Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays

Raoul Dufy, Sailor
Lithograph with pochoir colouring, 1920

after Guillaume Apollinaire, Prière

When I was a small child
My mother dressed me in blue and white
O Blessed Virgin
Do you still love me
I know
I will love you
To my dying day
Even if it’s all over
And I don’t believe in heaven or hell
I don’t believe I don’t believe any more
That seaman who was saved
Because he never once forgot
To say his Hail Mary
Was like me was like me

translation © Neil Philip 2011

Raoul Dufy, Amphitrite
Etching, 1930

I wish all my readers a merry Christmas, a happy Hannukah, and a peaceful and healthy New Year. I promise I will resume regular posts when circumstances allow. In the meantime I hope you enjoy these two prints by one of my favourite artists, Raoul Dufy, paired with a poem by his friend Guillaume Apollinaire.

Monday, October 31, 2011

John Piper: Lithographs of Devizes

John Piper's topographical paintings and prints offer an unparalleled record of mid twentieth-century Britain. While at one point in the 1930s Piper was poised to be one of the leaders of English abstraction, his sudden reversal to representational art in 1938 came just in time for him to re-evaluate both the natural and the built landscape at a time when both were under threat. The three lithographs in this post were made for an article by John Piper in The Cornhill in November 1944, entitled Topographical Letter from Devizes, and form a loving record of the market town of Devizes in Wiltshire, "this most ordinary of English towns". The Cornhill magazine was edited by Peter Quennell; this issue also includes contributions by John Betjeman, Osbert Lancaster, Alan Moorhead,  Elizabeth Bowen and others.

John Piper, Devizes: In Long Street (Levinson 57A)
Lithograph, 1944

Piper writes of Devizes with great fondness, celebrating "its good minor architecture, magnificent museum (contents, not building), brewery and tobacco factory (sensible, small-scale manufactures for such a town), branch-line railway, good inns and bars, hotels that are not over Trust-worthy, fair churches and chapels, canal of handsome appearance, sensible plan, bracing air, good-looking inhabitants, cinemas (old-fashioned and super, the super not ostentatious). Disadvantages: lack of second-hand bookshops, absence of sylvan walks, and the wind. It's hard to think of any others."

John Piper, Devizes: The Market Place (Levinson 57B)
Lithograph, 1944

"And so, taking coffee and a bun over the baker and confectioner's, next door but two to W. H. Smith & Son's, while the east wind blows across the Market Place, one looks out of the window on to a rarity: an English town that has not been spoiled and has not been preserved artificially."

John Piper, Avebury Restored (Levinson 57C)
Lithograph, 1944

The lithographs were printed by Butler and Tanner on what Orde Levinson, author of the catalogue raisonné of Piper's prints, calls "standard quality machine-made lithographic cartridge paper". They were printed back to back, so one can display either Devizes: The Market Place or the other two, but not all at once. Piper must have been particularly pleased with the four panel, two page Devizes: The Market Place, because he reworked it at a larger size and with much brighter colour for the double-page frontispiece and title page for his book Buildings and Prospects in 1948.

I apologize to my readers for such a long gap between posts; circumstances mean that I have little time to devote to this blog at the moment, so although I have many new posts planned, their appearance will be sporadic.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keeping Impressionism at bay

The French art critic Léon Roger-Milès is best-known today for his 1897 book Art et Nature, which included original etchings by Pissarro, Renoir, Besnard, and Renouard among other Impressionist delights. So I was interested to acquire a copy of the only book of poems by Roger-Milès, Les Veillées Noires (Gloomy Evenings), published in 1889 by Paul Ollendorf, in an edition of 400 copies. I knew it was illustrated with original etchings. Surely it also would be full of Impressionist masterpieces. Well, not quite. Instead, Les Veillées Noires is an object lesson in looking down the wrong end of the telescope. That's not to say the etchings - brilliantly interpreted and printed by Auguste and Eugène Delâtre - aren't good. Some of them are fantastic. But the artists chosen by Roger-Milès to illustrate this milestone book are a roll-call of talented men who missed out on their place in art history by sticking with the academic aesthetic of the Salon de Paris and turning their backs on the artquake of Impressionism.

