Bębnowski, Wacław, Polish sculptor and ceramist, member of the “Munich School”. From 1893: student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, resident in Munich till around 1896. *15.8.1865 Dubieniec, †26.5.1945 Aleksandrów Kujawski. From 1888: studies at the Cracow Academy of Fine Arts/Akademia Sztuk Pięknych w Krakowie under Izydor Jabłoński (1865-1905) and Alfred Daun (1854-1922). On the 17.10.1893 he enrols in the sculpture class at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, and studies under Wilhelm von Rümann (1850-1906). Further studies in Paris at the Académie Colarossi under François-Laurent Rolard (1842-1912). From around 1897, he runs a ceramics workshop in Cracow, where he makes decorative sculptures and vessels. Following a suggestion made by an acquaintance from his time in Paris, Leon Wodziński, in 1903 he sets up a workshop on his Służewo property in Kujawsko, where he is commissioned to make busts of Wodziński’s ancestors, baptismal fonts, pulpit figures and Ways of the Cross in terracotta for churches in the region. In 1905 he purchases from Wodziński a piece of land containing large reserves of clay in Aleksandrów Kujawski. He gives lessons in drawing in municipal schools and his own workshop. He sells his work, above all decorative sculptures and vessels at home and abroad. His artistic development is strongly influenced by Jugendstil. He designs vases and jugs with richly decorated figures and ornaments, animals, literary characters (including characters from Far East mythology), and portrait busts. He mainly works in terracotta with his own methods of patination. He also makes drawings, water colours and oil paintings. His works can be found in the national museums in Poznań and Warsaw and in the Kuyavian Museum in Włocławek/Muzeum Ziemi Kujawskiej i Dobrzyńskiej we Włocławku.
Solo exhibitions: 1898, 1904 Warsaw, Salon Krywult / 1945 Toruń, Retrospective.
Group exhibitions: Since 1898 Warsaw, Society of the Friends of the Fine Arts/Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Sztuk Pięknych
Further Reading: Saur Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon, vol. 8, Munich/Leipzig 1994, p. 96; Halina Stępień/Maria Liczbińska: Artyści polscy w środowisku monachijskim w latach 1828-1914. Materiały źródłowe, Warsaw 1994, p. 19, 29; Krystyna Kotula: Wacław Bębnowski 1865-1945. Katalog dzieł ze zbiorów Muzeum Ziemi Kujawskiej i Dobrzyńskiej we Włocławku, Włocławek 2009
Online: Matriculation data base, Matriculation book 3, Academy of Fine Arts Munich, 01129 Waclaw Bebnowski, http://matrikel.adbk.de/matrikel/mb_1884-1920/jahr_1893/matrikel-01129