Roman Kochanowski (1857-1945) - the last “Münchener” from Poland

Roman Kochanowski with his son Roman Junior in his Munich atelier, around 1903, photographer unknown
Roman Kochanowski with his son Roman Junior in his Munich atelier, around 1903, photographer unknown

From 1892, Kochanowski was a member in the Watercolourists’ Club, an organisation of the Watercolourist Clubs of the Cooperative of Creative Artists in Vienna, and took part in their exhibitions, sometimes as the only Polish artist. His unassuming, small-format landscapes satisfied the tastes of the day. Occasionally, their creator was honoured; sometimes, in an exhibition report, somebody would underline the particular charm of the very personal works. The honours include the honorary second class degree, which was awarded to the artist in 1891 on the occasion of an exhibition in London, and the silver medal of the Lemberg General Regional Exhibition of 1894.

The late eighties and early nineties represented an important phase in the life of Roman Kochanowski. He had settled in Munich, formed friendships and developed fixed routines. At the same time, he was becoming more and more sceptical at the thought of returning to Poland. Spurred on by Piotr Stachiewicz and his family, he sometimes thought about moving to Kraków but the financial uncertainty of artists in Poland and the unfavourable conditions on the Polish art market led him to reject the idea. His long-term relationship with Maria, the daughter of the Bavarian entrepreneur Kaffel, culminated in their marriage in 1984. His only child, a son, Roman Junior, was born two years later.

Kochanowski was able to establish himself as an artist early, during the first phase of his work. But he never felt the inner need to gain new impressions and inspirations by engaging with other cultural traditions and places. His fulfilled his ambitions and satisfied his need for emotionalism by only depicting seemingly random nature motifs. These were usually sweeping plains, the monotony of which was broken up by casually interspersed huts, sparse plantations, a wood, or a dirt track. Like the exponents of the Barbizon School, he painted groups of trees at the waterside and polder fields or he created visions within a wood. He was not interested in cityscapes or rural traditions. He brought the poor areas of Krakow to life with staffage.[11] His favourite accessories were geese and cows, but most frequently he chose a female figure which lent the  compositions a warm, intimate character. The artist never tried to capture fleeting, barely perceptible changes in his landscapes dictated by the time of day, the play of the clouds or the terrain profiles; instead, what he captured on canvas were things that he considered permanent and enduring. All the components of his pictures were shown in scattered light. A low horizon and a high, cloudy sky form the space in which the person is no more than a barely perceptible speck and a somewhat insignificant part of the world.

 

[11] The artist even gave pictures inspired by Bavarian landscapes names that suggest that they portrayed Polish subject matters.

Mediathek
  • Roman Kochanowski with his son Roman Junior in his Munich atelier

    Roman Kochanowski with his son Roman Junior

    Roman Kochanowski with his son Roman Junior in his Munich atelier, around 1903, photographer unknown, 13 x 18 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft, 1879, oil on canvas, 115 x 156 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft

    Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft, 1879, oil on canvas, 115 x 156 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Der Abend, 1879, oil on canvas, 62 x 100 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Der Abend

    Roman Kochanowski, Der Abend, 1879, oil on canvas, 62 x 100 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Aus der Gegend von Krakau, 1886, oil on canvas, 211 x 117 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Aus der Gegend von Krakau

    Roman Kochanowski, Aus der Gegend von Krakau, 1886, oil on canvas, 211 x 117 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Winterliche Landschaft, 1886, 74 x 119 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Winterliche Landschaft

    Roman Kochanowski, Winterliche Landschaft, 1886, 74 x 119 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft bei Krakau, 1886, oil on canvas, 33 x 54.7 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft bei Krakau

    Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft bei Krakau, 1886, oil on canvas, 33 x 54.7 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft [im Winter], 1896, oil on paper, 102 x 29 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft [in winter]

    Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft [im Winter], 1896, oil on paper, 102 x 29 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft [mit Weiden], 1896, oil on paper, 17.7 x 23 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft [mit Weiden]

    Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft [mit Weiden], 1896, oil on paper, 17.7 x 23 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Heuschober, 1896, oil on paper, 15 x 23 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Heuschober

    Roman Kochanowski, Heuschober, 1896, oil on paper, 15 x 23 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft mit Gänsen, 1896, archive photo

    Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft mit Gänsen

    Roman Kochanowski, Dorflandschaft mit Gänsen, 1896, archive photo
  • Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft mit Kühen, 1899, oil on canvas, 20 x 30.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft mit Kühen

    Roman Kochanowski, Landschaft mit Kühen, 1899, oil on canvas, 20 x 30.5 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Porträt des Vaters, ca. 1920, oil on canvas,  23 x 15.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Porträt des Vaters

    Roman Kochanowski, Porträt des Vaters, ca. 1920, oil on canvas, 23 x 15.5 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Trembowla, 1890-1900, drawing, pencil on paper, 14 x 22 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Trembowla

    Roman Kochanowski, Trembowla, 1890-1900, drawing, pencil on paper, 14 x 22 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski Junior, before 1910, gallery photo, 17.8 x 18 cm, photographer: Atelier Gebrüder Lützel, Munich

    Roman Kochanowski Junior, before 1910

    Roman Kochanowski Junior, before 1910, gallery photo, 17.8 x 18 cm, photographer: Atelier Gebrüder Lützel, Munich
  • Roman Kochanowski, ca. 1890, gallery photo, 10.8 x 6.5 cm, photographer: Franz Hanfstaengl, Munich

    Roman Kochanowski, ca. 1890

    Roman Kochanowski, ca. 1890, gallery photo, 10.8 x 6.5 cm, photographer: Franz Hanfstaengl, Munich
  • Roman Kochanowski’s letter to the magistrate Freising dated 5 September 1896, relates to his son Roman, born in 1894, first and fourth page, with the artist’s signature, 18 x 22.6 cm

    Roman Kochanowski’s letter to the magistrate Freising

    Roman Kochanowski’s letter to the magistrate Freising dated 5 September 1896, relates to his son Roman, born in 1894, first and fourth page, with the artist’s signature, 18 x 22.6 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book with a team of oxen, one ox lying down and one ox on the wagon, pencil on paper, 7.3 x 23 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book

    Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book with a team of oxen, one ox lying down and one ox on the wagon, pencil on paper, 7.3 x 23 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book showing four figures, pencil on paper, 8.4 x 15.7 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book

    Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book showing four figures, pencil on paper, 8.4 x 15.7 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book showing a peasant’s horse and carriage in motion, pencil on paper, 15 x 11 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book

    Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book showing a peasant’s horse and carriage in motion, pencil on paper, 15 x 11 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book showing two women, a flute player and a peasant’s horse and carriage, pencil on paper, 14.3 x 18.7 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book

    Roman Kochanowski, page from a sketch book showing two women, a flute player and a peasant’s horse and carriage, pencil on paper, 14.3 x 18.7 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Engelsberg [Bavaria], photo, photographic paper on board, 14.5 x 19.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Engelsberg [Bavaria]

    Roman Kochanowski, Engelsberg [Bavaria], photo, photographic paper on board, 14.5 x 19.5 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Wieliczka [near Kraków], photo, photographic paper on board, 14.5 x 19.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Wieliczka [near Kraków]

    Roman Kochanowski, Wieliczka [near Kraków], photo, photographic paper on board, 14.5 x 19.5 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Das Schloss von Trembowla, photo, photographic paper on board, 14.5 x 19.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Das Schloss von Trembowla

    Roman Kochanowski, Das Schloss von Trembowla, photo, photographic paper on board, 14.5 x 19.5 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Trees at the waterside, photo, photographic paper on board, 23.5 x 17.3 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Trees at the waterside

    Roman Kochanowski, Trees at the waterside, photo, photographic paper on board, 23.5 x 17.3 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Girl, fan leaf, oil on mahogany, 27 x 8.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Girl

    Roman Kochanowski, Girl, fan leaf, oil on mahogany, 27 x 8.5 cm
  • Envelope addressed to Roman Kochanowski, Sender: Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski, 12 August 1913, 11 x 13.7 cm

