov. A year later, Glushchenko was called to the Volunteer Army under the banner of General Denikin. Nikolai fought, was captured, found himself in Poland, in an internment camp, from which he fled and moved to Germany. Interrupting casual earnings, the young man did not leave his favorite activity — drawing. Powerful health and passion for sports allowed him to survive in the harshest conditions.
In Berlin, Glushchenko finally began to study drawing — first in the private studio of Hans Baluschek, later — from the professor Arthur Kampf. He graduated from vocational training in the Berlin Graduate School of Fine Arts, in the workshop of Erich Wolfsfeld, and met the future wife Maria, a native Bender. The talented young man was supported by the patriarchs of Ukrainian emigration — the hetman Pavel Skoropadsky, the professor Roman Smal-Stotsky and the writer Vladimir Vinnichenko. Having mastered the profession of an artist, Nikolai Glushchenko organized his first solo exhibition in Berlin, which was a great success. He began to teach at the school of his teacher, Professor Kampf, exhibited a lot, bought paintings.
A young and athletic, handsome artist, dandy, a favorite of the fair sex, his man in an emigre environment, in the early 1920s, Nikolai Glushchenko came to the attention of Soviet intelligence. In 1923, he met Alexander Dovzhenko, who at that time worked in the Ukrainian consulate in Berlin. And in the same year Glushchenko received Soviet citizenship.
In 1925, Glushchenko moved to Paris, where many emigrants who had fled from the young country of the Soviets gathered. In his studio in Montmartre were often compatriots Ivan Trush, Nikolai Krichevsky, they dropped in Ivan Bunin and Vladimir Mayakovsky, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and, of course, his Berlin friend Vladimir Vinnichenko.
In the fall of 1926, Nikolay Glushchenko was offered to cooperate with Soviet military intelligence. Reward — the opportunity to return to their homeland. For 10 years, an operative under the pseudonym "Yarema" delivered to the Center not only information about what the leaders of Ukrainian and white emigration "breathe", but also collected various rumors and gossip during portraiture sessions, and later became a source of military technical data, having got acquainted with the Belgian industrialist Andre Mirabeau.
There were many people willing to buy works by Glushchenko: an actively exhibited, prolific artist brought dozens of new paintings from each European trip. In 1928, the album "Twelve Nudes" was released: for the paintings included in the collection, he posed for Maria, his fellow student at the Berlin School of Fine Arts. Soon Nikolai and Maria got married, their son Alexander was born.
After persistent requests and negotiations with the embassy in the summer of 1936, Nikolay Glushchenko with his wife and son returned to the USSR. In 1940, the artist was instructed to organize the exhibition "Folk Art of the USSR" in Berlin. It is said that Adolf Hitler considered him the best landscape painter in Europe. And it was Glushchenko who was one of the very first (or even the very first) who informed the Soviet intelligence about preparing Germany for a war with the Soviet Union. This fact became known to the general public many years later.
In 1944, Glushchenko moved to Kiev with his family. He began to teach at the Kiev art school, and later received the title of professor. The need to comply with the canons of socialist realism forced the artist to put aside her favorite style. However, after the war, such indulgence in the "tastes" of bonzes from the Union of Artists gave Glushchenko the opportunity to travel a lot, as well as support young artists — Nikolai Petrovich worked in the procurement commission. In 1963, he was awarded the title of People’s Artist of the Ukrainian SSR, in 1975 — People’s Artist of the USSR.
Shortly before his death, Glushchenko selected 250 of his canvases made in the 1950s and asked his wife to burn them. The author’s will was not executed: the paintings were found in the workshop and transferred to storage in one of the museum institutions of the Ukrainian SSR without the right to display.
Nikolai Glushchenko was a very hardworking and prolific artist who could paint a painting in one day. According to art historians, the legacy of Nikolai Glushchenko is from 5 to 8 thousand paintings (according to some sources — up to 17 thousand). Ukrainian novelist Stanislav Stetsenko devoted the book "Wars of Artists", which was published in 2016, to the fate of Nikolai Glushchenko.