Interior designer fears for safety of Ukrainian art dealer

An art dealer in Ukraine supplying an American interior designer is caught up in a major dispute.

After receiving the final shipment from her art dealer, Pavlo, interior designer from Tennessee Stephanie Sabbe realized that the original paintings were from Kiev, Ukraine.

“And then I logged on and I was like where are you? Sabbe said, ‘Are you alive? And it took him two days to respond, and it makes you think about how life can change. He’s just an art dealer, now he’s writing that he’s literally running for his life, so that’s awful. I’m going to make myself cry.”

The Soviet art she selected hangs in homes she helped design across the country.

“I just think it’s really good that this 70s Ukrainian art painting has been turned into meaningful pieces for all of these clients, and now they’re going to have that other layer of meaning behind them,” Sabbe said.

She hopes that the artists will find a way to survive and that their work will not be destroyed.

“It’s just beautiful work, and I’m not very good at knowing everything about artwork, because honestly, I really like flea marketing and dumpster diving for things like that, but obviously it’s beautiful,” Sabbe said. “He’s been such a good resource for us over the past few years, so it breaks my heart that someone we’ve worked with has to live what he is.”

Sabbe’s working relationship with Pavlo is now a friendship. A silver lining to the war that has brought so much destruction.

“It makes it all feel more personal, it was a war between two people who had no connection to me, and now it is,” Sabbe said. So?”

If you want to help Ukrainian artists like Pavlo on the Etsy app, go to the search bar and type in “digital file”. Then, go to filters and change location to Ukraine. It’s an easy way to send money directly to artists since their livelihoods have been affected.

Betty K. Park