Polish painter and draftsman; representative of the Colorist movement of the 1930s. Born 1897 in St. Petersburg, died 1936 in Warsaw.
Polish painter and draftsman; representative of the Colorist movement of the 1930s. Born 1897, St. Petersburg, died 1936, Warsaw.
Waliszewski spent his childhood in Georgia and its capital, Tbilisi, where he began his studies in drawing and painting under the tutelage of N. Sklifasowski and B. Vogel. During World War I he fought in the ranks of the Russian Army, returning to Tbilisi in 1917. He visited Moscow several times and became acquainted with the art of the Mira Isskustva group and the great collections of French paintings of Sergey Shchukin and Ivan Morozov. He became a member of a Futurist group and learned the tenets of avant-garde art. Toward the end of the 1920s he departed for Poland by sea, traveling through Turkey and Greece, and settled in Kraków in 1921.
Between 1921 and 1924 he studied at Kraków's Academy of Fine Arts in the studios of Wojciech Weiss and Józef Pankiewicz. In 1924 he went to Paris in the company of the members of the Paris Committee and continued his studies in painting there under the guidance of Pankiewicz. He was a participant in the Capists' (from Paris Committee) plein-air painting workshops in Cagnes, Valence, Cap Martin, and Avignon. At the Louvre he painted copies and travesties of the works of old masters like Titian, Veronese, Velasquez, Vermeer, Goya, and Delacroix. He was also fascinated by the art of Cézanne, van Gogh, and Matisse. He participated in the first Capist exhibition at the Galerie Zak in Paris (1930) and took part in a presentation of the group's art organized somewhat later at the Galerie Moos in Geneva (1931). In 1931 he returned to Poland, residing for durations in Warsaw, Krzeszowice, and Kraków. He exhibited his work in Warsaw at the Polish Artistic Club and salons organized by the Institute for Art Propaganda (1930, 1931, 1933, 1936). He also showed his work at the galleries of the Friends of the Fine Arts Societies in Krakow, as well as in Lvov, Poznan, and Łódź. In 1935 and 1936, he decorated the ceiling of the Kurza Stopka (Chicken's Foot) Tower at Wawel Castle in Kraków.
The work Waliszewski did while in Tbilisi (1917-1921) was influenced by French painting of the time - significant amounts of which he saw in various private collections - and by the art of the Russian avant-garde. During this time Waliszewski designed scenery and posters, created book illustrations, drew and painted caricatures and grotesque scenes. In Krakow he befriended the Formists, with whom he shared a tendency to accentuate the structure of his paintings and to render natural forms geometrically. He painted primarily portraits and figural compositions with a grotesque flavor (W loży / In the Loggia, 1922) and landscapes of the villages of Mory and Kazimierz. Believing that a new vitality could be extracted from primitive art, he also looked to common crafts and folk art for stylistic patterns.
His early oil paintings, created while he was in Cagnes (1925), were characterized by thickly applied materials, dark color schemes, a flatness characteristic of the decorative arts, and rhythmic composition. In his still lifes dating from 1929-1931 harmonized pure hues enliven otherwise contrasting cold and warm colors and areas of color laid with a high degree of freedom define forms. These works exhibit the recognizable inspiration of Odilon Redon and his phenomenal and highly decorative images of flower bouquets.
Waliszewski painted numerous views of Warsaw and Cracow, showed a partiality to portraits and a fascination for nudes (Akt w kapeluszu / Nude in Hat, 1934). Contrary to other Capists he did not avoid the descriptiveness inherent in drawing and literary narration in painting. His series Uczty renesansowe / Renaissance Feasts consists of pastiches of the monumental compositions of Paolo Veronese. He composed often fantastic, Comedia dell'arte inspired scenes and numerous variations on the motif of Don Quixote. He filled his paintings with humor, comic situations, derision, and irony, and was quick to paraphrase, travesty, and render theatrical the styles of various periods and iconographic and literary motifs. In the series Arlekiny / Harlequins, Pierroty / Pierrots, Nimfy / Nymphs, Balzakowie / Balzacs, and Wyspy Miłości / Isles of Love, he subjected the visible world to grotesque stylization. Using small, choppy brushstrokes, he painted flat, decorative compositions that vibrate with pure colors and are characterized by symbolic portrayals of figures and objects additionally outlined with light contours.
Author: Irena Kossowska, Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Science, December 2001