Krychevsky attached a particular importance to studies
of Ukrainian folk art and architecture seeing a proof
of the existence of a distinct national culture in their
originality. He conducted a number of ethnographic studies
in various regions of Ukraine.
He gradually gathered a rich and unique collection of choice samples of Ukrainian folk art which was totally destroyed in a fire during the Bolsheviks' attack on Kiev in February, 1918. Krychevsky was consulted as an expert by a number of private art collectors and by museums in Kiev, Poltava and in other cities.
In his early twenties, Krychevsky became acquainted with the
philosophy of John Ruskin and William Morris, who emphasized
the importance of applied arts in everyday life. This philosophy
corresponded to Krychevskys' own views concerning folk art
and crafts. On the basis of his knowledge of Ukrainian folk
art he created a vast number of designs for pottery, furniture,
rugs, embroideries, costumes, and interior decorations. From
1912 to 1915 Krychevsky was an instructor in a rug-weaving
and cloth-printing workshop organized by Barbara Khanenko
near Kyiv. He created a number decorative designs, quite original
and sometimes daringly modern there. These rugs and block-printed
fabrics, as well as embroideries, had a great success on industrial
and handicraft exhibitions (St. Petersburg, 1913; Berlin,
1923, etc.) and were acquired by art dealers from abroad.
Krychevsky participated in the annual exhibitions of the Society of Russian Watercolorists in St. Petersburg and in exhibitions in various cities in Ukraine and abroad. In total he took part in over eighty exhibitions and was awarded a number of prizes and honorable mentions.
In a formal sense Krychevsky, generally, was considered to be an Impressionist. However, he found his own artistic language and achieved outstanding results, particularly in rendering effects of illumination, in capturing the typical traits of a landscape, and in his purity of colour. He created some 3,000 lyrical paintings of Ukrainian cities, the countryside, and the Crimean seacoast.
Ukrainian art critics regard Vasyl H. Krychevsky as the originator of modern Ukrainian book design. His work in this field influenced several generations of Ukrainian graphic artists. Krychevsky was the first Ukrainian who has taken away the Victorian heritage of "pictorial" bookcovers, his designs were simple and effective.
He successfully adapted ornamental motives from Ukrainian folk art, especially in his designs of books on ethnography (Ukrainian Folk Art, 1913; 1926). Designing covers for books on history and related topics, Krychevsky used the ornamental motives from Ukrainian book enngravings of XVI-XVIIth centuries. On the hand, his bookcover designs for novels, poetry, short stories, and essays often were outstanding in their originality and in their general concept. He also designed a number of books in their entirety, such as The New Testament in Ukrainian (1921), The Anthology of Ukrainian Poetry in four volumes (1929), and the book of Ukrainian Songs (1935; 1936), a luxury publication, which influenced other book designers. He also designed several bookplates for prominent Ukrainian book collectors.
During the Ukrainian independence, the government of the Ukrainian
Republic commissioned Vasil H. Krychevsky to create designs
for the Great and the Little State Emblems, for the Great
and the Little State Seals, for diplomatic Papers, and for
the banknote of two Hryvni.
In 1907 the distinguished Ukrainian actor and producer Mykola Sadovsky invited Krychevsky to work with his theater in Kiev. He was active there until 1910. He staged a series of dramatic plays, operas, and "tableaux vivants" (popular at that time), for which he designed both the settings and the costumes, dealing expertly with stage requirements and the special requirements of theatrical scenery.
According to contemporary critics, Krychevsky's sets ushered in a new period in Ukrainian theater. In accordance with the trend of his time, Krychevsky's approach
was realistic, but he eventually changed it when he worked with the settings and costumes for a charity fair (Kiev, 1915), where he combined grotesque and primitive elements of XVIIIth century folk plays with the modern ones. He also used abstract settings (for a symbolistic play by L.Starytska-Chernyakivska, Kyiv, 1917).
Vasyl Krychevsky was active in the Ukrainian film industry as an art consultant and art director for a dozen important productions. Among them were well known Zvenigora by Alexander Dovzhenko (1928) as well as the historical films: Taras Schevchenko (1926), Taras Tryasylo (1927), etc. Krychevsky demonstrated his ability to master the specific requirements of film technique and showed new ways in achieving highly artistic film sets. He made the first Ukrainian colour film in 1939.
Vasyl H. Krychevsky shared his knowledge and his experience with students for over a quarter of a century. From 1915 to 1917, young art students, dissatisfied with the routine teaching at the State Art School in Kiev, received private instruction from him; he taught drawing in the first Ukrainian school which opened in Kyiv after the revolution in 1917. He was active in organizing Ukrainian State Academy of Arts (opened by the new national government in Kyiv on December 5, 1917). Vasyl Krychevsky was elected to be the first president of the Academy, he worked as a professor there and later at the Institute of Plastic Arts. He was appointed the director of a new organized Ceramic Art Institute in Myrhorod (1918-1919), where he taught painting and ornamental composition. From 1922 to 1924 he lectured at the Architectural Institute (in Kiev) in forms in Ukrainian architecture, in the evolution of folk house design, in City planning and taught architectural rendering there. From 1923 to 1925 Krychevsky conducted a workshop in home decoration at the Institute of Plastic Arts in Kiev, in 1927 he was a professor of architecture at the Art Institute in Odessa, and from 1928 until 1941 he lectured in the Architectural Departmetnt of the Art institute in Kiev in Composition and Construction of architectural forms and taught painting and drawing for architects. From 1943 to 1944, he was one of the organizers, and later, professor of painting and the president of the Academy of Art in Lviv, Ukraine.
Vasyl Krychevsky, the author and creator of the Ukrainian national style in the arts, occupies one of the highest places in the history of Ukrainian art. At a time of the reassessment of artistic values in the world, a distinct position in the world history of art should be assigned to him.