The pride of the palace in Slavuta was a small pastel portrait which presented a charming teenage girl. It depicts Teresa née Czartoryska, the daughter of Józef Klemens, the founder of the china manufacturing plant in Korets. The girl’s mother was duchess Dorota née Jabłonowska, who was famous for her beauty. The author of the portrait was one of the most outstanding French painters, Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Lebrun /1755–1842/.
Wyspiański left twelve self-portraits. Every one of them is a fascinating record of the physical change and current emotional state of the artist according to his often-repeated belief stating that “man (...) changes irretrievably; they are changed by their experiences and thoughts. A portrait is a reflection of a moment, an artistic reflection seizing things in their very essence.”
Karol Szymanowski met Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz in Zakopane in the summer of 1904. The acquaintance quickly turned into many years of friendship. In March and April 1905, they travelled around Italy together and met in Zakopane on many occasions. Szymanowski dedicated his I Piano Sonata in C minor Op. 8 composed in the period 1903—1904 “to Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz” (it was published in print in 1910).
Portraits of children occupy a special place in Wyspiański’s artistic oeuvre. Without the unnecessary sentimentalism, treated in a natural, affectionate manner with a great dose of sensitivity and realism, and captured in new and unexpected depictions, they refreshed the usual connotations related to this genre.
Woman? Child? Demon? ... Who can you see? Place of action — Zakopane — “Z village.” Time of action — April 1929. Protagonists — artist Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and his model, this time Nena Stachurska. Nena was one of the favourite models of Witkacy, right next to Helena Białynicka-Birula, Janina Turowska–Leszczyńska and Eugenia Kuźnicka-Wyszomirska.
On “unity in plurality”: about the artist and his face The portrait has been and still is one of the most frequent themes in paintings and sculptures. It was known as early as in ancient Mexico and Peru, and artists from Mesopotamia, Egypt and China, as well as Greece and Rome were also familiar with this aspect of art. For years it performed manifold functions.
On women and other demons... The art collection from the Tatra Museum features several dozens of works by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, aka Witkacy. These include landscapes, drawings and portraits. Among the works depicting by Nena Stachurska, Bronisława Włodarska, Janina Turowska-Leszczyńska and Józef Fedorowicz, there are two images of a lady whose first and last name is unknown.
The portrait of Teofil Trzciński (1878—1952), a theatrical director, director of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków in 1918—1926 and 1929—1932, was painted by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy) in 1920. It is one of three portraits of Trzciński painted by Witkacy at that time. Witkacy (1885—1935) was one of the greatest Polish artists: a painter, draughtsman, photographer, playwright, novelist, philosopher, theoretician and art critic as well as the author of the Theory of Pure Form.
A well-known Polish proverb says that laughter is good for you. Hence, ancient theatre already knew comedies and the art of caricature. Artur Schrőder wrote that the caricature "must recreate the real, true features of the model, exaggerated and accentuated in a specific, comical way, but in a way that the audience could easily recognise. A caricaturist must be an excellent psychologist."
The portrait has been drawn with pastels on greyish green, grained textured paper, glued on thick, lightly coloured cardboard. The man portrayed, Stanisław Synowiec, was framed head-and-shoulders en face.
Zakopane, located at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, surrounded by a picturesque landscape, used to be a paradise for all kinds of artists. Besides inspirations they could come across at every turn, they could also experience true creative and intellectual freedom there.
This mock-up is one of the most valuable objects in the collections of HMK, related to the scenographic activity of Stanisław Wyspiański. As an experienced theatre practitioner and stage director of his dramas, Wyspiański made scenography sketches, decorations, and costume designs, as well as mock-ups.