关于 Władysław Strzemiński 中文资料直接是没有，搜到一些英文资料，留作资料备用。
Wladyslaw Strzeminski 1893-1952
--- Life and Work
Born 21 November in Minsk (now Byelorussia) into a family of Polish gentry. He was the oldest son of Maximilian Benedict Strzeminski (1847-1919) and Ewa Rozalia nee Olechnowicz, whom Maximilian married in 1886. He was baptized in the Catholic Church in Zlota Gorka near Minsk. His father, officer of the Tsarist Army, Lieutenant-Colonel, retired in 1902 and worked in the Provident Fund. He had a sister Janina and a brother Walerian. Spent his childhood in Minsk in "a house surrounded by a garden" at 21 , Kozhevenna Street.
As an eleven-year old boy he joined the Tsar Alexandre II Cadet School in Moscow, from where he graduated in 1911 . The school, which provided him with careful education, was the first stage in Strzeminski's military career dreamed about by his parents.
Began studying in The Tsar Nicholaus Military School of Engineering (Voyennoe Inzhyneryinoe Uchylishche) in Petersburg. Here he gained wide knowledge in the field of the history of architecture and mititary construction.
In mid-July, shortly afler graduating, he was delegated as an officer of sappers to the Osowiec fortress in the Bialystok District. During World War I he took part in military operations on the Eastern Front, and was in command of a sappers' unit.
At night 6/7 May, near Pershaye in Byelorussia, he was seriously injured by the explosion of a grenade in trenches. After the amputation of his right thigh and left forearm he recuperated in Prochorov Hospital in Moscow. The splinters of the grenade also injured his eyeball. This accident ruined his hopes for the continuation of a military career. In the hospital he met Katarzyna Kobro (1898-1951), future sculptor and wife. She was a sister of mercy who looked after wounded officers during the war. At that time she already used to mould in clay, intending to study sculpture.
Strzeminski probably spent many months in the hospital. He could not use artificial limbs because of the phantomic pains. His kinetic rehabilitation was made possible only by crutches, which he was to use till the end of his life. In Moscow he was fascinated by the private art collection of the factory owner Shchukin, which included a wide variety of French paintings from Impressionism to Cubism. Since there are no historical documents, we can only guess that Strzeminski started to study history and theory of art. His artistic education was undoubtably quickened by the eruption of artistic events which came in the wake of the October Revolution.
From May to November he took part in the meetings of the Subsection of Art and Artistic Industry, which was headed by Vladimir Tatlin, within the framework of the Moscow Section of Fine Arts of the People's Commissariate of Education (Izobrazitelnyi Otdel Narodnogo Komissariata po Prosveshchenyu), in short IZO Narkompros. The group included such artists as Kazimir Malevich and Antoine Pevsner, who discussed the idea of founding a network of "museums of artistic culture" in which the main role would be performed by the All-Russian Museum in Moscow.
In the summer he visisted his parents in Minsk.
In the autumn he started studying in the First Free Artistic Studios, known as SVOMAS (Svobodniye Masterskiye). The studios were opened in September in the old Strogonov School in Moscow. At school he met Katarzyna Kobro again. On 5 December his name was included in the list of 143 (146?) artists, whose paintings, by the decision of the IZO Narkompros, should be purchased for the prospective Museum of Artistic Culture in Petersburg. The museum was opened only on 3 April 1921, its director was Natan Altman. In 1926 its collection was moved mostly to the State Russian Museum in Leningrad. Two of Strzeminski's paintings come from this early collection, dated later (cat.1.3 and 4). The only known painting from 1918 is in the Museum in Ivanovo. (cat. 1. 1 ).
Like most of the artists in Soviet Russia he took part in the agitprop activities characteristic of those times. At the beginning of the year in Minsk, he designed together with the sculptor Ciechanowski and the director of the local IZO Vsevolod Dmitrev, the decoration of the city to celebrate the first anniversary of The Red Army on 23 February. Strzeminski also stayed in Minsk for family reasons: in January his father died.
In February he was nominated (together with Alexandre Rodchenko) to the Moscow Committee of Art and Artistic Industry, which must have been an equivalent of the IZO Narkompors Subsection, in which Strzeminski worked in the previous year.
