The exhibition will present the oeuvre of the artistic couple Hanna and Jacek Żuławski – versatile creators and charismatic teachers. Jacek came from one of the most artistically prolific families in Poland, whose members even today are active in the fields of literature, art, music and film, demonstrating a surprising scale and diversity in their achievements. Hanna’s father, in turn, was a sculptor, and her uncle was Zdzisław Piotr Jasiński, the respected painter and co-founder of the Pro Arte group.
The exhibition is based on a private collection from Bydgoszcz, created by acquiring the legacy found in the family collection of the Żuławski heirs. An extensive set of works covering various fields and a wide chronological framework of their creation (almost 400 objects – oil paintings, watercolours/gouaches/tempera, drawings, graphics, ceramic sculpture from the 1930s to the 1980s) allow for a representative presentation of the artists’ achievements and tracing the formal, content and stylistic assumptions in their work.
The conventions they use in building images and colour tones clearly place the Żuławskis’ paintings in the so-called Sopot school with its characteristic colourism and combining of differing topics. Their portraits, still lifes, genre scenes (often grotesque situations depicting the post-war reality), landscapes, and even abstract compositions are maintained in the spirit of post-impressionism. This is the result of his experience in the Parisian studios, especially those of Józef Pankiewicz. On the other hand, the framing and building of the plans of the paintings clearly indicate that he was inspired by Józef Czapski’s thought. A characteristic feature of both artists is the turn towards classicism – drawing on the tradition of antiquity by reaching for motifs from Greek mythology.
Hanna Żuławska’s ceramic sculptures are an example of an innovative approach to matter – their mass is shaped while maintaining pictorial values, expressed, among others, by: in multiple coatings and layering of glaze and careful selection of colours. The formal solutions of its products are inspired by the work of Pablo Picasso.
The presentation of numerous painting and drawing sketches at the exhibition, previously not presented to the general public, will enrich knowledge about the artists’ workshop and the concept of creating their work. Among them we will find mosaic and tapestry designs. Previously unknown graphics from the early period of his work, in various workshop variants, will complement the wide spectrum of the Żuławski family’s artistic activity.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a printed catalogue of all works by Hanna and Jacek Żuławski from the Bydgoszcz collection, with full-colour reproductions giving the publication an album-like character.
Hanna and Jacek Żuławscy are artists of exceptional merit for the Tricity’s heritage as co-founders of higher artistic education on the Coast, activists of the regional Association of Polish Artists, and authors of concepts and contractors working on the decoration of the post-war reconstruction of the Old Town in Gdańsk. They won numerous awards and have presented their works at many individual and collective exhibitions in Poland and abroad.
* Hanna Żuławska (1908 Warsaw – 1988 Warsaw)
From 1930 to 1934, she studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the studios of Tadeusz Pruszkowski and Felicjan Kowarski (decorative and monumental painting), then at the Paris branch of the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, headed by Józef Pankiewicz. She was a co-founder of the State Institute of Fine Arts in Sopot in 1945 – later the State Higher School of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, and now the Academy of Fine Arts, with which she associated her entire professional life (she headed the Ceramics Studio, in the years 1964–1966 she was dean of the Faculty of Sculpture) . She is the author of monumental paintings and functional and decorative ceramics, including: mosaics in the arcades of houses on Constitution Square in Warsaw and at the railway station in Gdynia, polychromes, sgraffiti and frescoes in several tenement houses of the Main Town in Gdańsk and in the Old and New Towns in Warsaw. She belonged to the “Kadyna Ceramics Group”.
* Jacek Żuławski (1907 Cracow – 1976 Warsaw)
In 1927, he began studies at the Krakow Academy of Fine Arts in the workshops of Władysław Jarocki and Wojciech Weiss. Two years later, he moved to the Warsaw School of Fine Arts, where he studied under Felicjan Kowarski and Leonard Pękalski (decorative and monumental painting), then went to the Parisian studio of Józef Pankiewicz. In 1945, he co-organized the art school in Gdańsk, where he ran the Evening Drawing and Architectural Painting Studio, and in 1965 he took over the Painting Diploma Studio. In 1952, he was appointed as the main painting designer during the reconstruction of Długa and Długi Targ streets in Gdańsk.
catalogue and exhibition producer: Marta Kardas
curator: Inga Kopciewicz
coordination: Danuta Pałys (bwa Municipal Gallery in Bydgoszcz)
Start 20.02.2024, 18:00
20 Gdańska St.