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Stanislaw Wyspianski, PARISH, 1892

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Lot description Show orginal version
Estimations: 146 153 - 187 911 EUR
55.0 x 42.9cm - pastel, cardboard signed left: SW 92 [tied monogram].

On the back, on a fragment of an old so-called "clasp", the stamp of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture and Art, probably authorizing the export of the painting from Brazil.

Painting with the right to export abroad.


- Private collection in Paris.

- Purchased in Brazil in the 1950s for a private collection.

- Collection of heirs in France.

Painting exhibited:

- Exposition Wyspiański en France, ses relations avec le monde littéraire et artistique français, Polish Library in Paris, January 1933.

From the description of the exhibition in the Illustrated Daily Courier of 30 January 1933 (No. 30), we know that in addition to paintings from the Parisian period, Wyspiański's prints and decoration designs, photographs of Wyspiański and French editions of his literary works were also on display. Maria Stokowa, author of The Calendar of the Life and Works of Stanisław Wyspiański, found a photograph from the above exhibition in the archives belonging to the "Illustrated Daily Courier" (see next page, photo NAC). The first painting on the right is undeniably Parisian Woman, presented at the auction.

During the Paris period, Wyspianski was an extremely prolific artist, although relatively few of his works from those years are known today. It was a time of study and exploration of the young painter's own artistic path. Wanting to make a living in Paris, he sold paintings or paid for services with them, which resulted in their dispersal. According to the findings of Wanda Wyganowska - the author of a dissertation on Wyspianski's Parisian landscapes (1890-1894) - it appears that the largest collection of pastels (at least several dozen) was owned by Madame Charlotte, the owner of the crémerie (milk bar), located opposite the Académie Colarossi. In addition, Wyspianski's works were also in the possession of Alexander Dejean - a close friend and protector of the painter, Madame Latellier, Miss Aimée Vandomber - one of the artist's models, Mr. Gilbert and even a neighbor.

The Parisian from the moment it was painted in 1892 remained in Paris at least until the exhibition at the Polish Library in 1933. Probably the turmoil of war caused the painting to end up in Brazil, where it was purchased by the father of the current owner. With her, it then returned to France.

Stanislaw Wyspianski began his education at the School of Fine Arts in Krakow, where he received a scholarship to go to Paris. The purpose of this trip was to pass the entrance exams and study at the École des Beaux-Arts. Wyspianski arrived in Paris on May 23, 1891, where it quickly became apparent that the Cracow model of teaching did not provide sufficient education to get into the university of his dreams. After failing the entrance exams, Wyspianski enrolled in the Académie Colarossi - popular among Polish artists. Among its students were, among others: Władysław Ślewiński, Mela Muter, Włodzimierz Tetmajer, Józef Mehoffer, Konstanty Laszczka. The Atelier was also the cradle of talents such as Paul Gauguin, Alphonse Mucha, Camille Claudel and Amadeo Modigliani. Artists from all over the world flocked to Paris. Wyspianski found himself at the center of the cultural life of the time, which allowed him to interact with both the works of already established artists and young avant-garde artists. He spent a lot of time in Parisian museums and galleries, where he absorbed art. The portrait of the Parisian woman shows the influence of the paintings of Edgar Degas or Wladyslaw Slewinski, who was Wyspianski's guide to the Parisian art world from 1891 to 1894.

Study at the Académie Colarossi was decidedly freer in character than at the École des Beaux-Arts. Wyspianski studied there under the tutelage of professors Gustave Courtois and Paul Joseph Blanc. The former recommended that when painting a model one should grasp the general impression of color and not play with details, that one should judge the value of lights properly and compare them with each other, on different parts of the body, not to introduce too many halftones

(Letters of Stanisław Wyspiański to Józef Mehoffer..., compiled by. L. Płoszewski, M. Rydlowa, T. I., Krakow 1994, p. 68).

Professor Blanc, on the other hand, explained how not to get lost in the "mass of colors."

