Thursday, December 2, 2010

Life and works of Władysław Podkowiński

Public Domain Image: Self-portrait (1887), oil on canvas painting by Władysław Podkowiński, dimensions 55 cm x 45 cm (21.65 in x 17.72 in), located at Muzeum Śląskie, Katowice in Silesia in southern Poland.

Public Domain Image: Szał uniesień (Ecstasy), oil on canvas painting (1894) by Polish painter Władysław Podkowiński (1866-1895), dimensions 275 cm x 310 cm (108.27 in x 122.05 in) currently located at Sukiennice Museum (aka Gallery of 19th-Century Polish Art at Sukiennice), a division of the National Museum, Kraków, Poland.

Szał uniesień (titled in English as‘Ecstasy’ or ‘Frenzy of Exultations’, also known as ‘La Folie’ or ‘Ekstase’) is the best known painting of Władysław Podkowiński, and which is considered the first work of symbolism in Polish art, which was exhibited in Zachęta in an atmosphere of scandal, and in 1894 it was featured in a Warsaw art exhibition. However, the art exhibition lasted only 36 days because Podkowinski brought a knife on the 37th day and destroyed his work. The painting was later restored after the death of Podkowiński.

Public Domain Image: Akt (Nude) painting (1892) by Władysław Podkowiński

Władysław Podkowinski (1866-1895) was a Polish painter and illustrator. Podkowiński began his artistic training at Wojciech Gerson's drawing school, the Warsaw Academy of Arts, at which he studied from 1880 to1884. After leaving the school, Podkowinski contributed his art to many of the leading art journals in Warsaw. In 1885 along with Josef Pankiewicz, he travelled to the St. Petersburg Fine Arts Academy where he studied from 1885 to 1886. After returning from St. Petersburg in 1886, Podkowiński started his career as an illustrator for Tygodnik Ilustrowany where he became one its most renowned artists.

Władysław Podkowiński’s earliest works comprising watercolor and oil paintings were created during this time, but Podkowiński still considered his art as a hobby, and not a professional endeavor. His early paintings were mainly influenced by Ignacy Aleksander Gierymski (1850-1901), another Polish painter of the late 19th century.

Władysław Podkowiński embraced painting as a profession in 1889, after a trip to Paris where he was profoundly influenced by French Impressionist painters, particularly Claude Monet. Podkowiński’s impressionist works were highly appreciated, and later he was credited for bringing the Impressionist movement to Poland, and many art historians and writers consider him as the founder of Polish Impressionism. But towards the end of his life, his personal life experiences, including an incurable disease of those times, inclined him to shift towards Symbolism. Władysław Podkowiński died of tuberculosis in Warsaw at the young age of 29, which cut short a very promising career, and of course, it was a great loss to the lovers of art.

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