Xawery Dunikowski (1875–1964) is one of the greatest Polish sculptors of the 20th century. The present bust of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin comes from the post-war period in the artist’s work. After the WWII, the ideas of social realism carried Dunikowski away. However, ideological activities did not translate into the form of his works: he remained faithful to the expressive, simplified form he developed in the interwar period.
A film Szlachcic [Nobleman], is a record of the artist’s conversation with Roman Szlachcic, son of Franciszek, a high dignitary of the Communist Poland (PRL) government. This nostalgic tale exposes personal attempts to interpret history, points to the political motives of a bygone era, and touches upon the topic of delicate family relationships. In the eyes of his son, Franciszek Szlachcic was an outstanding personality. He started his career as a worker, went through almost all levels of partisan activity, became a high-ranking public security officer, Minister of Interior in 1971, Edward Gierek’s deputy and, for two years, until 1976, deputy prime minister. After this period, Franciszek Szlachcic’s good fortune came to an end. He was removed from politics overnight and lost all his previous influence and privileges. The only symbol of his lost prestige was a larch wood villa built a few years earlier in Magdalenka near Warsaw, where his son still lives today.
The portrait entitled Model worker represents a man dressed in blue work clothes with the collar of a white shirt poking out. The model is rendered en trois quarts. His short hair is neatly combed, smoothly clinging to the head, and his face seems emotionless.