Polish Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions

Figure 1.--An important Polish arist is the impressionist Franciszek Striett (1839-90). Unfortunately we know nothing about him other than he produced some wonderful images of 19th century Polish life. Poland at the time was mostly within the Russian Empire. The work here was painted in 1876. Notice the suspenders and kneepants the boy is weasring and the pinafore, skierts, drawers, stripped stockings and strap shoes the girl is wearing. There is a lot of fascinating information about the inside of Polish homes here. Notice the goose in a cage under the cooking table. Also notice the toys the children have, both the doll and cart to the right.

We have some information on Polish art at this time. We have archived some older Polish images on HBC, but we do not know the names of the artists. Quite a few do not appear to have been attributed. We note some paintings of Polish nobels. We have only found a few Polish artists and do not know much about the artists we have found. With the Polish Partitions (18th century), poland became part of the Austrian, German, and Russian Empires. Thius would have affected art, but we are not aware of the details. Most of Pland bcamne oart of the Rusdsuian Tsarist Empire which adopted a Russification policy. An Hungarian artist, Isador Kaiufmann did importnt genre work on the Jewish community. Hopefully our Polish readers will provide us some information about their country's art history and important artists.

Aleksandrowski, Eugeniusz (19??-99)

One of the few Polish artists we know by name at this time is Eugeniusz Aleksandrowski (19??-1999). He was Jewish and his paintings are dominated by his ecperiences during the Holocaust in NAZI-occupied Poland. Aleksandrowski was a Jewish-Polish painter who graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Surviving the Holocaust as a boy, he emigrated to Denmark in 1971. He had a few sporadic exhibitions. However, by his own choice, he remained quite anonumous until his death. Most of his work is dominated by his traumatic experiences during the Holocaust in which the NAZIs murdered the Jewish population of Poland.

Chrucki, Jan and Ivan Fomich Khrutsky (Russian Empire, 1810-85)

Ivan Fomich Khrutsky is a difficukt artist to categorize in terms of modern ntiinalities. He is probably best described today as POolish (Jan Chrucki) or Belarusian (Іван Хруцкі). He can also be associated with Russia (Иван Фомич Хруцкий) and Lithuania. All of these modern countries were part of the Tsarist Empire. Ivan/Jan was born in eastern Poland, modern Belarus (1810). His family was Polish descended from szlachta of Leliwa coat of arms in the village of Ulla, Vitebsk Governorate, once part of the former Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. A the time of his birt as aresult of the 18th century Polish partitions, most of Poland had been absorbed into the Tsarist Empire. As an older teenager, Khrutsky went to St. Petersburg, the center of the Tsarist art world to pursue his studies and career (1827). He entered the Imperial Academy of Arts (1830). The first identfiable work began shortly after (1832). We notice range of works, including an eclectic mix of still lifes, landscapes, genre scens, religious works, and portraits. His works began to be noticed and achieved both public and critical acclaim. In addition to painting, Khrutsky also applied his talents to interior design. He developed a devoted clentel among wealthy home owners. The Academy awarded him its Major Silver medal for still-lifes. Perhaps his most aclaimed work is 'Old Woman Knitting a Sock' which earned him the Academy' Minor Gold medal. He received the Academy's prestigious title of Academician. Khrutsky St. PLetersburg carrer ended with his father's death (1840). He left St. Petersburg and returned to the family estate Zacharnicze Polotsk region. This meant he loss contact with his wealthy St. Petersburg clients. He go commissions for religious art, primarily from Lithuania. He also did portraits of local figures during this period. He died at Zacharnicze (1885).

Hoffman, Wlastimil (1881-1970)

A Polish reader tells us about Wlastimil Hofman (1881-1970). He is an example of the ethnic mix of the Austro-Hingarian Epire before World War I. A Polish contributor writes, "I am sending a picture painted around 1920. Maybe it will be interesting for you. The painter's name was Wlastimil Hofman. He was born in Prague in 1881, his first name was Czech, and his surname was German. When he was 8, his parents moved to Kraków. He became a Pole by choice. This painting is called 'Christmas Carolers'. Christmas carol is a folk custom that used to be very common in Poland. Even now, it is sometimes found in the countryside. In the post-Christmas period, groups of people went from house to house and wished the residents all the best. Sometimes they were dressed in special costumes and often sang songs. In return, they received gifts - food, sometimes money.The children in the picture have some scarves on their heads to protect their ears. This suggests that there is severe frost. Younger children don't have shoes, just rags stuffed with straw. The boy with the musical instrument is wearing short pants, no socks. Also, the little girl has no stockings and has bare legs. All clothes are old and torn. Nobody has gloves.This picture is quite strange. In Poland, no one walked with bare knees in winter - I have not heard of it. The climate was too harsh. (I omit the very old times when completely naked and barefoot children were seen sliding on the ice on frozen ponds - Father Kitowicz wrote about it. But it was in the 18th century) Judging from the realistic details, the painter did not come up with it. Perhaps in the post-World War I period such things happened. Maybe these children lost their father in the war." Hoffman was still active when the NAZIs struck and left and indelible story and artistic record as he escped the NAZI and Soviet grasp, bith of which were intent on destroying the Polish inteligencia--including asrtists. .