Auguste Delâtre (1822-1907), Tristesse
Etching with aquatint, 1889

What sparked this line of thought is the ink inscription in my copy from Roger-Milès "à Monsieur Albert Wolff, hommage respectieux". Now German-born Albert Abraham Wolff (1835-1891) was, from 1868, the principal art critic of Le Figaro, and therefore perhaps the most influential arbiter of artistic taste in France. And Albert Wolff was the most ferocious and vituperative critic of Impressionism. He wrote of the Second Impressionist Exhibition of 1876, "These so-called artists take  canvases, paint, and brushes, fling a few colours here and there, and add a signature." He described the Impressionists as "lunatics" whose work was the result of "human vanity stretched to the verge of dementia". So what would he have made of Les Veillées Noires? He might have been a tad alarmed by the very first etching he saw, Tristesse by Auguste Delâtre, with its murky aquatint sky, but he would have been reassured by Delâtre's peerless reputation as a printer of etchings. Auguste Delâtre was one of the central figures in the nineteenth-century etching revival in France. He started out as a technician in the printing atelier of Charles Jacque and Louis Marvy. He then bought Jacque's two etching presses and established his own atelier in rue Saint-Jacques. There Auguste Delâtre established himself as the foremost printer of etchings. He was entrusted with the printing of the work of Barbizon artists such as Charles Jacque, Daubigny, and Millet, and also with printing the etchings of Old Masters from surviving plates. He also printed the etchings for the journal Paris à l'eau-forte, and co-founded the Société des Aquafortistes with Cadart. Auguste Delâtre had nearly as strong an influence in England. In 1862 he was invited by Henry Cole of the V&A to set up an etching school and a printworks. When his print studio with all its precious contents was obliterated by a Prussian shell in 1870, Delâtre returned to England, where Edwin Edwards provided him with presses and he once again took pupils and also made his own paintings and etchings. After five years, Auguste Delâtre returned to France where he re-founded his studio, now working in tandem with his son Eugène Delâtre (1864-1938). And it was Auguste and Eugène who were responsible not just for printing the etchings, but for translating the artists' drawings onto the etching plates, either in pure etching or aquatint.

Louis Deschamps (1846-1902), Jumeaux
Etching by Eugène Delâtre, 1889

Wolff may also have been reassured by the dedication to "mon cher Maître François Coppée", a conservative poet who would be completely forgotten now but for the brilliant parodies of him by Rimbaud and Verlaine, which were tauntingly published under the name François Coppée and are now acknowledged as that poet's finest work. And not only that, almost all the artists chosen were stalwarts of the Salon, and quite a few of them (for instance Louis Deschamps, Eugène Thirion and Léon Comerre) had studied in the ultra-conservative atelier of Alexandre Cabanel at the École des Beaux-Arts. To give a sense of historical perspective, in 1876 Cabanel's painting Le poète florentin sold at auction for 56,000 francs, while a Monet struggled to fetch a few hundred.

Henri Jules Jean Geoffroy (1853-1924), Sans pain
Etching by Auguste Delâtre, 1889

As Albert Wolff turned the pages, he would have been reassured by the solid draughtsmanship, the classical perspectives, and the familiar subject matter of the images.

Alexandre Homo (1840 -1889 ), Cimetière
Etching by Auguste Delâtre, 1889

Intimations of Symbolism in the work of Henner, Bourdelle, and Thirion would probably not have worried Wolff overmuch. Nor the Art Nouveau stylings of the great ceramicist Taxile Doat.

Jean-Jacques Henner (1829-1905), La nymphe qui pleure
Etching with aquatint by Auguste Delâtre, 1889

Émile Antoine Bourdelle (1861-1929). L'amour agonisé
Etching by Auguste Delâtre, 1889

Jean Benner (1836-1909), Alsacienne
Etching by Eugène Delâtre, 1889

Taxile Doat (1851-1939), L'accord
Etching by Eugène Delâtre, 1889

Eugène Thirion (1839-1910), L'épave du vengeur
Etching by Eugène Delâtre, 1889

The second etching by Geoffroy shows how elegantly both Delâtres, father and son, mimicked the style of the artist whose work they were interpreting. You can tell straight away it is the same artist; you can't tell it is a different etcher. And who is that well-dressed man with the hat and the cane, walking past the unfortunate beggars? My guess is that it is a portrait of Léon Roger-Milès.