Together with Antoine Pevsner he directed The All-Russian Central Office of Exhibitions (Vsserossyiskoye Tsentralnoye Vystavochnoe Byuro) - the institution founded within the IZO framework to organize exhibitions all over the country. He showed his paintings at the VIII exhibition in Moscow, supposedly organized with Pevsner. Earlier, he took part, probably for the first time, in an exhibition in Riazan. He did not graduate from SVOMAS.
In autumn he moved to Smolensk, where he lived till he left for Poland. Initially he worked as an instructor of the Subsection of Art in the Smolensk District Department of People's Education (Gubernskiy Otdel Narodnogo Obrazovanya), in short GubONO.
In December, possibly on Malevich's invitation, Strzeminski participated in an exhibition of local and Moscow-based artists, organized by the founder of Suprematism. He played a more important role in the circle of Malevich's artistic colleagues, who formed a group called the Advocates of New Art (Utverzhditeli Novogo v Iskustve) known as UNOVIS.
In the first half of the year Strzeminski was the director of the Section of Art of the Joint Departments of Museums and Fine Arts (Podotdel muzeyev y izobrazitelnykh iskustv) affiliated with GubONO. As a representative of the section he was made the secretary of the Arts Council, whose first meeting took place on 4 April. He represented there the far left-wing orientation. The council decided on the current problems regarding the decoration of theatres, the setting, exhibitions, etc.
In Smolensk at an exhibition opened c.15 March, Strzeminski showed ten works, including sketches for the scenery of Mayakovsky's Buffo Mystery Play. These sketches may be connected with the production of the Prologue to this Mystery Play, performed in February in Vitebsk.
The artist's works after the exhibition were selected for the presentation in the Museums of Artistic Culture (Muzeya Khudozhestvennoy Kultury), known as MCHK.
29 June Strzeminski delivered a lecture on the principles of creativity and the systems of composition in Raphaeal's paintings.
In summer Katarzyna Kobro comes to Smolensk. Together they supervised the IZO Studio GubONO - affiliated with UNOVIS. Malevich living in nearby Vitebskwould often visit Smolensk; together they taught the principles of Cubism and Suprematism . One of Strzeminski's students was at that time Nadia Chodasiewicz, known later as Wanda Chodasiewicz-Grabowska or Nadia Leger. Strzeminski exhi- bited with the UNOVIS group in Moscow.
Strzeminski's and Kobro's studio was on the main street of Smolensk (Bolshaya Sovetskaya) . Together they designed political posters for the Russian Telegraphic Agency, ROSTA, which was an institution dependent, as the IZO, on the same section of art in Narkompros.
In March he took part in a one-day show of UNOVIS in Vitebsk.
Towards the end of this year or at the beginning of the next year, he married Katarzyna Kobro before the registrar, and then they both "smuggled themselves" into Poland. Probably one of the reasons for Strzeminski's decision to defect was his analysis of the political situation in Soviet Russia and of the way in which artistic life developed. Surprisingly there is no evidence of the artist's creative work in that year. Maybe he stopped working for the IZO Narkompros, which had been by then twice reorganized - at the beginning of the year and in October. Especially the second change of its structure limited artistic freedom by giving central political institutions the power to control art and by subjecting art to the needs of the Bolshevik propaganda.
The Strzeminskis spent a few weeks in the police-station as a result of their illegal crossing of the state border.
They first settled in Vilnius where the artist's family had been living after his father's death. Strzeminski taught and lectured at Major Lukasinski Military Courses. In October in Berlin one of his paintings was shown at an exhibition of the greatest achievements of Soviet art. Strzeminski presented his own critical views on the development of Soviet art in his pioneering article, 0 sztuce rosyjskiej- notatki (On Russian Art - Notes): the first part appeared in the November issue of ZWROTNICA, the second part in issue 4. The magazine was founded and edited by a Polish poet, Tadeusz Peiper, his future long-time friend.
. His sister Janina died. Katarzyna Kobro left Vilnius, she did not speak Polish, suffered from long periods of forced inactivity, and had to cope with her husband's family, who were unfavourable towards her. She moved to her relatives in Riga.
Wilejka Powiatowa was the next place of their settlement, Strzeminski moved there in search of a permanent job after the closure of the Major Lukasiewicz Courses. In the local Henryk Sienkiewicz State High School for Boys and Girls he taught drawing, maybe till mid 1924.
