Michael Kmit - Neo-Byzantine style of paintings

Michael Kmit  (25 July 1910 in Stryi, Lviv – 22 May 1981 in Sydney, Australia) was a Ukrainian painter who spent twenty-five years in Australia.Kmit's images, inspired by the Byzantine style of religious icon painting, were well received in Australia for their fresh approach and new subjects. Labeled neo-Byzantine, his paintings integrated stylized portraiture with geometric cubist and constructivist forms, patterns and vivid color.During the 1950s, before leaving for the United States at the latter end of the decade, Kmit was a major influence on many artists, particularly those of the Merioola Group (also known as the «Charm School»).Gleeson described Kmit as «one of the most sumptuous colourists of our time». Paul Haefliger wrote: «Of all the foreign aspirants to art who have visited these shores since the war, Michael Kmit is the only one who has made an impression on the present generation of painters.»After winning a string of awards including the Blake Prize (1953) and the Sulman Prize (1957), he left Australia for the United States in 1958, residing in the San Francisco-Bay Area of California. His American period did not result in a lot of success and also, due to the end of his marriage, he went through a period of depression. Returning in 1965 his style and format had changed and the high praise for his work was replaced with cautious criticism. He married Norma Randall a few years after his return to Australia and his son Michael Kmit Junior was born in May, 1968. However, by the time «Cassandra» (1979) was painted, only two years before his death, Kmit had returned to the previous vigour of his 1950s works


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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