Summer in the country - Summer Gallery of Polish Paintings of the 19th and 20th century
July 19th, 2005 – August 21st, 2005
Summer Gallery of Polish Paintings is an occasion for presenting the most outstanding Polish painters of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century – those painters, for whom plein-air painting was only an episode and those painters, for whom studying of nature became a sense of their creation. Struggle of the artists with color and light and basic painter’s material determined a key in choosing works for the exhibition, “Summer in the country.”
Charm of this extraordinary, picturesque and full of scents season was known to the most of Polish painters, who studied it under the sun of Mazowsze, Podhale, Ukraine and also Italy and Brittany. Among them, there were artists of the older generation, like Grottger, Matejko, Kotsis and later masters of the landscape painting with Chełmoński at the head, as well as creators of Young Poland – Malczewski, Tetmajer. For many, country was a land of childhood and youth. Such countryside, but in a changed form, was later on recalled by Malczewski on his canvas.
Some of the painters continued through their whole life a tradition of “walks” around the country, initiated during the years of higher education. Professors of the Cracow and Warsaw School of Fine Arts: Władysław Łuszczkiewicz, Wojciech Gerson, Jan Stanisławski, took their students in the plein-air for studying the nature. During the fifties of the 19th century, twenty years old painters – Jan Matejko, Aleksander Kotsis – discovered by themselves Zakopane, Dolina Kościeliska and Morskie Oko. Later on, all of them consciously chose their own artistic road. Matejko, convinced about superior patriotic mission of the art, devoted himself to the historical painting and he left only one landscape painting out of his rich artistic output. Kotsis was mainly a painter of the scenic pieces, but he painted in the dark tone with a narrow gamut of the local colors – counter to the evident observations of the lovers of the Tatra Mountains and highlands.
Also, a twenty years old Juliusz Kossak began his artistic road with wandering around the south-east frontier of Poland; he spent almost six years in the hospitable manor-houses of Galicia, Podolia, Volhynia and Ukraine, where he was studying landscape, visiting many horse studs, which later on became one of the leading subjects of his creation. Ukraine was especially fascinating for Polish realist painters: Chełmoński, Masłowski, Stanisławski and Wyczółkowski, for whom contact with landscape, space, colorfulness and, above all, with the intense sun caused real revolution. Wyczółkowski, landscapist and colorist, was born just in Volhynia and Podolia.
Painters of Young Poland discovered again Tatra Mountains and Podhale, as well as folklore of Huculszczyzna, which dominated in the works of Sichulski and Pautsch. Painters of the next generations came back to the countryside to live permanently or only for the summer. Grottger was staying mainly in Vienna and Lwów but he was visiting friendly manor-houses in Śniatynka and Porębie. Masłowski, living in Warsaw permanently, was going regularly for plein-air trips in Mazowsze, while visiting friends. Matejko bought a small manor-house in the countryside in Krzesławice near Cracow. Chełmoński lived in Kuklówka near Łowicz. Krzyżanowski, who is related to Warsaw and Kiev school of painting, paints in Volhynia at the property of his wife’s parents. Tetmajer lived in Broniewice Małe at the house, which he built by himself. Artists were organizing second studios - permanent or temporary - in the summer residences.
At the exhibition, “Summer in the country”, we are presenting 37 paintings of over twenty artists (mostly mentioned above): Józef Chełmoński, Aleksander Gierymski, Artur Grottger, Juliusz Kossak, Jacek Malczewski, Stanisław Masłowski, Kazimierz Sichulski, Włodzimierz Tetmajer, Leon Wyczółkowski and others.
Curator: Marta Ertman