He produced Synthetic, Post-Suprematist and Post-Cubist compositions - these paintings were all early artistic realizations of the nascent theory of Unism. He started collaborating with Vytautas Kainukstis, whom he probably had met in Moscow. Together they both arranged in Vilnius the first Polish exhibition of Constructivist art - The New Art Exhibition, which was opened 20 May in the Corso Theatre. They designed a catalogue - an early example of functional print. In the exhibition, apart from its initiators, three artists participated who were to become main repesentatives of Constructivist avant-garde: Henryk Staiewski, Mieczyslaw Szczuka, Teresa Zarnower. Strzeminski's review of the exhibition published in ZWROTNICA is still the basic source of information about this artistic event.
Strzeminski was a co-founder of an association of Polish Constructivists Blok, organized as the consequence of all his artistic experiments in which he had been engaged so far. The group became known as the publisher of the magazine BLOK, edited by Szczuka, its first issue appeared 8 March. Strzeminski published there many unsigned articles and reproductions of his works; in subsequent issues there were further articles by Strzemiriski and many reproductions. He participated in a show which inaugurated the group's exhibitions, the show was opened 15 March in Warsaw in the Automobile Showroom of the Laurin-Clement Company. Before the opening, Katarzyna Kobro probably came from Riga for a short time. In summer the artist visited his wife in Riga. There on 29 July they had a church wedding, which was a condition for Kobro to be granted Polish citizenship. Before coming back to Poland they both spent a few weeks of holidays at Riga Bay.
Then they moved to Szczekociny, a small town on the Pilica River. In the Co-educational High School of the District Department of the Wloszczowski Regional Council, Strzeminski started to teach drawing - possibly at the suggestion of the headmaster of the school, Adam Nowinski, a devotee of the new art. He visited Warsaw many times, taking part in meetings and discussions of the Blok group, which were held usually in Szczuka's flat or in the offices of the Polish Art Club in the Polonia Hotel. Remembering Moscow collections of modern art and their role in the artistic education of the people, Strzeminski made the first, yet unsuccessful, attempt to organize a similar collection in Poland. In a letter to Julian Przybos from 8 February 1931 he wrote: "(...) I suggested to the members of the Blok that such a museum should be organized, but to no avail, because Szczuka was afraid of the technical and the painterly matters, of the painterly culture (...)".
In the November-December issue of BLOK, Strzeminski published an article B=2, which was considered to be the first formulation of the theory of Unism; there he specified what makes his views different from Szczuka's utilitarian theory.
With the Blokgroup he exhibited again in Riga and maybe in Brussels and Tallin.
Strzeminski, opposing Malevich's Suprematism both in his theory and practice, produced monochromatic paintings, based on the principles of his own system - these were Unistic (flat) Compositions. This year his name appeared for the first time among the names of Polish Futurists in a magazine RIVISTA D'ARTE FUTURISTA published in Western Europe.
The Blok group disintegrated: the artist did not take part in subsequent exhibitions and publications of this group.
He was more attracted to the artists centred around the Cracow-based magazine ZWROTNICA, designed covers for its publications, including poetry books by Julian Przybos, whom he had met earlier in the editorial office of the magazine. This contact marked the beginning of their long co-operation and friendship.
At that time he must have met young architects from Warsaw, future members of the Praesens group - most notably Szymon Syrkus and Bohdan Lachert.
According to his former students from the Szczekociny High School, Strzeminski was writing at that time a history of art - maybe drafting one of his future educational programmes.
Meanwhile in MCHK (The Tretyakov Gallery) in Moscow his painting was exhibited (most probably the one kept now in Ivanovo), together with the works by David Sterenberg, Mikhail Larionov, Alexandre Drevin, Olga Rozanova, and Natan Altman.
In January and February he presented his works at the International Theatre Exhibition in New York.
In the first half of the year Strzeminski was still involved mostly with his Cracow contacts. He probably designed the whole art work for the sixth issue of ZWROTNICA. In the following issues of the magazine he published reviews and polemical notes on the current views on modern art. He exhibited twice with the Artists' Guild Jednorog (Unicorn), a group of graduates of Cracow Academy, who stood for the quality of work, for its technical side, and against messages or ideology in art. He showed there a series of Still Lifes and Landscapes - paintings which stem from his analyses of the structure of Cubist paintings.
In summer the Strzeminskis moved to Brzeziny near Lodz. Strzeminski taught drawing in the Stryjkowski High School of Humanities. Almost at the same time as they moved to Brzeziny, the Strzeminskis renewed their contacts with Warsaw artists.
