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 Wojciech Adalbert Kossak  (1857 - 1942)

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Lived/Active: Poland/France      Known for: historical battle scene painting, horses, portraits

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A Polish painter known for historical scenes, often with horses, Wojciech Kossak was born in Paris, and was a member of a family of four generations of notable painters whose surname was Kossak.  His father was historical painter, Juliusz Kossak (1824-1899); he was the identical twin brother of freedom fighter Tadeusz Kossak (1857-1935), and the father of painter Jerzy Kossak (1886-1955). 

Wojciech Kossak was much influenced by his father with whom he studied drawing.  In 1871 Wojciech attended the School of Fine Arts in Krakow, where his teacher was Wladyslaw Luszczkiewicz (1828-1900).  Four years later, he enrolled in the Munich Academy of Fine Arts* and was a student of Alexander Wagner (1839-1919), Alexander Strohuber (1814-1882), and Wilhlem Lindenschmit (1829-1895).  

He returned to Krakow in 1876, and worked on paintings of historic patriotic themes, often of battles.  He was especially fond of depicting horses, which viewers found especially appealing.  His authenticity in rendering these subjects improved after he spent a short period of service in 1876 in the Krakow Cavalry Regiment.  In 1877, he again went to Paris and this time studied with Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889) and Leon Bonnat (1833-1922) at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts*.

In 1884, Kossak returned to Krakow and continued to do large-scale oil paintings and watercolours of historical themes including the Napoleonic Wars and subjects of notable Polish battles in Central and Eastern Europe against foreign invaders.  One of his most famous paintings is The Raclawice Panorama, which is in a collection in Wroclaw, Poland.  To view this circular panorama* advantageously, the viewer should stand in the middle from where various scenes from different perspectives can be seen.  Eight other artists participated in the creation of the work, which is a patriotic commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the victorious Battle of Raclawice, whereby an insurrection in defense of Polish independence was remembered for the bravery of the participants.

He also did several portraits including self portraits, family member subjects as well as the nobility, and military figures.

Wojciech Kossak died in Krakow in 1942.


* For more in-depth information about these terms and others, see Glossary


Biography from Agra Art S.A.:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Wojciech Kossak, son of Juliusz Kossak, was a painter and studied at the Krakow School of Fine Arts as well as the Munich Academy and in Paris.  From 1895-1902 he worked for Cesar Wilhelm II in Berlin.  Wojciech Kossak traveled a lot, visiting Spain and Egypt among others.  In later years he often visited the United States in order to fulfill portrait orders.

In 1912 he was appointed professor at the Warsaw School of Fine Arts.  During World War I Kossak served in the army.  He was the co-creator of the Panoramas of: Raclawice (1893-1894), Berezyna (1895-1896), The battle under the Pyramids (1901) and of the Samosierra unfinished sketches (1900). 

The artist created battle, generic and historical scenes as well as portraits.  He loved to paint horses.  Kossak's art greatly appealed to the patriotic feeling of the Polish nation.

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