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 Bogdan Kazimierz Skupinski  (1942 - )

About: Bogdan Kazimierz Skupinski


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Lived/Active: New York / Poland      Known for: graphics, anti-war genre

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Poland, Bogdan Skupinski came to the United States in 1971 and became a naturalized citizen in 1976. He studied at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris, and in New York City is president of Bogdan & Associates, graphic artists. He also does fine-art painting and has addressed anti-war themes.

In 1968, he was the recipient of the Grand Prize of the National Salon of Young Artists in Paris. In 1971, he won the first prize for prints and drawings at the National Connecticut Academy Exhibition in Hartford.

The following are excerpts from exhibition reviews:

ART/WORLD, 11/20,/1980, re the Atlantic Gallery in New York:
"The etchings of Skupinski, born in Poland and trained in the graphic arts capital of Cracow, shows a mixed grill of politically spawned statements. A haggard survivor, with broken shackles, emerges from an abyss littered with the broken tools of war. In 'New Proclamation,' a man tumbles head first down steep stone stairs. A crowd gathers. The falling body bridges their despair. The atmosphere is redolent of Goya's Disasters of War" etchings."

ARTSPEAK, 11/20/1980, "Printmaking Years" by Palmer Poroner
While Suchy (John Suchy) convinces us of outward reality by fidelity to many fine details (and selecting out many others), Bogdan Skupinski describes current events, documentation of dramatic events that have touched the people as a whole. They are made real by his dramatic intensity and his, often dramatic, symbolism. His large etchings and aquatints at Atlantic Gallery . . . are more profoundly, the narrative of Skupinski's spiritual and intellectual voyage over the past ten years. As a boy, he was deeply affected by his father's return 'from the dead', Nazi prison camps, after an absence during several of his most impressionistic years. His father provided him with a description of the Holocaust to fill that void. We see several delineations of that horror, as Skupinski finds them affecting his own imagination.

Other dramatic events of war, liberation, the Kennedy assassinations are also alluded to. The symbolism takes on a progression, as one work, in three parts divided vertically, shows the three Kennedy brothers walking up the beach, then two, then one. There is a three part work on Jackie also. Skupinski takes naturally to ideas for employing symbols.

Skupinski finds dramatic power in his use of symbols, but his use of heavy black shows graphic technique for dramatic power. All his works are strong in composition, though some seem more journalist in style. Part of this comes from his employing images from published photos, but also from the techniques themselves. As a technician there is no doubt to his qualifications. Often he will tend to be more expressionist in nature. . . Skupinski's nature is to combine ideas with fantasy that has surreal or allegorical implications. He roots his work in his own emotions, so that his "Documentaries' become a more personal art as well."

NEW HORIZON 5/1976 "Bogdan Skupinski" by Boleslaw Wierzbianski, Ed.
"Several American papers have already mentioned the up-to-date achievements of the young artist Bogdan Skupinski. His works place him in the ranks of American Pop artists; his art, however, does not efface the awareness of his origin, but on the contrary, strengthens its position, rings out its refinement and culture."

Bogdan Skupinski was born in Poland in 1942. He received the Diploma of the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts in the very year this institution celebrated its 150th anniversary. After graduating from two departments--painting and graphics--he continued his studies in he Ecole Nationale Superieure in Paris.

During the third year of his stay on France, he exhibited his works twice in the Salon d'Autonne, Grand Palais in Paris. Here he was noticed by the Inspector General Chef di Service de la Creation Artistique and received the Purchase Award of the Ministry of Culture. The rest followed rapidly--collections such as that of the National Library (one of the most esteemed in the world), Commission Consultative de Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, expositions in the Musee d'Art Moderne, Musee Galliera, and others.

In 1971 Bodgan Skupinski set out for New York, not disheartened by the discouraging news brought by his American colleagues. With a sparkling enthusiasm he applied himself to work. The first exhibition in which he took part (in 1971) was organized by the National Academy of Design in New York. He was awarded the Cannon Prize for Graphics. In the very same year the New Jersey State Museum awarded him a special purchase prize; The Connecticut Academy in Hartford the first prize for Prints and Drawings; and the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. purchased his works for its collection.

These initial success opened a door and brought him invitations for a number of expositions such as the ones at the New York University, American University in Washington and the Kosciuszko Foundation in New York. All of his works reveal a high degree of engagement in contemporary problems and demonstrate their creator's well defined outlook upon life and his excellent command of the painter's art.

His previous works for which he was awarded in Poland a Grand Prix of the First National Salon of Painting Graphics, Sculpture and Photography by Young Artists were an attempt at confrontation with the last World War, an attempt at exploration of the complex field of feelings, emotions, experiences, and sensations. For Bogdan Skupinski it was not, however, a matter of simply anecdotal relation. At all times the artist is searching for a form of expression which would enable him a total and effective awakening of fright and apprehension of the threatening destruction and extinction.

In the works that follow, as a result of the new environment in which he finds himself, he searches for and registers new events and new discoveries, still, the image presented remains constantly faithful to its content. Skupinski's art id figurative and it enables him to express the essential meaning of events, experiences, and impressions, as well as to bring to our attention the problems related to them.

His works full of suggestion, expressiveness, and deep humanism, area true attempt of confrontation with the present day reality and its conflicts. It is exactly this desire to face our reality and discover its essence that prompted the creation of the new collection entitled "John F. Kennedy Memorial; Exhibition of Graphics." His new figural compositions speak to us at the top of their voice, attract us by their symbolism, their veracity, and their flawless execution.

One of the works from this cycle commemorating President J.F. Kennedy, was granted a prize-medal at the International Grafik Biennal, Frechen 1976, Federal republic of Germany. The Frechen Exposition has one of the best reputations in the world, inviting artists from all over the world.

Finally, I would like to cite some evidence which the artist presents in the search for the essence of this subject matter: "If I did not believe that Art could be a vehicle to effect change or only a palliative against today's civilization, then I would cease to be interested in it."

The Smithsonian Libraries Collection houses a collection of brochures, press releases, exhibition catalogues and other papers.

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