In the first half of the year, inspired by Szymon Syrkus, Modernist architects, sculptors and painters, formed a group called Praesens. Among its founders were former members of the Blok, Katarzyna Kobro and Henryk Staiewski. The artists produced a magazine under the same name, which became the group's theoretical organ - the first issue appeared in June. Strzeminski joined the group a little later, before the first October exhibition of Praesens opened in the Warsaw Gallery Zacheta. The works presented at the exhibition testify to the co-operation between the painter and the architects. With Epstein, Strzeminski designed the interior of the Sculptor's House, about which we do not know much more; he produced a colour-design for Syrkus' Fur Shop and for a church by Syrkus and Oderfeld. Furthermore, he was one of the artists who exhibited the project for the interior-design of the Perskie Oko Theatre. This theatre is probably the cabaret which was opened 5 September 1925 in a house at the corner of Nowy Swiat Street and Swietokrzyska Street in Warsaw, and for which Pronaszko used to work. In the Zacheta Gallery Strzeminski exhibited also his own individual works: paintings on glass, book covers and illustrations. Maybe the paintings on glass were the three lost abstract works, reproduced one year later in the March issue of ZWROTNICA. We can treat them as the artist's earliest studies of the question of mathematical calculations, of the problems of the rhythm of flat and contrastive forms constructed "(. ..) according to the same numeric representation". As one of the authors who wrote texts to the catalogue of this exhibition (the text on functional painting and architecture), Strzeminski made an important contribution to the theoretical programme of Praesens.
He returned to the idea of organizing a collection of modern art in Warsaw. He drafted the statute (validated in September) of the Association of the Gallery of Modern Art, which functioned for a short time, and only nominally, in the following year.
He wanted to exhibit Kazimir Malevich's works in Poland and to invite the artist to Poland - as a result of his exertions Malevich paid a short visit to Warsaw in March 1927 and an exhibition of his works was finally opened.
Strzeminski often visited Warsaw, staying usually at Bohdan Lachert's.
First Architectural Compositions, painted on canvas, come from this year, only one has survived. Another one was reproduced in the March issue of ZWROTNICA the following year.
In a letter written 9 January to Vytautas Kainukstis Strzeminski was very critical about some of the painters from the Praesens group who supposedly wanted to "smuggle regard for modern art" by means of a compromise and a "kind of a contraband". Later he wrote: "(. ..) but actually the results will be the same as in Russia - temporary recognition and total neglect, because New Art should appear openly, with its face uncovered, it should stand unmasked and demand recognition not for its usefulness, but for its superiority (...)". In early March together with the artists from Praesens he may have entertained Kazimir Malevich, who on 25 March after the opening of his exhibition in the Polish Art Club in Warsaw delivered a lecture in Polish Analiza Wspolczesnych Kierunkow Artystycznych (The Analysis of Contemporary Art Movements).
In the same club in April the first one-man exhibition of Strzeminski's works was organized. During the exhibition he presented in the form of a lecture his artistic programme Unizm i dualizm w sztuce (Unism and Dualism in Art). The text of the lecture was later published in the Summer issue of the magazine DROGA, and in 1928 appeared in book form in the series The Praesens Library. In May at an exhibition Machine Age in New York he showed two works: the lost Cafe and (together with Syrkus) the project for the Fur Shop, possibly the one presented earlier at an exhibition of the Praesens group. He lived and worked in Brzeziny, teaching at the same time in Koluszki. In mid 1927 he was offered an attractive job In Koluszki, and in order to avoid strenuous commuting, he soon moved with his wife to Zakowice. In August/September he settled in Koluszki. He was teaching drawing in two schools: the Co-educational High School in A. Mickiewicz Street, owned by the teachers' association and the Girls' High School of Industry and Commerce, which was scantily subsidised by the Polish School Organization and from tuition fees. In the latter he and his wife taught 12 hours of lessons a week. Soon he formulated and introduced his own educational programme for designers, achieving encouraging results.
In November his painting from the MCHK collection Tools and Pro- ducts of lndustry was shown at an exhibition: Novyje tecenija v isskustve (New Tendencies in Art) in Leningrad. In December with a group of painters from Lodz he exhibited in the City Art Gallery in Lodz.
