Polish Art

Wednesday Apr 03, 2019

I went to a great talk at Cosgrove Village Hall yesterday on Polish Art History by Sonia Bacchus, and from knowing next to nothing feel I at least know a bit now ;-) A lot of the painters were contemporary with some of my favourite paintings, albeit this was Impressionism Eastern European style. Sonia’s point about Polish art possibly being overlooked as a sort of Eastern Roman Empire/Byzantine way was interesting, and I really had forgotten about the hardships of life behind the Iron Curtain in the 1970s and 80s, when even denim jeans were exotic.

The speaker’s enthusiasm was contagious even if the difficulty of being a country–as she put it–‘between two greedy neighbours’ was always there as a thing in the background to the art–even before we looked at paintings by the Father of Polish Art , we looked at maps showing Poland between Germany and Russia, and also Austria-Hungary to the south. I distinctly remember that it was always very fraught to play anywhere in the middle of the continent in either Risk or Diplomacy, and it was always better to be, say, a rainy island off to the north west somewhere.

For my own records I jotted the names down and have that at least as a reference.

Jan Matejko

The father of Polish Painting. Battle of Grunwald showing victory of the allied Kingdom of Poland and Grand Duchy of Lithuania over the Teutonic Order.

Battle of Grunwald by Jan Matejko

Aleksander Gierymski

Jewess with Oranges and Feast of Trumpets, complete with steam train in the background.

Aleksander Gierymski, Żydówka z pomarańczami Feast of trumpets by Gierymski

Józef Chełmoński

Four in Hand with horses harnessed across rather than 2×2, Storks, Partridges in the Snow and also Indian summer

Czworka byJozef Chelmonski Józef Chełmoński, Kuropatwy Indian summer by Chełmoński Bociany by Józef Chełmoński

Stanisław Wyspiański

Sleeping Staś and Motherhood

Macierzyństwo by Stanisław Wyspiański Sleeping Staś by Stanisław Wyspiański

Jacek Malczewski

Motherland –with ‘handcuffs’ aka manacles and regal red– and Vicious Circle

Vicious circle by Jacek Malczewski Country by Jacek Malczewski

Olga Boznańska

Motherhood in soft focus with almost no outlines, but whose work rewards careful study, especially the still life paintings.

Motherhood by Olga Boznańska

Stanisław Witkiewicz

Sheep in the Mist and also the architectural Zakopane Style

Sheep in the fog by Stanisław Witkiewicz

Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz aka ‘Witkacy’

Self portrait in mirrors

Self portrait in mirrors by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz

Alina Szapocznikow

Trained in Prague and later lived in Paris. Surrealism and Pop Art such as Bellies

Bellies by Alina Szapocznikow

Zdzisław Beksiński

Trained as an architect, painted on hardboard and never titled his work such as a this one

AA78 by Zdzislaw Beksinski

Jerzy Duda-Gracz

The couple we looked at I couldn’t find on Wikipedia: this one and this

Jerzy Duda-Gracz