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Gallery of Polish Masters - 11. Paris – artists’ Mecca. Views of the city

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11. Paris – artists’ Mecca. Views of the city

We have entered the section of the Gallery of Polish Masters with the smallest number of exhibits. It records a period that was really important for Polish art, namely the fascination of Polish artists with the capital of France in the first half of the 20th century. At that time Paris was the unquestionable capital of European art. A great number of artists from Poland and other countries of the world came here to get education, inspiration, success, to meet with other artists. For some of them Paris was a brief episode, others stayed there for good.
Jan Stanisławski, a remarkable landscapist, spent 10 years by the Seine. This period is documented by an opening intimate city verdure Pont Neuf in Paris. We should add that at that time it was a popular meeting place for bohemians. The artist depicted the view of the Seine seen from an unusual perspective. He skillfully captured the light reflected in the flowing water, and later on he used this experience in his numerous views of the Dnieper River.
Two other Parisian landscapes were painted by women artists who stayed in France for the rest of their lives. Olga Boznańska spent over 40 years in Paris, and the painting titled Before Entering the House was probably the view from the artist’s studio. In that moving miniature we can find all characteristic features of Boznańska’s painting: the inspirations of Japanese aesthetics, broken blue and grey colours, and an intimacy that prompts the viewer to contemplate every detail. There are few city views of that kind in the artwork of this exceptional Polish artist.
A totally different method of painting can be found in a work entitled Rue Mouffetard by Mela Muter, actually Maria Melania Mutermilch, associated with the École de Paris. Based on the Neo-Impressionist technique of Pointillism the artist developed her own expressive style, an example of which can be admired in the Gallery of Polish Masters. This study finishes with a city landscape by Zygmunt Waliszewski, who, using wide brush strokes, depicted a street going downhill steeply in Montmarte, a quarter of the city very popular with the Parisian bohemia. It should be mentioned here that Waliszewski’s stay together with the Paris Committee by the Seine in the period between 1924-1931 finally cemented his Post-Impressionist style, which made him one of the most original Polish Colourists.   

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