Henri Jules Jean Geoffroy (1853-1924), Les infortunés
Etching by Eugène Delâtre, 1889

Léon Comerre (1850-1916), Les triolets de Colombine
Etching by Eugène Delâtre, 1889

Wolff might have been worried, though, by Auguste Pointelin's Prière du soir. This twilight scene, brilliantly interpreted by Auguste Delâtre in subtly-gradated greys, is about as Impressionist as you can get without changing your name to Monet or Pissarro. So far as I know Pointelin had no direct connections with the Impressionists, but he certainly saw and was influenced by their work.

Auguste Emmanuel Pointelin (1839-1933), Prière du soir
Etching with aquatint by Auguste Delâtre, 1889

I suppose what I am getting at in this post, in a roundabout sort of way, is that the artists who didn't go down the Impressionist path are not negligible, or risible. They simply guessed the course of art history wrong. They felt safe with the aesthetics they were taught by Cabanel and others like him, and just like poor old Albert Wolff, couldn't appreciate the renewed vision offered by the Impressionists. Wolff now seems like a figure of fun, with his bluff and bluster and his complete inability to understand what now seems to us unmistakable beauty. But there were many like him in the day, and they included quite a few talented artists. What stopped Jean-Jacques Henner from being Renoir? Maybe it was as simple as being 12 years older. But he was still a fine artist, and his weeping nymph, Pointelin's twilight prayer, and Auguste Delâtre's own vision of sadness are my three favourites of this mixed bunch of etchings. All three demonstrate Auguste Delâtre's wonderful mastery of aquatint.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Carl-Heinz Kliemann: the Genesis of a Neo-Expressionist

The great pre-Nazi flowering of German Expressionism is so striking a cultural phenomenon that it is tempting to feel that the whole movement was crushed under the jackboot, never to revive. But of course art has its underground streams that re-emerge when the conditions are right, and so the aesthetics of Expressionism found a new flowering in Germany post WWII. If I use the term Neo-Expressionist to define the art of Carl-Heinz Kliemann, it is only to mark this generational divide - otherwise, his work seems to me completely in line with that of the pre-war Expressionists. Two of these, Max Kaus and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff, were his teachers at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Berlin from 1945-1950. My colour woodcuts by Carl-Heinz Kliemann were made in 1962 for an edition of the Book of Genesis published by Käthe Vogt Verlag. They show the influence of Picasso, for sure, and also Matisse I think, but they are wonderfully confident and expressive works. 2000 copies were printed, with text on the verso which I think is a shame, but the paper is high quality, and thick enough to mean there is no show-through.

Carl-Heinz Kliemann, Eve and the serpent
Woodcut, 1962

Carl-Heinz Kliemann, The daughters of Lot
Woodcut, 1962

Carl-Heinz Kliemann, Sarai and Hagar
Woodcut, 1962

Carl-Heinz Kliemann, Potiphar's wife
Woodcut, 1962

Carl-Heinz Kliemann, Rebekah at the well
Woodcut, 1962

Carl-Heinz Kliemann, Jacob wrestling with God
Woodcut, 1962

The painter and printmaker Carl-Heinz Kliemann was born in Berlin in 1924. In 1950 Kliemann won the Kunstpreis der Stadt Berlin für Grafik; in 1955 he won the Preis des Modernen Museums in the international Grafik-Biennale in Ljubljana; in 1958 he won the Villa-Romana-Preis. In 1966 Carl-Heinz Kliemann was appointed professor in the Department of Painting and Graphics at the University of Karlsruhe, where he taught for 12 years. Carl-Heinz Kliemann has had many exhibitions both in Germany and internationally. The latest was "Der Maler in der Landschaft", a celebration of his 80th birthday at the Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin in 2004. Die Graphik von Carl-Heinz Kliemann by Eberhard Roters was published in 1991.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The unspoiled Balearics: Francisque de Saint-Etienne

Francisque de Saint-Étienne was born in Montpellier in 1824. A landscape painter and etcher, Saint-Étienne was a pupil of Jules Laurens. He exhibited at the Salon de Paris from 1857-1863, also exhibiting four landscape etchings at the International Exhibition in London in 1862. He also published etchings with Cadart's Société des Aquafortistes. My etching dates from 1860, and is I think fairly representative of his work. It shows the untamed wildness of the Balearic island of Formentera, before any thought of today's tourism.