In the early months of the year he started correspondence with Theo van Doesburg whose text along with articles by Strzeminski and others, was printed in the catalogue of the Modernist Salon, opened in Warsaw on 10 March. The exhibition, organized among others by Strzeminski, initiated the tradition of presenting modern art (as A Turowski wrote) "in the broad range of its innovatory experiments - it emphasised the significance of construction". Strzeminski exhibited several of his paintings from a series of studies on Cubism, five abstract compositions, a chair and a few drawings. In the text published in the catalogue he suggested that avant-garde should be even more integrated. His book Unizm w malarstwie (Unism in Painting) was published with the cover designed by Henryk Staiewski.
In the Warsaw biweekly XX CENTURY edited by Stanislaw Baczynski, Strzeminski published three articles. He wrote about contemporary architecture on the occasion of the II Annual Salon of the Polish Architects' Association (SAP), discussing both conservative and precursory works of Polish artists against the background of the situation of arts in the world. Analyzing different educational systems of art schools in a historical perspective, he emphasized the necessity to link the studies with tradition, by presenting "different types of solutions to technical problems". In his article Przedmiot iprzestrzeri (Object and Space) he introduced the notion of "the calculatory rhythm of a spatial phenomenon" which was a system different from the "system of contrasts" and led to the unity of object and space. He worked with his wife on a book about the composition of space.
In a competition announced by the Polish Architect's Association (SAP) Strzeminski and his wife received the 2nd prize for the design of a tobacco kiosk. For the first time the Strzeminskis spent their holidays in Poland at the seaside in Chalupy, Hel Peninsula. They would go back there several times in the coming years. Strzeminski, a great lover of sunlight, delighted in sunbathing.
In November he took part in the 1st Exhibition of the Polish Artists' Union (ZZPAP) in Warsaw, repeated in January in Cracow. With the Praesens group he exhibited three paintings, among them Architectural Composition 2 a and 4 a, at the Autumn Salon in Paris. He participated in an international show in Brussels, The Hague, and Amsterdam, begun in December, and organized by the Society for the Promotion of Polish Art Abroad (TOSSPO). There he exhibited again one of his paintings on glass and Still Life (cat. 118). In the same year his name appeared for the first time in the Polish encyclopedia published by Trzaska, Evert and Michalski.
At the First Exhibition of the Warsaw Section of the Union (ZZPAP), which was opened 13 January in Cracow, he was awarded the 2nd prize of 300 zlotys. He showed 29 works: still-lifes, landscapes, abstract paintings and drawings.
Members of the Praesens group were divided in their opinions on the functions of art: the conflict emerged when they started preparing the joint project of the interior design for the pavillions and exhibitions halls at the National Exhibition (PWK) in Poznan. For Strzeminski this enterprise was his last attempt to come to terms with the group which by now was dominated by Functionalists. At the exhibition opening in May he showed also his individual works: a painting on glass and Architectural Composition 8 b. In June he exhibited in Lodz with the Association Start.
In the first half of the year Strzeminski started designing graphic arrangements for Julian Przybos' poems.
At the same time he worked on the programme of the new magazine EUROPA devoted to social and political matters, and edited by Stanislaw Baczynski, the first issue appeared in two editions: in May and in September. Strzeminski wanted it to be the platform of the avant-garde. Soon he was greatly disappointed, the September issue was in his view a total disgrace. However, he kept using the magazine as a means of popularizing the theory and the art of the avant-garde. l6 June in a letter to Przybos Strzeminski wrote about his plans to leave the Praesens group. Later that month he informed him about the prospects of organizing a new group "based on the broader principle of uniting all modernity - poetry, art, architecture". Strzeminski claimed that the direct reason for leaving Praesens was the fact that Kobro's sculptures sent for the National Exhibition had been lost; he also complained about the behaviour of the members of the group who were responsible for the organization of the exhibi- tion and for its financial settlements.
In early July after a few days spent in Warsaw at Baczynski's, the Strzeminskis left for their holidays in Chalupy.
Their house in Koluszki must have been neither comfortable nor safe, since in September "the ceiling collapsed", the necessary redecora- tions which lasted for some time made all artistic work impossible. Despite numerous problems Strzeminski and Kobro's book, Kompo- zyqa przestrzeni. Obliczenia rytmu czasoprzestrzennego (Space Composition. Time-Space Rhythm and its calculations), was sent to print in autumn. Its publication was delayed because of financial difficulties and because some of the commissioned photographs were not ready (the reproductions were to include the lost works by Kobro).
