Artists Summary

The post WWII period saw the rebuilding of Warsaw, the gradual return of cultural activity, and Communist rule, permeating all aspects of Polish society. The artists and educators surviving the horrific war years applied their inner convictions, and talent, from which they created a new national identity. It would be visual, and unlike what the Russian hierarchy wanted and would not draw upon the art styles of America or Europe. **

The great names of the post-war movement are Henryk Tomaszewski (1914-2005), Eryk Lipinski (1908-1991), Tadeusz Trepkowski (1914-1954), and Jozef Mroszczak (1910-1975). Of the earlier interwar generation, only Tadeusz Gronowski (1894-1990) remained---having transplanted to Poland his studies in France with A.M. Cassandreís (1901-1968) ideas of modernism and art deco.

Gradually, the younger generation entered the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, and began to design posters. They were trained as painters or architects. Jan Lenica and Wojciech Fangor introduced painterly elements such as texture and strong color. Jozef Mroszczak began to teach at the Academy.

The art was so distinctive it became known simply as the Polish School---it broke cold war obstacles. Polish poster exhibitions and numerous international awards accelerated recognition of these artists. As the 1950ís emerged, the older forms of collage combined with influences of abstraction, surrealism and photographic techniques---the second wave of artists stressed design, typography and distancing the art from the Stalinist era. Especially noteworthy are Witold Chmielewski, Wiktor Gorka, Julian Palka, Waldemar Swierzy, Jan Mlodozeniec, Wojciech Zamecznik, Franciszek Starowieyski, Roman Cieslewicz, Liliana Baczewska and Hanna Bodnar.

In the 1960ís strong graphic contrasts influenced poster design. Pop art was woven together to adapt new techniques. Simplicity of form, as taught by Professor Henryk Tomaszewski, took hold in younger artists. Artists representing these new styles include Leszek Holdanowicz, Bronislaw Zelek, Marek Freudenreich, Andrzej Krajewski, Hubert Hilscher, Maciej Urbaniec, and Jerzy Flisak.

The 1970ís saw a painterly emphasis and increasing influence from outside of Warsaw. The Wroclaw Four reflected the new emerging artists; Jan Jaromir Aleksiun, Jerzy Czerniawski, Eugeniusz Get Stankiewicz and Jan Sawka. Their approach included more irony, paradox and symbolism. Other maturing and new designers such as Lech Majewski, Mieczyslaw Gorowski, Marcin Mroszczak, Andrzej Klimowski, Mieczyslaw Wasilewski, Grzegorz Marszalek, Jakub Erol, Marian Stachurski, continuously raised the level of artistic competition.

Artists including Wiktor Sadowski, Stasys Eidrgevicius, Wieslaw Walkuski, Rafal Olbinski, Roslaw Szaybo and Roman Kalarus led the final creative surge before the late 1980ís Solidarity movement brought political change.