Among the models at the Atelier were many pretty women. The artist mentioned their names in his correspondence: Aimée Vandomber, Blanche, Celestine, Ela, Julie, Mariane, Marie, Mariette, Martha, Nini, Toinette, Victorine. Some of them were portrayed by the painter - Julie, Ele, Nini and Aimée Vandomber, as he mentioned in his letters to friends. We are familiar with the appearance of Julie and Nini, whose portraits are in Polish public collections. A sketch portrait of Julie is in the collection of the National Museum in Cracow, where it came from the collection of Feliks Manggha Jasieński. Nini, on the other hand, posed for Wyspianski as the Madonna, which he included in one of his most recognizable works, Caritas of 1904. We also know from Wyspianski's letters that Nini lived with him in 1893.

In September 1892, in letters to Karol Maszkowski, he wrote: I have a whole lot of French acquaintances, and with these I satisfy myself on the street, in the atelier - where I encounter them - I am often pleased to hear when I am walking in the evening far from my neighborhood and hear behind me suddenly "he! Stanislas [...] in this subject I have a whole bunch of impressions that I would never finish telling - but oh because all this history, the acquaintance with Ela - or Aimée - or Blanche - or Nini again - not to mention other impressions like Marthe or Marie....

The model's outfit - a corset with abundant lace at the bust - could indicate a dancer. We know from the correspondence of Józef Mehoffer from March 1892, who was studying in Paris with Wyspiański at the time, that they were at the Casino de Paris, where they admired the élées of Nini Patte en l'air - a famous performer of the cancan. As we can see, Wyspianski's Paris period was both a time of increased artistic work and abundant acquaintanceships with women, so that the identity of the Parisian woman remains unknown.

In December 1892, Wyspiański was in Cracow and by letter asked Mehoffer, who was in Paris at the time, to take his belongings from his old studio. In January 1893, Jozef Mehoffer moved them to a new studio at 14 Avenue du Maine. While moving his friend's things, Mehoffer noticed for the first time the portraits he mentioned in his Diary: Today [January 6, 1893] while moving I saw one work, unknown to me, by Wysp[ianski]: three girls' heads - impressionistic. [...] And painting strangely proficient and free - I don't know how to do it like that, I checked the same on the hands in his portrait [...], these hands are exquisitely underpainted [Józef Mehoffer, Diary, edited by J. Puciata-Pawłowska, Cracow 1975, p. 188].

Wyspiański valued the way of teaching and the creative freedom that the Académie Colarossi offered. He clearly perceived the difference between the Paris universities and the Cracow School of Fine Arts. He devoted much space to this in his correspondence to friends. In late February and early March 1892 he wrote to Karol Maszkowski: and what to speak of painting itself - one would be found too pale - and so I would be ordered to return [to Cracow] and not scold myself - another would be found too red, another too yellow and so I would be ordered to return and would be laughed at for coming here to paint red or blue. Well, I prefer to avoid that. Despite the freedom afforded by his Parisian professors, Wyspianski quite quickly began the search for his own creative path by concentrating on his own observations and spending more time in the open air than in the atelier. Later in his letter to Maszkowski he noted: I do not advise anyone here, nor do I listen to anyone, but I am learning on my own and I never want to do otherwise - but I want that if anyone believes in me and trusts in me - that he should give me peace of mind, and if he does not trust me let him take away my stipend and I will have to manage on my own and I will manage. On March 22, 1892 he remarked: the Matejko manner I have already got rid of - What I can gather on this new road - it will be my property - but it is a long time - a long time is needed - and again I have no intention of living 60 years. On the other hand, on September 16, 1892, he wrote: I, on the other hand, am no longer interested in paintings or painters or exhibitions - but in nature and my fantasy "from the world into the world of the soul - and into the world - from the soul of the world" [...] I do not need a known intermediary - no hands that would give me nourishment - because the fruits are so visible that you can pick them with your hands and no one defends the orchard. [...] while in the past I succumbed involuntarily to many influences, and later on deliberately - today I move far away from this, and need ask no one - I have my purpose and in painting.

