WIND, CANTER AND HOOFBEAT
Genre painting is enjoying a true revival, with horses becoming a dominant theme in many of the compositions. At the art auctions, collectors are looking for compositions presenting horse driving, gliding sleds, and carts coming back from the market. The works by the artists from the Munich School, painters schooled in Bavaria's capital, as well as the paintings by the Kossak family, a true artistic phenomenon on the Polish auction market, enjoy an unflagging interest.
Our upcoming "Art Outlet. 19th Century and Modern Art", which takes place in our headquarters at Piękna 1A in Warsaw on 10 February, presents you with a unique work by Jerzy Kossak. The 1927 composition belongs to the representations that honor the grandeur of the Polish army. Although Kossiak did not present any specific historical event in the picture, two Polish troops chasing fleeing Bolsheviks match the theme very well. Jerzy Kossak reinterpreted the motifs of the Polish-Bolshevik conflict in his art on numerous occasions. In this scene, we're looking at a brave chase set against the background of a lowland winter scene. Jerzy never received a formal education. Nonetheless, the artist polished his skills under the watchful supervision of his father, Wojciech, with whom he subsequently co-owned a well-known studio in Krakow's Kossakówka villa. In the painting presented at our auction, we can see the artist's exceptional artistic mastery. The horses were depicted in creative foreshortening from both the front and back.
The Munich School also experimented with genre painting, making use of comparable themes. The capital of Bavaria was a special city for Polish artists in the second half of the nineteenth century. It was a mecca to which they flocked with the same enthusiasm as Paris. Józef Brandt and Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski were of high importance in Munich. They became mentors to Poles coming to Germany, indirectly influencing many creators in their milieu. A bit enigmatic and known now only by the initials of his name and surname, J. Konarski, is a perfect example of an artist drawing direct inspiration from Wierusz-Kowalski artistic achievements. His art is of such high quality that it was once thought that Wierusz-Kowalski authored the works himself. This dynamic scene depicts a sleigh gliding through snowdrifts. The drivers look terrified, as a pack of hungry wolves is chasing them down. The setting sun and grey sky herald the impending snowstorm. The overall atmosphere is one of horror, demonstrating the author's mastery of building emotional tension.
Czesław Wasilewski and Ignacy Zygmuntowicz were also most likely educated in the Bavarian capital. Their biographies are very vague. Wasilewski's works are frequently attributed to Zygmuntowicz, and vice versa. The painters also lived at the same time and were interested in similar motifs. It is, indeed, all very mysterious. The auction also includes an intriguing landscape depicting a meeting at the Czesław Wasilewski Bridge, which is a direct reference to composition by Józef Brandt. A closer look reveals an almost mirror image of Brandt's "Meeting on the Bridge" from 1888, which is kept in the National Museum in Krakow. A similar disposition of space can be found in Zygmuntowicz's "Meeting on the Road." In this painting, drivers try to pass the sleigh on the snowy road. These types of depictions, popularized by the Munich school, are typical of genre painting. The viewer is free to interpret the context of the presented scene. Here, on a cold day, the hosts go to the market. In the background, we see snow-covered buildings and a village.
Our winter auction also includes other noteworthy works. The composition by Józef Jaroszyski appears to be quite intriguing. It shows a wagon pulled by horses that stopped on a muddy road near a small bridge across the river. The painter has also put an emphasis on clusters of clouds looming in the sky. Horses are also depicted in Stanisław Kaczor-Batowski's paintings. His painting "Horses' Watering," presenting a group of military gathered at the watering place and adoring the local village girls, is alsovery intriguing. A painting by Felix Franicz portraying the leaving Uhlan cavalry is another example of patriotic art. Eventually, the work "Race" by Russian painter Alessio Issupoff takes yet another approach to the theme.