Kaufmann, Isador (1853-1921)

We note an artist who began painting after a commercial career--Isidor Kaufmann. He is a little difficult to categorize in country terms. He painted while a subject of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He was born to Hungarian Jewish parents in Arad, then a part of the Hungarian Kingdom within the Austrian Empire (1853). The town is now a part of Romania. His parents insisted he pursue a commercial career. Thus he could begin persuing art only as a young adult. He studied at the Landes-Zeichenschule in Budapest for a year (1875). He then went to Vienna to study (1876). He was rejected by the Academy of Fine Arts (1876). We are not sure why, but the fact he was Jewish was likely a factor. So he soughtout established artists to study under. He worked in the studio of Joseph Matthäus Aigner. He then was accepted by the Malerschule of the Vienna Academy. And finlly became a private pupil of Professor Trenkwald. He decided to pursue genre painting, namely images of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. This included many fine portraits of individuals, like an unidentified Hasidic boy (figure 1). He did a lot of his work in Poland and thus has to be lited among Polish artidts as well as Hungarian. He worked in Poland largely a part of the Tsarist Empire. Poland attracted him because there was such a large Jewish population, including a substrantial Hasidic population which was of special interest to Kaufmann.

Kossak, Wojciech (1857-1942)

Wojciech Kossak was born into an artistic Polish family (Paris, 1856). He is celebrated Polish painter, norable for his Polish historical works, primarily battle scenes. Th Kossak family included both notable artists and writers. His father was Juliusz Kossak. His twin brother was freedom fighter Tadeusz Kossak>he fathered two talented daughters who became authors, Maria Pawlikowska-Jasnorzewska and Magdalena Samozwaniec. His son, Jerzy Kossak, also became a painter. Wojciech was born on New Year's Eve 1856, just before midnight, while his twin brother, Tadeusz Kossak, followed a few minuts later, but on New Years Day (1857). The family subsequenbtly returned to Poland, at the time part of the Russian Empire. He began school after the return to Poland. He attended Three Crosses Square middle school in Warsaw. He attended the Gimnazjum św. Anny secondary school in Kraków. While at school, he studied painting with his father Juliusz. After Gymnasium he studied at the School of Drawing and Painting (1871-73). Then he studied at the School of Fine Arts under Władysław Łuszczkiewicz. He completed his studies at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts, with professors Aleksander Strähuber and Alexander Wagner (1874-75). Kossak is best known for his historical painting, many of which were battle paintings depicting Poland's struggles for independence. He captured a realism lacking in earlier battle scene artists, influenced by his father. He did some portraits. Among them was a portrait of Karol Krystall as a boy (1923). It was a far cry from his battle scenes. Even with quite a number of portraits, his body of work is heavily dominated by Polish patriots and horses. In his last years was haeart broken by the German invasion and collapse of the Polish Army. One of his final acts was to refuse to paint the brutal German Governor-General of occupied Poland, Hans Frank.

(de) Lempicka, Tamara (Poland, 1898-1980)

Tamara de Lempicka was born Maria Gorska in Warsaw, Poland (1898). She was the embodiment of the art deco style in art. Although he name is not well known outside of art cirles, some of her images of indepenpendent, fas women from the intet-War period are instantly recognizable. She was boen into a wealthy and prominent Polish family. Poland was at the time part of the Russian empire. Her father was a lawyer. Her mother was the former Malvina Decler, a Polish socialite. Maria was the second of three children. She was sent to a boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland. It was aay od escaping vRussian influence and adding international polish and learming French. At the time the Russians did not allow Polish language schools. She spent ime with her grandmother in Italy and the French Riviera (1911). She was able to view many artistic master works. Her parents divorced (1912). Maria went to live with a wealthy Aunt Stefa in St. Petersberg, Russia. She was thus iun Russia during World War I and the Russian Recolution. She was arrested by the Cheka, but managed to escape to Sweden. She deceloped a style of "soft cubism". She mostly psinted portraits and her images of fashionable women are art deco classics. She lived a Bohemian life in Paris during the Roaring-20s financed by wealthy lovers and husbands. One notable image rather out of character is "The Refugees", variously dated. It was probably painted in 1937 and thus may depict Spaish Civil War refugees. She managed to get out of Poland just before the NAZI invasion and spent the War un America doing some war relief.