The Paris period was extremely important for the entire later creative path of Stanislaw Wyspianski. It was at this time that his individual style began to take shape. He became bolder in laying down color and with its help, omitting unnecessary details, he built his works.
The presented Parisian contains all the characteristics of the Parisian period in Stanislaw Wyspianski's work and is an extraordinary treat for collectors.


- "Ilustrowany Kurier Codzienny" No. 30 (dated 30 I), 1933, p. 8;

- M. Stokowa, Calendar of the Life and Works 1869-1890 of Stanislaw Wyspiański, Cracow 1971;

- Józef Mehoffer, Diary, ed. J. Puciata-Pawłowska, Cracow 1975;

- Letters of Stanisław Wyspiański to Józef Mehoffer, Henryk Opieński and Tadeusz Stryjeński, ed. L. Płoszewski, M. Rydlowa, T. I, Cracow 1994;

- Letters of Stanisław Wyspiański to Karol Maszkowski, ed. M. Rydlowa, L. Płoszewski, J. Dürr-Durski, T. III, Cracow 1997;

- W. Wyganowska, Wyspiański's Parisian landscapes (1890-1894), [in:] Ikonotheka, Prace Instytutu Historii Sztuki Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, Warsaw 2002;

- A. Wójcik, Stanisław Wyspiański at the Académie Colarossi in Paris, [in:] Krzysztofory. Zeszyty Naukowe Muzeum Historycznego Miasta Krakowa, Kraków 2007.

