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GALLERY IN THE PERMANENT REPRESENTATION
Between 2012 and 2015, the Permanent Representation of Poland to the Council of Europe hosted in its premises an art galery consisting of seven oil paintings from the collection of the National Museum in Poznań, Poland. We presented paintings (still lifes and landscape arts) dating from the second half of 20th century by four Polish painters who followed the postimpressionistic tradition:
Artur Nacht-Samborski (1898 – 1974)
Piotr Potworowski (1898 – 1962)
Józef Flieger (1922 – 1989)
Andrzej Kurzawski (1928 – 2012)
Artur Nacht-Samborski and Piotr Potworowski, students of Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, co-organised the “Paris Committee” established in 1924. This was a group of students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków who went to Paris searching for inspiration for their art. They were not looking for modernity nor were they interested in Picasso’s art. They did not pay attention to the nascent surrealist movement. Rather, with their professor Józef Pankiewicz, they were visiting the Louvre Museum in order to discover the secrets of painting. Inspired by impressionism, they analysed the form made by colour, regardless of subject. They had planned to spend seven weeks in Paris, but ultimately spent seven years there.
Nacht-Samborski came back do Poland in 1939. He spent a year in the Lviv ghetto in 1941 - 1942. In 1942 he managed to escape to Kraków and then to Warsaw where he went into hiding under the alias “Stefan Samborski”.
Nacht-Samoborski was the author of several still lifes, landscapes and acts. However, ‘potted fig tree leaves’ were his favourite topic. The play of light, the changing colours, the effects of the paint’s texture all inspired him. He showed that technique was more important than the subject.
Potworowski, after his participation in the September 1939 Campaign, went into hiding in a village by the Bug River. He then moved to Sweden and eventually to Great Britain where he remained. His painting was appreciated there and he became a professor at the Bath Academy in Cornwall.
In post-war London Potworowski again came into contact with modern art and this time he did not stay indifferent to it. His landscapes started do diverge from realism, becoming more a vision of landscapes. In time, he felt that paint was not enough. He started pasting pieces of sacking and wood to his paintings. He came back to Poland in 1958 as a modern artist who had drifted away from the Parisian ideals.
Both Nacht-Samborski and Potworowski greatly influenced a new generation of artists at the Academies of Fine Arts in Kraków and Warsaw, after they came back to their homeland.
A younger generation of artists is represented in our gallery by Józef Flieger and Andrzej Kurzawski, graduates of what is now the University of Fine Arts in Poznań. They did not pay attention to the artistic revolutions of 20th century, they just painted. Oil paint on square canvas was there preferred medium. Abstract art did not seduce them; they painted still lifes and landscapes.
For many years Flieger and Kurzawski were devoted to the concept of painting as a record of visible reality. They often returned to the same subjects, using various painting techniques.
Information based on an article by Włodzimierz Nowaczyk (December 2012)