Francisque de Saint-Étienne, Formentera
Etching, 1860

In 1863 Francisque de Saint-Étienne returned to Montpellier from Paris, and ceased to send work for exhibition in the capital, exhibiting only in the regional exhibitions of the Société artistique de l'Hérault. His name is sometimes spelled Francisc de Saint-Étienne; his true name was Louis Francisc Hippolyte Bessodes de Roquefeuille. He died in Montpellier in 1885.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A female etcher of the Second Empire: Frederique Emilie O'Connell

A good artistic quiz question would be: What nationality was Frédérique Émilie O'Connell? The answer is neither French nor Irish, but German. The painter and etcher Frédérique Émilie Auguste O'Connell, née Miethe, was born in Potsdam in 1823 and died in Paris in 1885. An early devotion to drawing marked her out for an artistic career, and at the age of 18 she went to Berlin to study under Charles Joseph Bégas. She then continued her studies in Brussels, where she married in 1844. In 1853 she settled in Paris, establishing an atelier in Montmartre. Frédérique Émilie O'Connell threw herself with fervour into the artistic and social life of Paris, and her salon was frequented by writers as well as artists, notably Alexandre Dumas fils and Théophile Gautier. She also took many female students, and the prospectus of her course of studies is given in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 15 Novembre 1859.

Frédérique Émilie O'Connell: Prospectus of studies

She exhibited at the Paris Salon from 1846 to 1868. The collapse of the Second Empire in 1870 was also the end of Frédérique Émilie O'Connell's artistic career, as the demand for society portraits dwindled. Abandoned by both her husband and her society friends, Frédérique Émilie O'Connell lost her grip on reality, and spent her final years in a mental hospital, forgotten and alone. This sad end eclipsed what had been a glittering career for this pioneering woman artist. Frédérique Émilie O'Connell is now remembered less for her portraits and history paintings than for her skill as an etcher. Although she made only 10 etchings in all, they are a remarkable body of work. She made her first etchings in Brussels in 1849; the last, a self-portrait, was published by L'Artiste in 1879, though probably executed well before that (the other 9 were already catalogued by Philippe Burty in 1860). Burty's favourite among O'Connell's etchings was the Tête de sainte Madeleine published by the Gazette des Beaux-Arts in 1860. He writes of this work (which is also known simply as Tête de femme), that it is "the most beautiful work ever etched by Mme O'Connell. The swagger of the effect, and the sureness of the line make this sketch a masterful etching worthy of the greatest Flemish masters."

Frédérique Émilie O'Connell, Tête de sainte Madeleine
Etching, c.1849

One thing that is hard to convey in this format is how tiny this etching is - just 80 mm high and 50 mm wide (roughly 3" by 2"). The rest of her etchings are more generous in size, but the small proportions of the Tête de Sainte Madeleine emphasise both the delicacy and panache of her etched line. As with many etchers of the time, Frédérique Émilie O'Connell looked to Rembrandt as the greatest exponent of the art of etching, and her work mimics both his freedom and his precision. Although she was a member of the Société des Aquafortistes in 1862 and 1865, Frédérique Émilie O'Connell only published one etching with Cadart, a portrait of her husband dressed as a knight of the time of Louis XIII.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Another side of Marcel Roux

It's now three years since I first posted about Marcel Roux, and I thought I had probably said all I had to say. But two recent acquisitions make me want to revisit this passionate and brilliant man. The first is one of Roux's rare individual etchings, L'échouée, as printed in the revue Byblis in 1923, after Roux's death, in brown ink on Lafuma wove paper. Most of Marcel Roux's original etchings were conceived and published in series, such as La Danse Macabre, Les Passions, Filles de Joie, and Les Sept Paroles; whether the enigmatic and dramatic L'échouée was intended to stand alone or to form part of a linked cycle, I do not know. I have to admit I don't quite know how to translate the title - the verb échouer means to fail, but I think this man may be intended to be shipwrecked, in which case the translation would be something like Washed Up; help from fluent French speakers will be gratefully received. No date is given, but I believe all Roux's etchings date from before WWI; he was unable to etch during the war, and afterwards his fatally weakened lungs couldn't bear the fumes from the acid.