Stanisław Wyspiański (Kraków 1869 - Kraków 1907) came from a poor bourgeois family with strong patriotic and artistic traditions. He was the son of a woodcarver-sculptor Franciszek, and was orphaned by his mother at the age of seven; at eleven he was taken in by her family due to his father's progressive alcoholism.
The patriotic atmosphere of his uncles' home, their guests - prominent Krakow scholars and artists - influenced his interest in the history of his homeland, the past of Krakow and shaped Wyspianski's consciousness and attitude. As a junior high school student, Wyspiański, who betrayed a talent for painting, enrolled at the School of Fine Arts for the year 1884-1885, which he undertook after high school graduation and took classes in 1887-1891, 1892-1893, 1894-1895 under the direction of Władysław Łuszczkiewicz, Florian Cynk and Izydor Jablonski. In parallel, he studied art and literary history at the Jagiellonian University.
For seven months in late 1889-1890, he worked alongside Jan Matejko on the polychrome of St. Mary's Church. Thanks to a scholarship, in March 1890 he embarked on his first six-month artistic journey in Europe, through Vienna, Italy to Paris, with a tour of Gothic cathedrals in France, in Germany, visiting Munich, Bayreuth, Dresden, Prague, as well as Wroclaw, Poznan and Gniezno. Upon his return, he was commissioned by Matejko to design additions to the Gothic stained glass windows for St. Mary's Church. After receiving a new scholarship in May 1891, he left for Paris.
By the end of that year, he was living with Jozef Mehoffer in the same studio; both did not get into the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, but took up studies at the Academie Colarossi - Wyspiański in the atelier of Gustaven Courtiois, as well as with J. Blanc and L. A. Girardot. Both also enter subsequent competitions for the Rudolfinum in Prague and for a curtain for the Municipal Theater in Krakow, in which they lose. In 1892, the friends part tumultuously.
Wyspianski then rented his own studio and began writing his first dramatic works, referring to mythology. Both he and Mehoffer are invited to a competition for a stained glass window for the cathedral in Lvov Wyspianski spent the fall of 1892 and the winter of 1893 in Krakow, and in February he returned to Paris, where he again lived with Mehoffer until the fall, when he moved out to his own atelier. In December 1893, Wyspianski visited Krakow, where he presented an exhibition of portraits and Parisian landscapes considered by critics to be Impressionist.
In the spring of 1894, he returned to Paris, from where he sent his finished design for the stained glass window Vows of Jan Kazimierz to Lvov for a competition. He arrives in Krakow in October 1894 and, due to the non-renewal of his scholarship, remains permanently.
The Parisian period, which lasted two and a half years, had an impact on shaping Wyspianski's symbolic art, at which time he expanded his worldview by learning about the fashionable theosophical concepts of Edouard Schure, the philosophical concepts of Friedrich Nietzsche, also exploring ancient drama and mythology and becoming fascinated by contemporary theater. Between 1895 and 1897, he worked on the design and realization of a monumental set of polychromies and stained glass windows for the Franciscan Church in Cracow, whose interpretations are believed to be based on a system of hermetic cosmogony; in parallel, he created a series of illustrations to the Iliad and began a series of symbolic canvases alluding to native legends.
The year 1898 marked the artist's literary and theatrical debut: the drama Legenda I appeared in print, and the Municipal Theater staged the drama Warszawianka. Wyspianski was among the founders of the Society of Polish Artists , "Sztuka", and in 1898 became the artistic director of the magazine , "Życie". Creating in a certain isolation and keeping a distance from his surroundings, at that time he became much closer to the artistic community, frequenting ,,Paona", where he created a series of capital portraits of the establishment's regulars.
In 1900 he began work on the drama November Night and sketches of designs for stained glass windows for Wawel Cathedral; on September 18 he married Teofila Pytko, his aunt's maid and mother of his three children; on November 20 he was present at the wedding of his friend, writer Lucjan Rydel to Jadwiga Mikołajczykówna and at their famous wedding in Włodzimierz Tetmajer's manor house in Bronowice.He immortalized the event in the dissonant stage drama The Wedding, which premiered in Krakow on March 16, 1901.
In 1902, he was appointed docent in the department of decorative and ecclesiastical arts at the Academy of Fine Arts. Despite his deteriorating health, in 1903 he was engaged in staging his dramas on the stage of the Cracow theater, in 1904 in designing the decor of the Doctors' Department Store, arranging the so-called "Light House". Świetlica Towarzystwa Artystów Polskich , "Sztuka" (The Common Room of the Society of Polish Artists, "Art"), and, together with architect Władysław Ekielski, a project to restore the splendor of the Wawel Hill, abandoned by the Austrian authorities, intending to elevate it to the status of a symbolic Wawel Acropolis; he continued to enlarge his portrait gallery of prominent personalities, painted family images, and in December - persuaded by Feliks Jasieński - began a series of pastel landscapes of the view from his studio window. In 1905, he ran in a competition for the position of director of the Municipal Theater, but the unfavorable attitude of the community forced him to withdraw.
A serious venereal disease was making rapid progress, and the artist briefly stayed in a treatment center for the neurologically ill. In the summer of 1906, he moved to his own home in the village of Węgrzce near Krakow, and was appointed a professor at the Academy. In 1907, dramas on historical, mythological and contemporary themes appeared in print. After a temporary improvement in his health in the summer, however, the artist died on November 28 in a Krakow clinic, surrounded by family and friends; after a solemn funeral mass at St. Mary's Church, the coffin was deposited in the Crypt of Merit of the Pauline Church on Skalka.
Subordinated to the imperative of artistic synthesis of the arts, Wyspianski's oeuvre, which closed between 1889 and 1907, includes 17 dramatic works and rhapsodies, as well as poetic trifles dedicated to friends, hundreds of portraits, dozens of landscapes, countless studies and drawings for stained glass and polychrome designs, costume studies and designs for scenography, furniture, book covers, vignettes, interludes and inventory drawings. One is struck by the unparalleled ardor and creative power of an artist subjected to the pressures of a terminal illness for many years.
His art, like the entire era, is made of contradictions. Creating his own artistic vision of the world and man, Wyspianski tries to reconcile tradition with contemporaneity, the reality of historical facts and everyday life, and observation of nature in his literary and painting works.
(Written by: Elżbieta Charazińska)
Early Art Auction
19 March 2023 CET/Warsaw
Start price
125 274 EUR
146 153 - 187 911 EUR
Hammer price
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Early Art Auction
19 March 2023 CET/Warsaw
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