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Tetmajer, Włodzimierz

Musicians in Bronowice – in front of the tavern/Muzykanci w Bronowicach – przed karczmą, 1891. Oil on canvas, 106 x 182 cm, National Museum in Warsaw/Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, Inv. No. MP 5500 MNW
Musicians in Bronowice – in front of the tavern/Muzykanci w Bronowicach – przed karczmą, 1891. Oil on canvas, 106 x 182 cm, National Museum in Warsaw/Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, Inv. No. MP 5500 MNW

Tetmajer, Włodzimierz (Przerwa-Tetmajer, Tetmajer-Przerwa, Tetmajer von Przerwa), Polish painter and politician, member of the "Munich School". From 1886-89, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. He became friends with Aleksander Gierymski (1850-1901, member of the "Munich School"), with whom he travelled to Tyrol to study the plein air style. *31 December 1861 on the Harklowa estate near Nowy Targ, †26 December 1923 in Bronowice near Kraków. Son of the landowner, lawyer and politician Adolf Tetmajer (1813-1892) and his wife Leonia, née Krobicka (†1862), half-brother of the author Kazimierz Tetmajer (1865-1940), cousin of the Swiss Engineer and Professor Ludwig von Tetmajer (1850-1905). From 1873-81, he attended St. Anna Grammar School in Kraków. From 1875, he also attended courses at the Kraków School of Fine Arts/Szkoła Sztuk Pięknych, where he was enrolled intermittently until 1895. From 1881-84, he studied philosophy and classical philology at the Jagiellonian University. In 1882, he studied at the Vienna Academy of Art under the portrait and historical painter Christian Griepenkerl (1839-1916), from 1883-86 he studied at the Kraków School of Art under Władysław Łuszczkiewicz (1828-1900), Florian Cynk (1838-1912, member of the "Munich School") and Leopold Löffler (1827-1898). On 20 December 1886, he joined the painting school of the historical painter Sandór (Alexander von) Wagner (1838-1919) at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich where he studied until 1889; he was friends with Aleksander Gierymski (1850-1901, member of the "Munich School"), with whom he travelled to Tyrol to study the plein air style. In 1889, he briefly attended the Académie Colarossi in Paris. In 1889-92, he again studied at the Kraków School of Art under Jan Matejko (1838-1893, member of the "Munich School"), receiving a gold medal and an international scholarship on completion. In 1890, he married Anna Mikołajczykówna (1874-1954), a farmer's daughter from Bronowice near Kraków, where he settled in 1895. He was in Rome in 1893. In 1893/94, he was involved in the realisation of the panorama of the battle of Racławice under the direction of Wojciech Kossak (1856-1942, member of the "Munich School") and Jan Styka (1858-1925), which was opened in Lwów (now Lviv) in 1894  (exhibited today in Wrocław). In 1894/95, he worked at the Kraków School of Art in the composition faculty. He co-founded the artists’ association Towarzystwo Artystów Polskich "Sztuka" in 1897, the Society of Applied Arts/Towarzystwo Polska Sztuka Stosowana in 1901, and he was a member of the Vienna Secession in 1899. From 1897-1901, he taught in Kraków at Tola Certowiczówna’s School of Art for women, and from 1908 at Maria Niedzielska’s School of Art for women/Szkoła Sztuk Pięknych dla Kobiet Marii Niedzielskiej. From 1910, he largely gave up painting and was involved in the Polish People’s Party/Polskie Stronnictwo Ludowe. From 1911-18, he campaigned as member of the Austrian Reichsrat (parliament) for an improvement in the economic situation in farming and supported the efforts for Polish independence. In 1919, as a member of the Polish National Committee/Komitet Naradowy Polski, he took part in the Paris Peace Conference. In 1921, he was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Polonia Restituta Order. Influenced by the genre painting of the "Munich School" which was grounded in Realism, as well as by the strong colours and his own interest in the effects of light and shadow in the paintings of his friend Aleksander Gierymski, Tetmajer was interested almost exclusively in motifs depicting scenes from peasant life. The scenes in his pictures, some of which are in a large format, come from the environment in which he lived in Bronowice (see cover image; "Dance in the tavern /Tańce w karczmie"; "Engagement/Zaręczyny", 1895; "Easter breakfast in Bronowice/Święcone w Bronowicach", 1897; "Procession in Bronowice/Procesja w Bronowicach", 1900). At the same time, he liked to paint with clear outlines in strongly contrasting colour fields, with a particular preference for red and white. His picture of the environment in which the peasants lived is characterised less by romantic glorification and more by a liking of traditions and a simple life. Owing to this attitude and the motifs he selected, Tetmajer is considered an outstanding representative of the Młoda Polska/Young Poland movement from 1890 to 1918, which advocated a return to traditional ways of life characterised by strict moral standards and a commitment to "Polishness". The literary representatives of this school of thought also included his half-brother Kazimierz. His landscapes, often cornfields in glaring sunlight, blooming fruit and flower gardens, thatched huts and white-painted manor houses, show a lighter colouring and are akin to Naturalism. Portraits of the family and the inhabitants of Bronowice, including dozens of sketches, are marked by a particular seriousness and an expressive world of emotions. His historical paintings relate to the national identity of the Poles and their efforts to gain independence (Triptych "Raclavice", 1906/07). He created paintings on walls and vaulted ceilings, which were characterised by expressive colouring, rich ornamentation and expressive figures, for the cathedral on Wawel hill in Kraków (1901/02, designs for a glass window as well), Sosnowiec Cathedral (1904-06) and the Church of St Nicholas in Kalisz (1909, window designs). He also created literary works (prose volume "Noce letnie", 1902; drama "Piast", 1902; poetry volume "Marsz Skrzyneckiego", 1916). His paintings can be found in the National Museums of Danzig, Kielce, Kraków, Poznań, Szczecin, Warsaw and Wrocław, in the District Museums of Częstochowa, Leszno, Tarnów and Toruń, in the Art Museum, Łódź/Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, in the National Picture Gallery in Lviv and in the Puschkin Museum in Moscow.

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  • Musicians in Bronowice – in front of the tavern/Muzykanci w Bronowicach – przed karczmą, 1891. Oil on canvas, 106 x 182 cm, National Museum in Warsaw/Muzeum Narodowe w Warszawie, Inv. No. MP 5500 MNW

    Musicians in Bronowice – in front of the tavern/Muzykanci w Bronowicach – przed karczmą, 1891

    Musicians in Bronowice – in front of the tavern/Muzykanci w Bronowicach – przed karczmą, 1891. Oil on canvas, 106 x 182 cm