Marcel Roux, L'échouée
Etching, pre-1914 (published by Byblis, 1923)

L'échouée was published alongside a moving essay by Marcel Roux's close friend Justin Godart, "Marcel Roux: graveur Lyonnais". Godart mentions three commissions for interpretative etchings from the Chalcographie du Louvre: Rembrandt's L'ange quittant la famille de Tobie and Le boeuf, and Botticelli's Venus. Roux was evidently not best pleased about the Venus (which he may never have executed) , expressing a preference for Rembrandt's Le bon Samaritain. I had thought until now that Marcel Roux's activity as an interpretative etcher was essentially confined to Rembrandt, whose etchings first inspired him and whom he described as the "Maître de ma jeunesse". But now I have acquired a series of twelve further interpretative etchings by Roux, which show a hitherto obscure side of his prodigious talent. These works date from 1911, and interpret paintings by Delacroix (including a bon Samaritain), Corot, Millet, and Daumier. Two of them (Corot's Baigneuse and La femme au tambourin) are on the Marcel Roux website, but unidentified. They come from what I believe must be the last great work to be illustrated with such etchings, the impossibly lavish exhibition catalogue Vingt Peintres du XIXe Siècle: chefs d'oeuvre de l'École Française. This was commissioned, printed, and published by Galerie Georges Petit. There is a text by Léon Roger-Milès, and 150 original etchings. The commissioning of the artists and art direction of the project appears to have been entrusted to Charles Waltner, so the general standard is very high, but the etchings by Marcel Roux are without doubt the stars of the show. There is nothing timid or restrained about them. Roux's mark-making is bold and vigorous, and exudes a sense of confidence. The plates are deeply-bitten, and the blacks are coal-black. Flicking through the pages there's no need to read the printed credit to recognize another Roux: they simply sing off the page.

Eugène Delacroix, Femmes turques au bain
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Eugène Delacroix, Arabe montant à cheval
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Eugène Delacroix, La mise au tombeau
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Eugène Delacroix, L'éducation d'Achille
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Eugène Delacroix, La délivrance de la princesse Olga
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Eugène Delacroix, Le bon Samaritain
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Eugène Delacroix, Tête de vieille femme
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Jean-François Millet, Le repos
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Jean-François Millet, La fuite
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Camille Corot, Baigneuse
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Camille Corot, La femme au tambourin
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Honoré Daumier, Une partie de dames
Etching by Marcel Roux, 1911

Given Marcel Roux's deeply religious sensibility, it comes as no surprise that he should respond so passionately to the Biblical subjects of La mise au tombeau and Le bon Samaritain, and his eye for social satire was well suited to Daumier, but I do find myself surprised and touched by the tenderness of the two etchings after Millet; this is a note not sounded in Roux's own work. Of the dozen etchings, I think the most completely successful is L'éducation d'Achille, which strikes me as a very powerful treatment of a difficult subject. The etchings were printed on thick BFK Rives wove paper, in an edition of 650 copies, of which these are from no. 324. I suspect the first 50 copies were printed on Japon, though this is not explicitly stated.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The unknown Francis Picabia

Francis Picabia is, of course, far from unknown. As the spokesman of the Cubist Section d'Or at the Armory Show in New York in 1913, and as the agent provocateur of Dada and Surrealism, Picabia became - with his close friend Marcel Duchamp - the prototypical modern artist. Disputatious, argumentative, controversial, witty, devil-may-care, Francis Picabia must have sparked a million conversations about the nature of art and the role of the artist. So it comes as something of a shock to discover another side to Picabia: his successful career as a Post-Impressionist, working under the direct influence and early encouragement of Sisley and Pissarro. It's as if Damian Hirst had begun as a Pre-Raphaelite, or Marina Abramovic were to suddenly unveil a hidden stash of genteel watercolours of flowers in vases. Picabia's Post-Impressionist phase lasted roughly from 1902 to 1908, and ended abruptly with his discovery of Cubism in 1909. One of his dealers, Danthon of the prestigious Galerie Haussman, was so disgusted by Picabia's change of direction that he auctioned off over a hundred of Picabia's paintings at the Hotel Drouot in March 1909, in what seems to have been a deliberate attempt to wreck his career. Although Picabia did execute some later lithographs and silkscreens, and at least one Cubist drypoint, his printmaking seems largely confined to this early period, and the six etchings in this post all date from around 1907 or a couple of years earlier (the date on Pêcheurs sur les bords du Loing may be 1904 or 1907, I can't tell). They were included in the first monograph on Picabia, Picabia, le peintre et l'aquafortiste by Édouard André, which was published in an edition of 250 copies in 1908.

