Sofiya Nalepinska-Boychuk was born in Lodz, into a family of a Polish railway engineer. The girl’s talent was supported by her family, Sofiya studied fine arts in Munich, Milan, Florence, Venice. Finally, Sofiya ended up in the capital of the arts. In Paris, the 24-year-old talented artist met Mykhailo Boychuk, whom she not only fell in love for lifetime, but also believed in his creative ideas and large-scale projects to create the original art of decorating large planes.
The temperament and energy of Mykhailo hypnotized a young artist, and after graduating from the St. Petersburg School for the Encouragement of the Arts and working in the art studios of Myrhorod and Kyiv, Sofiya came to Boychuk in Lviv to stay around for a long time.
It was a union of strong and gifted individuals with Mykhailo’s decisive role.
Nalepinska’s sister Hanna recalled that Sofiya completely assimilated with her husband, she learned the Ukrainian language, sang and played bandura, and decorated her house with folk kilims. She loved her Polish family and Poland very much, but her feelings for her husband, faith in his grandiose ideas were irresistible.
They lived happily, though tensely. Sofiya gave birth to a son, but art continued to be the main work of her life. Large monumental works attracted her less than graphics, in which she achieved really great skill. She became a professor at the Kyiv Art Institute, where she organized a new graphic workshop that specialized in woodcuts (wood engraving). Until 1929, the time of the break with Mykhailo Boychuk, Sofiya conducted pedagogical activities, and also worked a lot with easel graphics. She illustrated books, in particular, those by Taras Shevchenko. She was a whole person, harmonious and, as subsequent events showed, heroic not in a feminine way.
The works by Sofiya Nalepinska-Boychuk were distinguished by their clear form, architectural balance, and their titles perfectly matched the images.
However, at the age of 44 she was left, as her loved man related his life with another woman. Sofiya Nalepinska experienced a severe moral trauma. Only art and the son could save her. The following eight years became the most fruitful in the artist’s work.
The arrest of her friends and ex-husband in the spring of 1937 were a terrible blow for Sofiya Nalepinska-Boychuk. And after two months she was also imprisoned.
The interrogation protocols of Nalepinska, who was rehabilitated only in 1988, were found. They are the evidence of her unparalleled dignity and pride.