As we continue our exploration of influential Polish artists, in today’s entry, we will take a look at four more painters, Wladyslaw Bakalowicz, Josef Brandt, Olga Boznanska, and Walter Krawiec.
Wladyslaw Bakalowicz was born in 1833 and attended school at the Warsaw School of Fine Arts from 1849 to 1854. Bakalowicz traveled to France and settled permanently in Paris and married actress Wiktoryna Szymanowska. Their son, Stefan, was also a painter.
Bakalowicz painted portraits, genre scenes, and pictures of Polish history, depicting popular themes like the Bazaar Outside the Iron Gates and Prince Karol Radziwill Receiving a delegation of Bar Confederates. While Polish culture was a strong influence in Bakalowicz’s artwork, the artist also painted scenes drawn from sixteenth and seventeenth century French history.
The painting above, entitled The Suitor, is a clear representation of Bakalowicz’s strong interest in courtly interior scenes. He used great detail in both the figures and the background elements to create an astounding illusion of lushness and wealth. Bakalowicz experimented with oil paints, pastels, and watercolor as well as different sized canvases. In fact, some of his most prized worked are small-scale paintings, rendered so realistically they could be photographs. Like contemporary Polish artist Wladyslaw Czachorski, Bakalowicz had a talent for painting fabrics and costumes. The sheen of satin and tactile quality of velvet all came across in his paintings as lifelike representations. And like other Polish painters of the time, paintings of young women was a major theme in his work.
One artist who abandoned the tradition of portraiture was Jozef Brandt. Born in 1841, Brandt began studying engineering, but with the persuasion of Juliusz Kossak, he turned his sights to painting.
Kossak was Jozef’s first teacher in Paris, however, after some time, the emerging artist traveled and settled in Munich. Like other Polish artists of his time, Munich served somewhat as a creative center. Brandt was one of the foremost Polish artists of the Munich school and had immediate success. He painted military scenes from seventeenth-century Cossack’s wars and the Tatar and Swedish invasions of Poland. Unlike other Polish artists who sought realistic representations of both historical subjects and interior genres, Brandt’s military scenes were imaginative portrayals. He worked tirelessly to accurately depict costumes and weapons, but his subjects and compositions were relatively made up. He found joy in the freedom of painting galloping horses, combining detail and action to create an emotional interaction.
Many of his paintings had eastern influences, thus combining another element to his military scenes; exoticism.
Brandt canvases hang in nearly all Polish museums and he is represented also in museums and private collections in America and Europe.
Famous Polish artist Olga Boznanska was born in 1865. As a young girl, Olga’s first drawing teacher was her mother, however, as her talent grew so did the prestige of her trainers. After moving to Munich, she studied under Jozef Brandt himself and became a well known artist in the Munich circle, opening her own studio and even taking over management of the Painting School from Teodor Hummel in 1895.
Olga settled in Paris in 1898. She was the recipient of innumeral awards and was a member of the "Art" Society of Polish Artists, Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts, Polish Society of Arts and Letters in Paris and the International Society of Sculptors, Engravers and Painters in London.
She was inspired by English artist, James McNeil Whistler, as well as Edouard Manet and Wilhelm Leibl, who combined realism with impressionism.
Olga painted portraits with a narrow range of color and focused on the models’ faces, conveying their emotions and mood. An ethereal quality, dynamic brush strokes, and the blending of colors all contribute to her style, that retains a psychological expressiveness which defines her dual powers as a portraitist.
She painted the faces of women, young and old, with an air of melancholy and concentration. As she grew older, her portraits became more sketchy, with a larger range of colors, particularly shimmery pastels. She never lacked an emotional connection to her subjects, and her legacy as a woman artist in Poland still stands today. Her paintings are hung in museums throughout the world and in Polish national museums in Krakow and Warsaw.
Artist Walter Krawiec was born in September of 1889 in Poland, and soon immigrated to the United States. Krawiec settled in Chicago and became a well-known illustrator.
Krawiec also became an avid horse painter, having grown up next to a horse stable on the northwest side of Chicago. His fascination with the animal led him to attend many circus tents and shows, where he discovered a new genre of painting that would serve as his most well-known subject matter. To learn more about Walter Krawiec and his prolific career in Chicago, visit a past blog from MIR:
Written and researched by Taylor Maatman
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