Francis Picabia, Barque et maisons sur la mer
Etching, c. 1907
(There is a similar etching in MoMA, dated improbably to 1893)

Francis Picabia, Vue de Moret
Etching, c. 1907

Francis Picabia, Le châtaignier
Etching, c. 1907

These six exhilarating etchings provide, I think, a stunning insight into the ground of Picabia's art. Picabia was a revolutionary, but in essence he was simply carrying forward the torch lit by the Impressionists, especially Sisley (whom he knew from 1897 to the artist's death in 1898) and Camille Pissarro (whose sons Manzana and Rodo were friends of his in Montmartre). It was in Moret-sur-Loing that Picabia met Sisley and Pissarro (though he may also have met Pissarro in Martigues in 1898, certainly in 1902), and apart from the first, I believe all these etchings are scenes in Moret.

Francis Picabia, Les bords du Loing
Etching, 1907

Francis Picabia, Pêcheurs sur les bords du Loing
Etching, dated either 1907 or 1904

Francis Picabia, Un canal
Etching, c. 1907

Francis Picabia was born on 22 January 1879 in 82 rue des Petits Champs, Paris, and died in the same house on 30 November 1953. This might suggest a life of stasis and predictability, but in fact Francis Picabia led one of the most volatile art careers of his time. He was born François Marie Martinez Picabia, to a French mother and Spanish-Cuban father. The family was wealthy, and Picabia set about spending his inheritance with impressive zeal - he is said to have changed his car 107 times. His early enthusiasm for drawing and his natural talent were recognized in 1894 when, at the age of 16, he had a painting accepted by the Salon des Artistes Français. His family encouraged him to study art, and he entered the atelier of Fernand Cormon at the École des Beaux-Arts, and later also studied in Cormon's private atelier. He additionally studied under Wallet at the École des Arts Décoratifs, and in the Académie Humbert, where fellow-students included Georges Braque and Marie Laurencin. In 1908-1909 the revelation of Cubism may have come through Braque (though Picabia's excellent official website credits his bride-to-be Gabrielle Buffet), but from 1911 it was cemented by the Groupe de Puteaux that met in the studio of Jacques Villon, and included Villon's brother Marcel Duchamp, the poet Guillaume Apollinaire, and the painters Albert Gleizes, Jean Metzinger, Louis Marcoussis, Robert and Sonia Delaunay, and Fernand Léger.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Polish wood engravers: Wladislaw Skoczylas and his influence

Wladislaw Skoczylas (1883-1934) is considered the father of modern Polish wood engraving, and most of the other artists in this post studied under him. Skoczylas studied at the art academy in Krakow, the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna, and in the Paris studio of Émile-Antoine Bourdelle. From 1910 he devoted a large part of his work to etching, and from 1923 turned from etching to specialize in wood engraving. From 1928 Wladislaw Skoczylas taught at the Department of the Graphic Arts in the Applied Art School in Warsaw, where he inspired and influenced a whole generation of Polish wood engravers. Skoczylas exhibited in the show Art Polonais at the 1921 Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and was kept in public eye in France by exhibitions of his wood engravings at the Galerie Zak. Skoczylas also continued to paint throughout his career, and regularly exhibited at the Salon d'Automne, of which he was a member.

