First ever international Wojciech Weiss retrospective in The Hague –
A marvellous opportunity to discover this great Polish artist!
Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950) “The Pride of Poland”
where: The Gemeentemuseum, The Hague
Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950) is perhaps the most important of all early twentieth-century Polish artists. Like his contemporaries Mondrian and Kandinsky, he looked for new ways to integrate spirituality into art. He found music and photography indispensible tools in this respect.
In Eastern Europe, Weiss is an iconic figure in art history, whereas in Western Europe he has largely escaped attention. The work of Wojciech Weiss is as yet unknown to the Dutch public. Wojciech Weiss – The Pride of Poland is the first ever major retrospective to be held outside Poland, presented in The Gemeentemuseum in The Hague.
By drawing together over a hundred of Weiss’s top works both from the leading Polish museums in Warsaw, Kraków and Poznań and from private collections, it offers a unique opportunity to grasp the extent of his achievements and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to enjoy the work of this little-known artist. The exhibition will be on show only in The Hague and will not travel elsewhere.
A marvellous opportunity to discover this great artist!
Opening of the exhibition took place on 18th of March in the presence of ambassador of Poland dr Jan Borkowski and granddaughters of Wojciech Weiss – Zofia and Renata Weiss, from The Wojciech Weiss Museum Foundation in Cracow.
Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950)
Wojciech Weiss lived through tumultuous times. He experienced the First World War, with its dramatic impact on the map of Europe. Poland was reconstituted, only to be torn apart by Hitler and Stalin in 1939. Up to the Second World War, European society was internationally minded and artists travelled the world. They networked across national borders and kept an eye on the foremost developments in Paris, Munich and Vienna. For example, Wojciech Weiss was a member of the Vienna Secession, where he exhibited side by side with Gustav Klimt and Dutch artist Jan Toorop. The descent of the Iron Curtain put an abrupt end to this east-west cross-fertilization within Europe and led to a one-sided art historical account of the period around 1900. A half century of separation created such a cultural rift that – despite the end of the Cold War and the growth of economic relations since then – it is only now that this limited vision of artistic developments is starting to be corrected.
Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950) was an Polish painter, draughtsman and graphic artist, a student, professor and Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, representative of the Expressionist Young Poland art movement and of the Colouristic tendencies of the 1920s and 1930s.
Weiss was born in Bukovina to a Polish family in exile of Stanisław Weiss and Maria Kopaczyńska. He gave up music training to study art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków under Leon Wyczółkowski.
He took additional studies in Paris, Florence and Rome (1899-1902). As one of the greatest Polish symbolist painters, Weiss reflects in his works the decadent atmosphere of the epoch at the same time heralding the expressionist tendencies. After 1905, he shifted towards colourism, displaying a special colour transformation in the ‘white period’ (1905-1912), only to be permeated with vivid colours and strong volume later on.
His paintings were dominated by landscapes and nudes. He also created large compositions, frequently intriguing the viewer with their hidden Symbolism. Weiss’ oeuvre significantly influenced young generation of Polish artists who became an avangarde. Apart from the Foundation Wojciech Weiss Museum, many of Weiss’ paintings are among the collections of the National Museums in Cracow, Poznan and Warsaw.
read more on Wojciech Weiss
Dreamy flower-filled fields, sensual nudes and railway landscapes in wonderful shades of pastel colour. Although Weiss was a disciple of renowned Polish history painter Jan Matejko (1838-1893), his work featured not only symbolism but also elements derived from Art Nouveau and Japanese art.
All his life, he was hungry for new means to express in his paintings his sense of wonder at the beauty of nature. With his modern compositions and unique, almost spiritual view of nature, Wojciech Weiss had much in common with the Japanese masters. The series of railway landscapes he produced between 1897 and 1902 are a good example of this. The linear rhythm of the railway tracks and the absence of any clear foreground make these works highly reminiscent of the open composition of Japanese woodblock prints.
Musical paintings and photography
In his desire to establish a sensory connection between painting and music, Weiss cherished a particular love of Chopin. A portrait of the Polish composer was among his most outstanding works. Unfortunately, that painting has been lost and is known to us only through a series of preliminary studies and a drawing published in two periodicals connected with the Young Poland movement, Życie and Młodość (all of which can be seen in the exhibition). In the pre-1900 period, interest in the artistic potential of photograph was still highly unusual in Poland. However, Wojciech Weiss explored the medium and used it as a means of creative experimentation in his paintings. Surviving only in the form of glass plate negatives and contact prints, Weiss’s photographs offer behind-the-scenes insight into his artistic practice. Weiss was one of the driving forces behind the avant-garde movement known as Młoda Polska (Young Poland). The composers, writers and artists concerned were opposed to traditional ideas from the early Romantic period.
The exhibition is accompanied by a lavishly illustrated Dutch-language catalogue entitled Wojciech Weiss (1875-1950) – De trots van Polen. Authored by Ruth Kaloena Krul and Zofia Weiss, this first ever Dutch-language book on the Polish artist is published by WBOOKS (price: €22.50).
The exhibition is being held in close cooperation with the Wojciech Weiss Museum Foundation and various private collections and museums, including the National Museum in Kraków, the Kraków Historical Museum, the National Museum, Poznań and the Fryderyk Chopin Museum in Warsaw.
text and photo’s: M. Bos-Karczewska, editor-in-chief of Polonia.nl
Published date at Polonia.NL 26.03.2016 © Polonia.nl
– publisher: STEP – Foundation of Polish Experts in The Netherlands More about us