Mordasewicz, Kazimierz (Poland, 1859-1923)

Kazimierz Mordasewicz was born in Minsk (1859). At the time Minsk was a city of mixed ethnicity (Polish, Bylorussian, Polish, Russian, Ukranian, and Jewish) within the Tsarist Empire. After World War I abd yhe Polisg Soviet war in became a city in eastern Poland. Mordasewicz is primarily known as a portrait painter, but did some landscape, genre, and religious works mostly during his early period. As a young man he pursued a militry career. He then began an artistic career, an unusual transition. He entered the Warsaw School of Drawing (1881) and than studied under Wojciech Gerson and Aleksander Kaminski. He then entered the prestigious Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. He was first recognized for his painting, 'Christ healing the blind' (1888). He received a small gold medal and the title "kłassnyj chudożnik" second degree. Returning to Poland which was still part of the Tsarist Empire (1891). He founded a Warsaw studio portrait gallery. He received commissions from important Poles, including Henryk Sienkiewicz, Eliza Orzeszkowej, and Stefan Żeromski. He also did a portrait of Raymond Poincaré, an important French politican. Mordasewicz in addition to his paintings did illustrations. He exhibited at Towarzystwo Zachęty Sztuk Pięknych (TZSP) and Warsaw saloons (Warsaw salons Alexander Krywult and S. Kulikowski, as well as the Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych w Krakowie (The Kraków Society of Friends of Fine Arts--TPSP). He traveled an exibited in Europe (Vienna , Munich , Paris, Florence , Rome , Naples , Venice , and Switzerland). A trip to Spain left him infatuation with Velazquez. At the Universal Exhibition in Paris he recieved an award for 'Woman portrait' (1900). He favored pastels, but also with oils, ink, and watercolor. He seems to have porimarily painted portraits for well-to-do Poles within the Russian Empire. We have not found many portraits of children. A good example of his upper-class clients was a portrait of Antoni Jozef (Jontek) and his brother Karol Benedykt (Karlo) in 1912 when they were, respectively 7 and 5 years old. We know nothing about the family or two boys. This was paintged such as FRurope was going to explode in World War I. Sometime suring or after the war, Mordasewicz moved to France. He died in Paris (1923).

Striett, Franciszek (1839-90)

An important Polish arist is the impressionist Franciszek Striett (1839-90). Unfortunately we know nothing about him other than he produced some wonderful images of 19th century Polish life. Poland at the time was mostly within the Russian Empire. We have not been able to find any biographical information. We have found some information on Polish, but are unable to translate it. "Na odwrocie napis ołówkiem p.g.: F. Streitt in München | Gabelsbergarstrasse No 18 | 1 Stiege - Atelier im Rückgebaüde. Poniżej strzępek papierowej, drukowanej nalepki, na którym lakowa pieczęć z literami F S oraz stempel: A Lenck | MÜNCHEN. Ponadto numery: 24318 (ołówkiem) i 302 (kredą) i dwie papierowe nalepki z tekstem niemieckim: 1. Tekst-informacja o artyście (maszynopis); 2. Tekst-informacja o obrazie z wymienionym tytułem Der Puppendoctor (druk) z katalogu aukcji D.A. Lempertza w roku 1955 (druk).Obraz był reprodukowany w „Tygodniku Ilustrowanym“ w roku 1877 (2 półrocze, nr 96, s. 264) jako Konsylium lekarskie. Drzeworyt do reprodukcji wg rysunku Streitta wykonał M.Kluczewski, odwracając kompozycję w stosunku do oryginału.Malarz; w latach 1856 - 1866 studiował w krakowskiej Szkole Sztuk Pięknych u W. Łuszczkiewicza i J. Matejki, a następnie w Akademii wiedeńskiej u E. Engertha. W 1871 r. osiadł na stałe w Monachium, dzieląc pracownię z przyjacielem, malarzem A. Kozakiewiczem. Malował wiele, a jego obrazy cieszyły się powodzeniem, sprzedawane przez Kunsthandlerów do Anglii i Ameryki. Z Monachium wyjeżdżał do Krakowa i na Węgry. Malował głównie sceny rodzajowe, pejzaże i portrety; we wcześniejszym okresie także obrazy historyczne."

Unidentified Artists

We have archived some older Polish images on HBC, but we do not know the names of the artists. Quite a few do not appear to have been attributed. We note some paintings of Polish nobels. A good example is a Polish nobel and sons about 1650. We note a portrait of Stanislaw Tenczynski in 1634. Neither of these portraits are attributed.


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Created: 12:01 AM 4/7/2006
Last updated: 6:09 AM 10/25/2016