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 Wieslaw Obrzydowski  (1938 - )

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Lived/Active: Poland      Known for: neo-expressionist portrait, land-and cityscape painting

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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.

Wieslaw Obrzydowski was born on March 11, 1938 in Krakow into a working class family.  He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow in 1966.  He studied painting under Waclaw Taranczewski and completed his diploma under Hanna Rudzka-Cybisowa.  Most of the professors of Krakow's Academy ( Akademia Sztuk Pieknych) during Obrzydowski's stay there were Kapists, the artists or students of Polish Colorists who around !910 formed Paris Commitee (Komitet Paryski - K.P.). 

As a student from a rather poor background, Obrzydowski had to adopt conformist attitudes in order to get much needed scholarship money, which was barely enough for buying food, brushes and paint. There was usually no money left for the canvases.  Thus, already then he started to paint on whatever material he could find - cardboard, paper, old canvases, boxes, and so on.  If a canvas fell into his hand, he would cover it with wild colors on both sides.

Roughly at the same time as Georg Baselitz in Germany he started painting  things upside down, and often on a very roughly constructed canvas, which looked deformed, uneven, punctured, and really untidy. This anti-aestheticism combined with his love for strong colors gradually became his signature.  He would mainly paint family, friends, working class people, prostitutes and pimps, but also randomly anyone who would come to his studio or meet him in the street.  But he would not reject also painting cityscapes or landscapes. 

During the communist time, Obrzydowski played a role of a local beautifier - the usually gray and neglected buildings and streets of Krakow on Obrzydowski's paintings appear cheerful, colorful and inspiring.  He could do what Polish architects couldn't do then.  
Wieslaw Obrzydowski is acknowledged in the Encyklopedia Kultury Polskiej as the father of Polish Nowi Dzicy, the 1980s formation, the equivalent of Germany's Neue Wilde movement.  He is Poland's most prominent exponent of Neo Expressionsm and New Figuration.  At 71 Obrzydowski is still active today in his studio at Ulica Krakowska or in the streets of his beloved Krakow. 

His paintings can be found in all major galleries and museums in Poland, including National Museum in Krakow and the Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw.  His painterly output goes into thousands and it's difficult to talk about any estimate as his works are dispered all over the world: in Europe, Australia, Africa, Asia and both Americas.

Signature note: He signs all of his paintings with initials-WO.

Information provided by  Dr.  Zygmunt Jaslowski, Dept. Of Liberal Arts, Hongik Unversity, Jochiwon Campus.

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