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One of our pocket squares from 'Artworks Collection', which is our cooperation with National Museum in Warsaw. Limited edition: only 100 pieces.
Aleksander Gierymski was one of the most acclaimed representatives of realism, and the precursor of luminist and colour experiments in the Polish painting of the late nineteenth century. He was born in 1850 in Warsaw, and died in 1901 in Rome.
Aleksander Gierymski, as one of the few nineteenth-century Polish artists, was always at the centre of affairs and issues troubling the contemporary European art of the time. As an extremely sensitive and ambitious painter, he was consumed by his pursuit of the mirage of an unspecified artistic ideal. At the same time, he was an intellectual painter. Gierymski did not express his emotional states in his paintings, and he did not intend to move viewers, nor did he succumb to generally prevailing aesthetic tastes. He had the attitude of a cold, meticulous observer of nature. In his works, devoid of descriptive narrative, he attempted to capture the fleeting moods he spotted in the natural world. Most of all, Gierymski was fascinated with the characteristics of light and its effects on variations of shades. His major achievement at Munich Academy of Fine Arts was the painting Court scene from Shakespeares Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare/Scena sądu z "Kupca Weneckiego” wg Wiliama Szekspira with which he debuted at the World Exhibition in Vienna in 1873. The most important feature which distinguishes this work from other historical paintings of the Munich school was its reference to the Venetian style of painting from the period of the depicted event, especially to the work of Carpaccio and Gentile Bellini. Apart from the perfectly captured climate of the late Quattrocento, critics emphasized its "beautiful, warm tone and great power of light", mastery in portrayal the diversity of characters, and wealth of differentiated textures.
In order to create the most objective image of reality, he thoroughly studied every little detail of nature, explored the arrangement of forms in space, and analysed the optical phenomena of the interpenetration of spots of colour and light reflections. The evidence of those efforts is the Polish museums’ collection of outdoor sketches, captivating with their freshness of impression, richness of colour and shimmering reflections of sunlight Study of the Cylinder / Studium z cylindrem, approx. 1876; Begonias / Begonie, Fountain/Fontanna approx. 1876-1879).
With his return to Warsaw at the beginning of 1880, Gierymski ended his youthful period of exploration and experimentation which was associated with the change of his work subjects. During this period, the artist finally abandoned painting elegant genre scenes of past eras, and focused all attention on the images of everyday life in poor, neglected districts of Warsaw - Old Town, Powiśle, Solec. He made dozens of visual notes and outdoor sketches, showing randomly observed episodes of urban life, which he used both in his work as an illustrator and in the compositions of his oil paintings.
In these works, Gierymski closely approached the principles of Realism, widely propagated at that time by Stanisław Witkiewicz and Antoni Sygietyński in Warsaw's magazine Wędrowiec (The Wanderer). Initially, with an innate passion for authenticity, he tried to recreate every detail observed in the real situations and to accurately copy the looks and actions of the individuals captured in the foreground Jewess with Oranges/Żydówka z pomarańczami 1881, Gate of the Old City/Brama na Starym mieście / 1883). However, in subsequent paintings from 1883 and 1884 (Powiśle, Solec Harbour /Przystań na Solcu, The Feast of Trumpets/Święto trąbek), we can observe a gradual abandonment of this descriptive narrative. It seems as if Gierymski perceived the scenes from a greater distance, both in terms of actual distance, as well as some mental distance. People and their daily affairs do not attract all our attention; they seem to be an inherent part of one's surroundings. This kind of compositions enhances the impression of uniformity of the painter's vision, on in which the human figure ceases to be the main character, and becomes merely a set of patches of colour co-creating the structure of the entire composition.