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Leon Wyczółkowski

Leon Wyczółkowski, Self-portrait in flat cup, photo: CC / Wikimedia
Leon Wyczółkowski, Self-portrait in flat cap, photo: CC / Wikimedia

An exceptional painter, graphic artist, and sculptor; born 1852, died 1936.

His work continues to generate tremendous interest and is by some considered among the most outstanding art to be created in Poland at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Between 1869 and 1875 Wyczółkowski was a student of the Drawing Classes of Wojciech Gerson in Warsaw. He continued his education in Munich under Aleksander Wagner and between 1877 and 1879 was a student of Jan Matejko at Krakow's School of Fine Arts. Wyczółkowski went on to be professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow and in the 30's headed the graphic design faculty at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He was the co-founder and member of the Sztuka / Art Society of Polish Artists and received numerous awards and distinctions throughout his career. He was one of Poland's best graphic artists, achieving unparalleled mastery of the technique of lithography.

Initially his compositions were romantic and historical in subject matter. The voyage he took to Paris in 1889 proved especially important to Wyczółkowski, as it was on this occasion that he was exposed to the work of the Impressionists. As a result, the artist became deeply interested in matters of light and color, and he shifted his focus to seeking out the lighting effects he could achieve in his paintings. It was at this time that he created some of his best works, including Orka na Ukrainie / Plowing in Ukraine (1892), Kopanie burakow / Digging for Beats (1893), Gra w krokieta / A Game of Croquet (1895), and his series titled Glowy rybaka / Fisherman's Heads, consisting of over 30 works.

Wyczolkowski's style changed after 1900. He began to paint vast numbers of landscapes (including monumental views of the Tatra Mountains), portraits, genre scenes, still lifes, flowers, cityscapes, and views of artistic and historical monuments. His paintings additionally manifest a highly emotional attitude towards nature and the theme of the family.

Leon Wyczółkowski, Spring, 1931, in collection of National Museum in Bydgoszcz, photo: CC / Wikimedia
Leon Wyczółkowski, Spring, 1931, in collection of National Museum in Bydgoszcz, photo: CC / Wikimedia

Wyczolkowski's vast output as a graphic artist is essentially unparalleled in Polish art as he constantly sought out and experimented with new printing methods. He was able to achieve highly subtle visual effects in various techniques, using white and black to extract delicate, even impressionistic nuances of light. He published his prints in a series of thematic portfolios, which include Tatry / The Tatras (1906), Teka litewska / Lithuanian Portfolio (1907), Gdansk (1909), Teka huculska / East Carpathian Portfolio (1910), Wawel (1911-12), and Stara Warszawa / Old Warsaw (1916).
 

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Culture.pl
2003/02/03
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Leon Wyczółkowski

Articles

From 2014 to 2016, the National Museum in Warsaw's collections have been greatly enriched with a number of precious works. Most were bought or donated, while historical treasures lost during World War II returned to the museum as well. To mark the occasion, the museum has created a special new show. Read more about: A Priceless New Collection at the National Museum in Warsaw

Herman Vogel, Shepherds on Hala Królowa, 1871, photo: Polish Scientific Publishers PWN

Sztuki Piękne pod Tatrami (Fine Arts on the Tatra Foothills) is a 500-page album about the most important Polish artists inspired by the area's mountain landscapes and folklore, and the first such in-depth guide to the Tatra area's pre-war history. Who would you have met on the 19th-century trail? Read more about: The Peak of Artistry: Painters from Zakopane and the Tatra Mountains

Some of the curators of The Anything Goes Museum, photo: promo materials / MNW

The Anything Goes Museum is a museological and educational experiment sure to challenge our pre-conceptions about what museums can do. In an unusual move, it puts children in charge of preparing the main temporary exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw. Read more about: Children Curate Innovative New Warsaw Exhibition

Raphael, or Raffaello Santi (1483-1520), Portrait of a Young Man, 1514, oil on wood, 75 x 59 cm, courtesy of the Czartoryski Museum, photo: kolekcje.mkidn.gov.p

The works of art which were confiscated, stolen, or burnt on Polish territory between 1939 and 1945 number hundreds of thousands. Here, we haven't written about those which were destroyed and lost forever, but instead focus on the ones which still exist somewhere, and remain to be found. Read more about: 22 Precious Works of Art That Vanished During World War II

Raphael, or Raffaello Santi (1483-1520), Portrait of a Young Man, 1514, oil on wood, 75 x 59 cm, courtesy of the Czartoryski Museum, photo: kolekcje.mkidn.gov.p

The works of art which were confiscated, stolen, or burnt on Polish territory between 1939 and 1945 number hundreds of thousands. Here, we haven't written about those which were destroyed and lost forever, but instead focus on the ones which still exist somewhere, and remain to be found. Read more about: 22 Precious Works of Art That Vanished During World War II

Leon Wyczółkowski

Events

29oct'15
31jan'16
Poster for Forever Young! in Vilnius, photo: Marcin Łapczyński / Twitter

Forever Young is a traveling exhibition launched in 2012 by the National Museum in Kraków. It is now on display at the Vilnius Picture Gallery and will be on until 31st January 2016. The exhibition is dedicated to the Young Poland era, a period around 1900 which still fascinates art lovers. Read more about: Forever Young! The Art of Young Poland in Vilnius

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