Teofil Ociepka - Painter Occultist and Theosophist

Teofil Ociepka (born April 22, 1891 in Janów Śląski, died January 15, 1978 in Bydgoszcz) was a Polish self-taught primitivist painter, occultist, and theosophist. Along with Nikifor, he was one of the best known Polish primitivists.
"Ociepka was an amateur, self-taught artist, ‘primitivist,’ and an incredibly talented and inspired theosopher. He didn’t continue his education past elementary school. After his father died, when Teofil was merely fifteen years old, he started supporting his family. He took up all kinds of jobs, to eventually start working at a mine, and remain a miner until his retirement. At the same time, he was one of the leaders of the so called Janów Occultist Community, members of which also included, among others, Ewald Gawlik and Erwin Sówka. Their paintings are characterised by an aura of mystery and symbolism, even though they all had very specific, local roots. They came from social circles tied to the oldest districts of industrial Silesia: Janów, Szopienice, Giszowiec, and Nikiszowiec. They carefully reproduced and documented their day-to-day life in those particular civilisational and cultural spheres, their everyday landscape, customs, and local belief systems, at the same time enhancing them with fantastic themes.Despite their similar interests, works of the Janów painters distinctly reflected the respective, unique characters. Ociepka’s painting oeuvre especially stood out among them, which earned him a global recognition. His paintings are exceptional in how they blend excerpts from life of miners, Silesian fairy tales, and occultist literature. They are characterised by visionary invention and bold use of colour. Altogether, it creates an incredible combination, which intrigues anthropologists and collectors to this day."(Author: Małgorzata Kitowska-Łysiak, Institute of Art History at Catholic University of Lublin, November 2007, transl. AM, April 2017 culture.pl )
















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