Article

Colorists

The main condition for the creation of a painting is its painterly concept (...). The work of art exists in itself. While painting from nature, we want to create the canvas which would reflect our painterly experience, not to create a document of reality, but to reflect the game of relations and artistic activities towards which this nature guides us. All relations in nature must be transposed to the conditions of canvas (plane) and there acquire a peculiar significance.  The color on the canvas is created only by imitating the color from the nature - it does not work in a painterly way. The more proper the color is, the fuller and the form is and the closer to artistic production. 

Jan Cybis

 

What distinguished the new artistic school was the monolithic form of the views of its stuff. Both the first founders as well as their successors were considered colorists. At the dawn of Polish reception of colorism was the painter Józef Pankiewicz who, in 1923, together with a group of novice painters from Kraków Academy of Fine Arts, founded the Paris Committee aimed at preparing students to study in Paris. Its members, after the abbreviation KP (Komitet Paryski – Paris Committee), were called the Kapists after the war. In 1924, a year after the Committee was established the first group of painters came to Paris, including Jan Cybis, Józef Czapski, Artur Nacht-Samborski, Piotr Potworowski, Janusz Strzałecki. In the 1930s, another group came to Paris, including some of the future founders of the artistic school in Sopot: Juliusz Studnicki, Krystyna Łada-Studnicka, Jacek Żuławski and Hanna Jasińska (later Żuławska). 

In front of School in Sopot, from left: Juliusz Studnicki, Jacek Żuławski, Krystyna Łada-Studnicka, Jan Wodyński, Hanna Żuławska, Franciszek Duszeńko, Roman Madeyski, Janusz Bielski, Adam Smolana, Sopot 1947 [IV/4/039], fot. Archiwum Zbrojowni Sztuki

Although the avant-garde movement was developing in Poland at the same time, it was Cézanne who was in the center of the Polish colorists' attention. They wanted to continue not only his artistic attitude but also the ethical one, which was focused on honesty in studying nature. In the face of impossibility of presenting the world objectively, the picture should be created – according to them – just as in Cézanne's case, by the fragmentary impressions, changing with to the point of view. It means that the internal logic of the picture is against nature and it is subject to its own painterly rules. Cézanne's lesson was continued in both Cubism and Fauvism, followed by the abstract art. Despite the flow of time and the dynamic changes in the development of artistic thought, the Kapists came to a standstill at Cézanne's discoveries. 


Thanks to the monolithic structure of the views of the founders and lecturers on the Coast, there has never been a conflict between the avant-garde and the traditional attitudes, typical and even crucial for other artistic circles. Seven founders were later joined by Artur Nacht-Samborski, Jan Wodyński, Stanisław Teisseyre, Stanisław Borysowski, Jan Cybis, Piotr Potworowski. Marian Wnuk, who acted as rector and left for Warsaw in 1949, was replaced by Stanisław Horno-Popławski and Adam Smolan. They set the tone of the artistic life of the entire Coast. The most significant artistic initiatives were born in their circle, such as a pioneering idea of the Festival of Fine Arts in Sopot. They enthusiastically joined the reconstruction of destroyed Gdańsk, e.g. carrying out the renovation of the buildings by the Kings' Road in Gdańsk.