Wladislaw Skoczylas, Brigands pour un trésor
Wood engraving, black-and-white state, 1924

Wladislaw Skoczylas, Brigands pour un trésor
Wood engraving, coloured state, 1924

Wladislaw Skoczylas, Saint-Christophe
Wood engraving, 1929

Wladislaw Skoczylas, Baruch
Wood engraving, 1929

Bogna Krasnodebska-Gardowska (1900-1986) was certainly a pupil of Skoczylas. She specialised in religious subjects.

Bogna Krasnodebska-Gardowska, L'Apocalypse
Wood engraving, 1929

My sole engraving by Stefan Mrozewski (1894-1975) is also a religious subject (the entombment of Christ); Mrozewski's most important work is considered his series of 101 large engravings for Dante's Divine Comedy, on which he laboured for 32 years. Stefan Mrozewski was born in Czestochowa, Poland, in 1894. Although he showed early talent as an artist, his modest family circumstances initially prevented him from studying art. In 1920 he served in a cartographic unit in the Polish-Soviet war. Afterwards, he attended several art schools, notably studying wood engraving and etching under Wladislaw Skoczylas at the Applied Art School in Warsaw. From 1925-32 Stefan Mrozewski lived in Paris, where he exhibited at various Salons and at the Galerie Bonaparte. His reputation in Paris was such that Pierre Mornand devoted a chapter to his work in Vingt-deux artistes du livre. From 1933-35 Mrozewski lived in Amsterdam, and from 1935-37 in London. He returned to Poland only to find his homeland invaded by the Nazis; Stefan Mrozewski was active in the Polish Resistance, putting his graphic skills to good use. After Poland was swallowed up by the Soviet Union in 1945, Mrozewski made his escape, first to familiar France and Holland, and then in 1951 to the USA, where he lived and worked until his death in Walnut Creek, California, in 1975.

Stefan Mrozewski, Mise au tombeau
Wood engraving, 1929

Edmund Ludwik Bartlomiejczyk (1895-1950) was more of a contemporary of Skoczylas than a student, and in fact Bartlomiejczyk also had a considerable influence on wood engraving in Poland, in his role as a professor at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts. Like Skoczylas, he took inspiration from Polish folk art, as in this fine engraving of a peasant playing the bagpipes.

Edmund Bartlomiejczk, Le joueur de cornemuse
Wood engraving, 1929

The same folk art influence can be seen in the work of Zygmunt Kaminski, who drew particularly on the Polish paper-cut tradition. Kaminski (1888-1969) illustrated the novel Chlopi by Wladyslaw Reymont with original woodcuts in this folk art style. He lived and worked in Warsaw. In 1921 Zygmunt Kaminski exhibited at the Exposition des Artistes Polonais organised by the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Zygmunt Kaminski, Chlopi
Wood engraving, 1931

The painter, sculptor, stage director, and printmaker Zbigniew Pronaszko (1885-1958) was born in Zychlin; his younger brother Andrzei Pronaszko was also a significant Polish artist. Zbigniew Pronaszko studied in Krakow under J. Melczevski, and also in Munich. In 1928 he exhibited four canvases in the Polish section of the Salon d'Automne in Paris, bringing his art into the international arena.

Zbigniew Pronaszko, Illustration for 10 Ballad O Powsinogach Beskidzkich
Wood engraving, 1931

Although many of the artists discussed so far drew on folk art, they did so from an educated perspective. My last Polish wood engraver was a true outsider artist. The sculptor and printmaker Jedrzej Wowro (sometimes spelled Vowro) was born in Gorzeniu Dolnym in 1864. Jerdzej Wowro was an entirely self-taught folk artist. Born into a humble farming family, he remained illiterate. Jedrzej Wowro worked in coal mines, mills, and as a lumberjack. It was after being buried in a mine collapse that he returned to Gorzeniu and married Mary Guzek, who was literate, and who introduced him to stories of the saints who appear in much of his work. In 1923 his second wife Marianna Pin took some of his sculptures to the local manor house and showed them to the writer and champion of expressionism Emil Zegadlowicz. From that moment, Zegadlowicz became Jedrzej Wowro's patron, encouraging others to buy his work, and commissioning 20 woodcuts between 1925 and 1933. After that Wowro, now internationally known, was too ill to work. He died at the age of 73 in 1937.

Jerdzej Wowro, Ballada O Swiatkarzu
Wood engraving, 1931