Axentowicz, Teodor

Italian flower seller, 1882
Italian flower seller, Munich 1882, oil on canvas, 125 x 87 cm

Axentowicz, Teodor, Polish-Armenian painter, member of the “Munich School”. 1878-82: student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich/Akademie der Bildenden Künste München. *13.5.1859 Kronstadt/Brassó/Braszów/Brașov, †26.8.1938 Kraków. Born into a Polish-Armenian family. On the 17.10.1878 he enrols in the antiquity class at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich/Königlichen Akademie der Bildenden Künste München, studies under Gabriel von Hackl (1843-1926), Sandór (Alexander von) Wagner (1838-1919) and Gyula Benczúr (1844-1920). 1882-95: in the Paris workshop of Carolus-Duran (1837-1917) where he becomes intensely interested in the works of old masters and makes copies of works by Botticelli, Titian, Velázquez, Correggio, and Lebrun. Regular trips to London (portrait commissions) and great interest in the works of English painters (Gainsborough, Whistler, the Pre-Raphaelites). In Paris he gets to know leading artists and academics, and soon becomes a famous portraitist of people in the salons (including Sarah Bernhardt). 1894 he works on the Racławice Panorama by Wojciech Kossak and Jan Styka (now in Wroclaw). 1895-1934: Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków/Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Krakowie, 1910 and 1927/28: Rector. 1897: he sets up a painting school for women. Founding member of the Society of Polish artists, Sztuka. Member of the Vienna Secession and staff member on the periodical Ver Sacrum. 1904: co-organises the Polish Section of the World Exhibition in St. Louis. From 1908 onwards: corresponding member of the Austrian Hagenbund. Numerous awards: 1909 Vienna, Knight of the Order of the Iron Crown; 1923 the Commander’s Cross for Services to the Republic of Poland; 1929 Major Gold Medal, Poznań; 1936 Order of Polonia Restituta. Axentowicz initially paints genre and history pictures in the tradition of the “Munich School”. In Paris, he paints numerous portraits and motifs from life in Eastern Galicia, including scenes of religious festivities featuring traditional costumes and rural objects: also pictures with human figures and idealistic portraits in the spirit of Symbolism, pictures of children, and Jugendstil still lifes and flowers. He designs posters (including one for the first exhibitions by the Sztuka group), algraphs, clay cuts and church windows. Until 1918: illustrations in Polish periodicals. His works can be found in the national museums in Breslau, Kraków, Poznań and Warsaw, in the Art Museum in Łódź/Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, in the Museum of Opole Silesia/Muzeum Śląska Opolskiego Opole, in the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and in the Neue Hofburg in Vienna.


Solo exhibitions: 1923 Kraków, Polski Akropolis; 1927, 1928 Society of the Friends of the Fine Arts/Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych w Krakowie / 1930 Łódź, Municipal Gallery; Warsaw, Zachęnta / 1939 Lemberg/Lwów, Society of the Friends of the Fine Arts/Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych

Group exhibitions: 1905 Munich, 9th International Exhibition / 1914 Venice, International Art Exhibition / 1935 Berlin: Polish Art.

Further Reading: T.Dobrowolski/W.Tatarkiewicz: Historia sztuki polskiej, Cracow 1962, p. 285; Saur Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, vol. 6, Munich/Leipzig 1992, p. 22; Halina Stępień/Maria Liczbińska: Artyści polscy w środowisku monachijskim w latach 1828-1914. Materiały źródłowe, Warsaw 1994, p. 12, 28; Halina Ste̜pień: Artyści polscy w środowisku monachijskim w latach 1856-1914 (Studia z historii sztuki / Instytut Sztuki, Polska Akademia Nauk, 50), Warsaw 2003; Egzotyczna Europa. Kraj urodzenia na płótnach polskich monachijczyków/Das exotische Europa. Heimatvisionen auf den Gemälden der polnischen Künstler in München, exhibition catalogue. Suwałki 2015

Online: Matriculation data base, Matriculation book 2, Academy of Fine Arts Munich, 03601 Theodor Axentowiez (sic!),

Irena Kossowska: Teodor Axentowicz (2002) at:,

Many works at Pinakoteka Zascianek,


Axel Feuß

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  • Italian flower seller, Munich 1882

    Italian flower seller, Munich 1882, oil on canvas, 125 x 87 cm