After the early death of Rufin Sudkovsky in 1885, his widow, the former Elena Petrovna Besnard, a prolific Russian illustrator, later married another Ukrainian artist, Mykola Samokish (1860–1944), a selection of whose paintings I show today. Samokish is remarkable for having remained popular and successful in Ukraine and Russia from the 1880s into the Second World War, a period during which so many artists fell foul of one regime or another.
Samokish was born into a Cossack family in Nizhyn, Ukraine, and spent his youth in the town of Nosivka near Chernihiv, in the north-east of the country. He studied at the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg between 1879 and 1885.
Mykola Samokish (1860–1944), Hunters (1885), oil, dimensions not known, National Gallery of Art, Lviv, Ukraine. Wikimedia Commons.
In his early career, he painted several hunting scenes, including the painterly Hunters from 1885.
The same year, Samokish travelled…