    Envelope addressed to Roman Kochanowski

    Envelope addressed to Roman Kochanowski, Sender: Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski, 12 August 1913, 11 x 13.7 cm
  • 15.	Roman Kochanowski, Landscape with peasant woman, 1887, copperplate on paper, 23 x 15 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Landscape with peasant woman

    15. Roman Kochanowski, Landscape with peasant woman, 1887, copperplate on paper, 23 x 15 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, two fan leaves, drafts, oil on paper, 28.7 x 26.4 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, two fan leaves

    Roman Kochanowski, two fan leaves, drafts, oil on paper, 28.7 x 26.4 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, illustrations, handwriting sample and sketch of a figure, drafts, pen and ink on paper, 20.8 x 22 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, illustrations

    Roman Kochanowski, illustrations, handwriting sample and sketch of a figure, drafts, pen and ink on paper, 20.8 x 22 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, illustrations, Hunter with a dog and a man’s head, drafts, pen and ink on paper, 20.6 x 29.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, illustrations

    Roman Kochanowski, illustrations, Hunter with a dog and a man’s head, drafts, pen and ink on paper, 20.6 x 29.5 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, illustration, draft, pen and ink on board, 30 x 23 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, illustration

    Roman Kochanowski, illustration, draft, pen and ink on board, 30 x 23 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Girl on the shore of a lake, cover page, draft, black chalk on board, 32 x 23.6 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Girl on the shore of a lake

    Roman Kochanowski, Girl on the shore of a lake, cover page, draft, black chalk on board, 32 x 23.6 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Two women in a landscape, 1887, own technique, board, 25.6 x 24 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Two women in a landscape

    Roman Kochanowski, Two women in a landscape, 1887, own technique, board, 25.6 x 24 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Seascape with sailing ship in a roadstead, photo, photographic paper on board, 28.5 x 42.3 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Seascape with sailing ship in a roadstead

    Roman Kochanowski, Seascape with sailing ship in a roadstead, photo, photographic paper on board, 28.5 x 42.3 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Vase, draft, oil on paper, 19.5 x 26.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Vase

    Roman Kochanowski, Vase, draft, oil on paper, 19.5 x 26.5 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, Historical scene, illustration, black pen on paper, 28 x 35.5 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, Historical scene

    Roman Kochanowski, Historical scene, illustration, black pen on paper, 28 x 35.5 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski, cover page of the Kraków magazine “Świat”, draft, black pen on paper, 32 x 23.2 cm

    Roman Kochanowski, cover page of the Kraków magazine “Świat”

    Roman Kochanowski, cover page of the Kraków magazine “Świat”, draft, black pen on paper, 32 x 23.2 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski in front of the easel in his atelier, photo, 20.6 x 13.5 cm, photographer unknown

    Roman Kochanowski in his atelier

    Roman Kochanowski in front of the easel in his atelier, photo, 20.6 x 13.5 cm, photographer unknown
  • Roman Kochanowski working outdoors, photo, 12.8 x 17.8 cm, photographer unknown

    Working outdoors

    Roman Kochanowski working outdoors, photo, 12.8 x 17.8 cm, photographer unknown
  • Roman Kochanowski, Landscape, photo, 8.2 x 32.2 cm (template for a painting)

    Roman Kochanowski, Landscape

    Roman Kochanowski, Landscape, photo, 8.2 x 32.2 cm (template for a painting)
  • Daily entries in Roman Kochanowski’s notebook, 14 x 8.3 cm

    Daily entries

    Daily entries in Roman Kochanowski’s notebook, 14 x 8.3 cm
  • The artist’s sketch book, 20.4 x 16.3 cm

    The artist’s sketch book

    The artist’s sketch book, 20.4 x 16.3 cm
  • Roman Kochanowski’s grave, resting place in the forest cemetery in Munich, 2015

    Roman Kochanowski’s grave

    Roman Kochanowski’s grave, resting place in the forest cemetery in Munich, 2015