While in Wroclaw (Poland) this weekend, a friend introduced me to the art of one of the most well-known late 19th – early 20th century Polish artists Stanislaw Wyspianski (1869-1907). Wyspianski was an all-round artistic genius – a playwright, poet, artist and designer! The characterful vivacity and vivid colouring in his works betray his love for theatre and drama but his perceptive nature is also evident in the sensitivity of his character studies. His works depict small snippets of daily life – thematically and stylistically having much in common with his contemporaries, the post-impressionist group Les Nabis – including Vuillard and Bonnard who focused on the symbolic and spiritual in everyday life. There is also something very ‘Toulouse-Lautrec’ in the manner in which Wyspianski uses line and contour. Most of the pastel drawings and paintings in this post depict scenes from family life which must have been a constant source of inspiration for him.
I adore the way in which Wyspianski has so accurately captured that dazed and confused expression of a child who has just woken up, not quite sure where she is, or what is going on.
This is a self portrait of Wyspianski with his wife who is dressed in a traditional Polish costume. With their serious and concentrated expressions it seems probable that Wyspianski was copying their reflections in a mirror.
This tender image illustrates the nurturing quality of a mother and the fascination and concern of the older daughters. The image also shows how Wyspianski experimented and played with style – this painting looking distinctly Pre-Raphaelite.