Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw
Plac Polski 3/4
The Academy of Fine Arts (ASP - Akademia Sztuk Pięknych) in Wroclaw was founded in the autumn of 1945. Its organizer was Eugeniusz Geppert, a graduate of Krakow's ASP. He was sent to Wroclaw by the Ministry of Culture and Art on a reconnaissance regarding setting up a new art school.
On 30 March 1946 the Ministry of Culture and Art established the State Higher School of Visual Arts. Eugeniusz Geppert was joined by a group of artist friends: Leon Dołżycki, Adam Hannytkiewicz, Emil Krcha. From the start, he was assisted in the organizational work by his wife, Hanna Krzetuska-Geppertowa. The first academic year commenced on 7 October 1946.
"At first its future specializations were not determined. After two semesters, which were a preparatory course, in June 1947 the first exhibition of students' works was shown, and that was when the general outline of the concept for the future school was presented". (Paweł Banaś "Szkice z pamieci. Monografia uczelni." Cz. I / "Sketches from Memory. A Monograph of the School." Part 1, Akademia Sztuk Pięknych, Wrocław 1996, p. 10)
The Wroclaw school assumed the profile of an artistic and applied art school. Beside the main courses such as ceramics, glass and interior design, painting and sculpture were equally important. The faculty gathered by Geppert included artists with diverse interests. There was no domination of colourists in Wroclaw as was the case in Krakow, Gdansk, Warsaw and Poznan. Wroclaw teachers were more inclined to invoke surrealism, the work of Miro and Klee.
The school structures were developed in 1948-49. For the first two years of studies, the students had to attend the General Faculty. Apart from this, there were specialist faculties: Painting and Architectural Sculpture, and Spatial Arts with the following specializations: glass, house fittings, and metalwork.
The changes in state policies in the late 1940's did not bypass the Wroclaw school. In 1949, it received the name School of Visual Arts. The leading discipline at the Wroclaw school was glass and ceramics. At this time, many teachers from Warsaw moved to Wroclaw. One can speak of a significant influence of Warsaw circles on the image of the Wroclaw school. These teachers included Andrzej Will, Stanisław Pękalski, Borys Michalowski, Władysław Pawelka, Maria and Stanisław Dawski, Halina Jastrzębowska, Stanisław Ptaszyński, Henryk Albin Tomaszewski, Rudolf Krzywiec and Julia Kotarbińska. The artists from Warsaw continued in Wroclaw what they head learned from their pre-war masters: Józef Czajkowski, Wojciech Jastrzębowski and Karol Tichy.
The faculty changed in the 1950's. Leon Dołżycki and Emil Krcha moved to Krakow. Ceramics artists linked to Warsaw's LAD COOPERATIVE arrived: Julia Kotarbińska and Rudolf Krzywiec. Krakow art historian Karol Estreicher began lectures on art history. In 1959 Xawery Dunikowski became a teacher of sculpture, and remained at the school until his death.
Professor Stanisław Dawski was a unique person in the Wroclaw school's history. He became rector in 1952. Reconstruction of the school's building, destroyed during the war, lasted almost until the end of his term (until 1964). Dawski reinforced the glass, ceramics and interior design studios. A separate Faculty of Ceramics and Glass was set up in 1957. Dawski also contributed to the founding of a photography studio, which was headed by Bronisław Kupiec. His aim was to educate students in both applied and "pure" arts.
"Dawski was undoubtedly an excellent, very demanding teacher and organizer, and also a promoter of his students' achievements. He was good at stimulating their ambitions and forced them to compete. There were years at the school when there were more graduation certificates with honours than ones with plain very good marks. The successes of a great many of his students were unquestionable, and led to the birth of the myth of the 'Wroclaw School of S' (S standing for 'szklo' [glass])". (Paweł Banaś "Szkice z pamięci. Monografia uczelni." Cz. I / "Sketches from Memory. A Monograph of the School." Part 1, Akademia Sztuk Pięknych, Wrocław 1996, p. 12-13)
Graduates of the 1950's included Natalia Lach-Lachowicz, Andrzej Lachowicz and Michał Diament. This was also when the work of Waldemar Cwenarski was first seen; the artist died very young, before completing his studies.
The school's rector in the 1960's was Stanisław Pękalski, a painter and stained-glass window designer. The Faculty of Painting and Graphic Arts was created as a separate faculty. The Industrial Design Department was formed, headed by Krzysztof Meisner. After Pękalski, Tadeusz Forowicz, an interior and furniture designer, became rector in 1967, and continued running the school until 1981. During this time, the departments of Visual Knowledge and Graphic Arts were set up, the latter headed in 1969-75 by Maciej Urbaniec, a graphic artist and a graduate of Warsaw's ASP.
The activeness of the Wroclaw community is proved by the formation in 1961 of the "Wroclaw School" (from 1967 this was the WROCLAW GROUP). At its core were PWSSP graduates and teachers connected with Eugeniusz Geppert: Jerzy Boroń, Jan Chwałczyk, Kazimierz Głaz, Jerzy Rosołowicz, Małgorzata Grabowska, Marian Nowak, and others.
In the early 1970's, a group of female graduates of the PWSSP formed the 10 X TAK / 10 X YES Group. It included artists involved in textile art: Maria Andryszczak, Maria Białowolska-Moroń, Maria Bogucka, Zofia Godlewska. They held workshops at the carpet factory in Kowary every year.
Teachers in the 1970's included Eugeniusz Geppert, Władysław Kamiński, Wanda Gołkowska, Zbigniew Karpiński, Alfons Mazurkiewicz, Konrad Jarodzki, Józef Hałas, Zofia Artymowska, Janusz Kaczmarski and Władysław Hasior.
The 1980's brought more important changes to the school's structure. The previously closed-down Faculty of Ceramics and Glass was re-established in 1980. After 1984, the school was divided into three faculties that continue to this day. The political situation in Poland and the emergence of Solidarity also changed the school. Most of the teachers and students became involved in the Solidarity movement. As a consequence, the first democratic election of the rector was held. The winner was Jan J. Aleksiun. During this time the school established effective cooperation with industry, theatre and television. The Faculty of Painting grew as well, headed by Józef Hałas from 1981.
In 1986-1996 the school was granted buildings in Polski Square and at 19/21 Traugutta Street. It became the Academy of Fine Arts in 1996.
Today the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw has three autonomous faculties: Interior Design and Industrial Design, Painting, Graphic Arts and Sculpture, and Ceramics and Glass. The rector is Prof. Jacek Szewczyk.
"Szkice z pamieci. Monografia uczelni. Cz. I" / "Sketches from Memory. A Monograph of the School. Part 1", Akademia Sztuk Pięknych, Wrocław 1996; the school's website.
ul. Plac Polski 3/4
Phone: (+48 71) 343 80 31-34, 343 84 51
Fax: (+48 71) 343 15 58
Plac Polski 3/4