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Zdzisław Beksiński

Zdzisław Beksiński (24 February 1929 – 21 February 2005) was a renowned Polish painter,photographer, and sculptor. Beksiński executed his paintings and drawings either in what he called a ‘Baroque’ or a ‘Gothic’ manner. The first style is dominated by representation, with the best-known examples coming from his ‘fantastic realism‘ period when he painted disturbing images of a surrealistic, nightmarish environment. The artist had many exhibitions throughout his native Poland and Europe. He rarely attended any of them.

Beksiński finished secondary school and high school in Sanok, then started studies at The Faculty of Architecture at The Cracow Polytechnic in 1947. After finishing studies in 1952, he had to stay in Cracow then moved to Rzeszow owing to his work permit. He spent several years as a construction site supervisor, a job he hated, fraught with pressures and countless boring details. He returned to Sanok in 1955. Beksinski pursued photography in his home town. He preceded many creations of the European avant-garde and proved to be an independent and innovative creator. He also delved in to sculpting in this time.

He also delved into abstract art which was dominating the world at the time. In Poland it had become a strong reaction against the state imposed social realism. Beksiński followed his own path in abstration, distinct from dominant trends. His sculptures were however figurative and pointed towards his future painting style. His departure from abstract art to figurative was abrupt. This expressive and drastic art is what gained him many admirers.

Beksinski’s artwork drew attention of contemporary president of AICA and a director of the Guggenheim Museum in New York, who offerd a six-month scholarship in USA to him. The artist being already focused on his own creative path, remained in Sanok not wanting to be distracted from his own explorations. The exhibition at the Old Orangery in Warsaw, organized by Janusz Bogucki in 1964, became the first significant success for his art.

The second style is more abstract, being dominated by form, and is typified by Beksiński’s later paintings. Beksiński was murdered in 2005.

Museums

Bekinski’s art hangs in the National Museums Warsaw, Sanok, Crakow, Poznan, and the Goteborgs Art Museum in Sweden.

An exhibition of Zdzisław Beksiński’s works in the Częstochowa City Art Gallery took place in 1994. Nine years later, 49 oil paintings were borrowed from the Sanok History Museum. The exhibition was opened on 14 February 2003 and proved to very successful with the younger generations. Owing to the success of the exhibition and discussions between the Częstochowa mayor and Beksiński’s friend, collector and art dealer, Piotr Dmochowski and his wife Anna, the concept of a permanent exhibition of his work came into being. Thanks to Mr and Mrs Dmochowski, a collection of 50 paintings and drawings form the basis of the Zdzisław Beksiński Museum.

Sources

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