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Polish artist Wojciech Fangor dies

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 26.10.2015 08:29
One of Poland's most prominent artists, Wojciech Fangor, has died in Warsaw, three weeks before his 93rd birthday.
Wojciech Fangor in 2013. Photo: PAP/Andrzej RybczyńskiWojciech Fangor in 2013. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Rybczyński

A painter, poster designer and sculptor, he is one of the household names in 20th century Polish art, alongside Magdalena Abakanowicz (b. 1930), Roman Opałka (1931-2011) and Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990).

Wojciech Fangor said in many interviews that he knew that he would become an artist when he was a boy of seven.

He studied painting privately with Felicjan Kowarski and Tadeusz Pruszkowski and began his artistic career in the second half of the 1940s.

Initially interested in Cubism, during the Stalinist years he followed the officially-approved doctrine of socialist realism. His 1951 canvas entitled “The Korean Mother” was one of the most representative works of the period.

After Stalin’s death in 1953, Fangor focused on architectural and industrial design, as well as on posters, being one of the founders of the Polish school of poster design, which won international acclaim in the 1960s.

He also achieved recognition for his abstract paintings, initially in monochromatic colours, featuring circles, ellipses and waves. In 1961 he left Poland, and after several years in West Berlin and England, he settled in the United States.

In 1965 his illusionist paintings were shown at “The Responsive Eye” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which was a manifesto of op-art. In 1970 Fangor had a one-man show at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, becoming the only Polish artist to have such a show at that prestigious venue.

In 1999 Fangor returned to Poland and settled in the village of Błędów, 60 kilometres from Warsaw, where he lived in an old mill.

He was active as an artist till the end of his life. A large retrospective of his work, comprising almost 200 paintings, was held at the National Museum in Kraków in 2012.

Next month, an exhibition of his so-called ‘spatial’ paintings from the years 1958-1970, is to open in Warsaw. (mk/nh)

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