Krakow, May 2009: Predictably, my eye scanned for unusual things, patterns, objects that are out of place or simply beckon for attention. And so it was, while waiting for a train at the main station of Krakow, across from the Andels Hotel, I had time to kill and needed some change. There was a bric-a-brac style antique store on the upper floor of the train station called “Galeris u adama antyki.” The room was huge—perhaps 60 feet long with 15 foot ceilings. On one side were tall windows—normal, we were in a pre-1940 train station!—and the other three walls were covered floor to ceiling with gaudy, garish, moody, dark, overdone or underdone landscapes, portraits and god-knows-what. From the corner of my eye, in the midst of this cacophony called ‘art’, a small beige abstraction in a simple tan frame caught my eye—a stand-out, a perfect anomaly hanging in the upper right corner, impossible to reach except by ladder.
I asked the owner who spoke bare English whom the artist was. He told me Maria Ender. How much? The equivalent of 400 dollars in cold cash, which I did not have to spend at that point. Too bad… Saddened by my unrequited find, I later did some research into Maria Ender. She was born in Leningrad and died there in 1942 during the Siege. All I could wonder is: how did one of her “avant-garde” pieces end up in a Krakow train station antique bric-a-brac? Who knows?
|The Flower Girl, Mojzesz Kisling|
Source: Silesian Museum
The permanent collection of 19th and 20th century paintings is housed on the 2nd floor of the Slaskie. Each room is guarded, if one can say that, by an aged female Cerberus. They look like they are sleeping but they actually follow you from the corner of their eyes. Very efficient and very intimidating…
|Sulamitka (Dama z wachlarzem), Maurycy Gottlieb|
Here is an incomplete list of those artists:
- Jadwiga Bohdanowicz-Konczewska, died in 1943—sculptress who studied in France with Antoine Bourdelle.
- Olga Boznanska, died in 1940,
- Stanislas Kamocki, died in 1944, in Zakopane.—influenced by Jacek Malczewski and Leon Wyszolkowski. Taught at an art school in the village of Poronin near Zakopane.
- Roman Kramsztyk, died in 1942 in the Warsaw Ghetto—qualified as a Polish Expressionist. Part of the Friends of Fine Arts Society, Krakow. Linked to Tadeus Pruszowski and Eugene Zak. Had studied in Paris before returning to his native homeland in the 1930s.
- Edward Okun, died in 1945.
- Jozef Pankiweicz, Impressionist-like, died in 1940,
- Tadeus Pruszkowski, died in 1942. He belonged to the Warsaw School and the Fourth Group and taught at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, and was a member of the Rhythm Group (1922-1932).
- Michal Rouba, died in Wilno in 1941.—His ‘Landscape of Mlyn, 1927’, is very much in the spirit of Soutine’s curvy landscapes. Studied in Krakow, but worked and lived in Wilno.
- Jan Rubczak, died on 27 May 1942 at Auschwitz—arrested by the Gestapo in April 1942 at a Krakow café with a group of artists.
- Henryk Szczyglinski, died in 1944, born in Lodz, died in Warsaw.
- Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, died in 1939.
- Feliks Michal Wygrzywalski, died in Rzeszow in 1944—a realist/orientalist painter trained in Munich.
- Kasper Zelechowski, died in 1942.—studied in Krakow.