Jerzy Tchórzewski

"Polish painter, graphic artist, educator, artistic activist. Born April 24, 1928, in Siedlce; died December 25, 1999, in Warsaw.
During World War II Tchórzewski was a soldier of the Armia Karjowa (1943-1944). Between 1946 and 1951 he studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow. While a student he established relationships with the circle that would one day transform into the Krakow Group, and in 1957 was one of the founding members of this formation. In 1959 he also began working with the international Phases movement, which was composed of artists with a surrealistic orientation.
He debuted at the 1. Modern Art Exhibition in Krakow in 1948/49. Upon graduating he moved to Warsaw, where in 1954 he began to teach at the Academy of Fine Arts, heading the painting studio within the Department of Graphic Arts. In 1987 he obtained the title of professor and retired in 1998.

 In his early, figurative period (1948-1955), he depicted human figures and fantastic, "pre-biblical" creatures in imagined landscapes and generally exhibited an imagination akin to that of the Surrealists. After 1955 he began to paint abstract visions of cosmic cataclysms, volcanic eruptions, exploding and fading stars. The dark of these canvasses was torn open by jagged lines of lightning, flowing lava, and electrical discharges (Tworzący sie krajobraz / Forming Landscape, 1956-1957). At times his compositions included human and animal shapes that brought to mind myths about the creation of the world, the Titans, Prometheus, etc. (Pierwsze kroki / First Steps, 1958, Ocalony / Saved, 1959).

The artist complicated the texture of his paintings using the fact that paint dries unevenly and, in the case of gouaches, that paper wrinkles when it is wet. Apart from painting, in the late 1940s the artist also began to create monotypes and added linoleum-block prints on hand painted paper to his range of techniques in the 1960s. In the late 1970s Tchorzewski eagerly tackled religious subjects. His paintings from this period, while respecting traditional principles of composition, incorporate all the unusual effects of form, texture, and color that the artist developed in earlier years. Tchórzewski thus shows himself to be one of the most exploratory painters to undertake religious subjects in contemporary times (Golgota / Golgotha at the Znak krzyża / Sign of the Cross exhibition in the church on Żytnia Street, Warsaw, 1983). The apex of these interests came in the 1980s, when the artist developed a relationship with the independent art movement, exhibiting frequently in churches and at private presentations."
Author: Maryla Sitkowska, Museum of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, December 2001 ( )

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