In connection with this book Strzeminski corresponded with Georges Vantongerloo. Strzeminski had many contacts by correspondence, e.g. with Jan Brzekowski, Polish poet living in Paris, he knew well the situation of the European avant-garde. He strove for the availability of recent literature on modern art and initiated a widespread exchange of information .
Late in autumn a new group was formed, "a.r." (real avant-garde) including: Kobro, Staiewski, Strzeminski. In December Przybos joined the group, a year later - Brzekowski. At the same time in the magazine EUROPA Strzeminski published his three texts: Bilans Modernizmu (The Summing-up of Modernism), which was a brief recapitulation of his own artistic career and of the work of the Praesens group, an article on Mieczyslaw Szczuka's photo-montages and an article titled Snobizm a Modernizm (Snobism and Modernism). In December he planned to start a new publishing initiative, the "a.r." Library, which would be in oppposition to Praesens.
In the neighbouring city of Lodz he found favourable conditions for locating the collection of modern art and with great energy he started to put his idea into life, managing to find support among the members of the group and in Przedaw Smolik, the chairman of the Department of Education and Culture of the Municipal Council.
In the same year he painted most of the Architectural Compositions which are known to us, and ultimately rejected the problem of "architectonics in painting" and "its dramatic character resulting from the contrast of forms, in favour of further search for the "organic unity" of the painting as a flat quadrangle.
In December his intensive life led to "extreme exhaustion" of his organism; he suffered from it also in the beginning of the next year.
Strzeminski continued his involvement in different kinds of work, which often intermingled: these were his artistic, didactic, theoretical, journalistic and organizational activities.
In January and February he exhibited again with the Group Start; he showed his water-colours at an exhibition together with St. Luke Brotherhood in Cracow.
He corrected the last proofs of the graphic arrangement of Julian Przybos' poems in his volume Z ponad (From Above), which was published as volume 1 of the "a.r." Library in early April. In this work he employed his own idea of functional print. He drafted the first version, and then the final text of the Bulletin of the "a.r." group, no. 1 , which was published also in April. The publication was financed by Strzeminski himself and his friends. The idea of the Bulletin was that it should be like a pamphlet, something (as he wrote) "between a manifesto and an advertisement", a leaflet added to Przybos' book. One could read there "that (...) "a.r." group, which co-operates with artistic avant-garde movements in Europe, extends the conquests of its ideas and consequently brings about creativity and modernity". A fragment of the Communique was published by the magazine L'ART CONTEMPORAINE - SZTUKA WSPOLCZESNA, edited in Paris by Jan Brzekowski. Together with Henryk Staiewski and Julian Przybos Strzeminski organized distribution of the publications of the group in Poland and Europe. He tried to form a network of "representatives" - which were to become centres for distributing Polish avant-garde publications and places for the exchange of ideas. He conducted extensive correspondence about this matter with Jan Tschichold from Munich, Herwarth Walden from Berlin and Bauhaus.
Making use of Staiewski's visit to Paris and Jan Brzekowski's interest in the activities of the group, Strzeminski strove to gain gifts for the International Collection of Modern Art, by instructing the two artists what to look for. Endless negotiations which Strzeminski conducted with the Municipal Council of Lodz about a place for the collection seemed to be coming to a close. He himself asked for works of art from the representatives of European and Polish avant-garde, with whom he co-operated in various publications and other enterprises. He corresponded with Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg, Georges Vantongerloo, Kazimir Malevich, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Teresa Zarnower, Tadeusz Peiper, Wanda Chodasiewicz-Grabowska and others. First paintings for the collection were brought from Paris by Staiewski in mid-February, others followed in summer this year. In March he tried to establish a contact with Czech Modernists, yet to no avail.
At the end of the month the text of the book on the composition of space was already printed thanks to the subsidy of 1000 zlotys granted by the Ministerial Department of Art.
In April, when the J.and K. Bartoszewicz Museum of History and Art in Lodz was opened, the collection of modern art was not yet available to the public for reasons beyond control. The catalogue of the first section of art prepared for this occasion included Strzeminski's Kompozycje i studia fakturowe (Compositions and factural studies), exhibited in Room VI among works by Lodz artists.
In the first half of the year he wrote reviews of the books published earlier. Jan Tschichold and Franz Roh, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Tschichold on new typography - published in the issues of EUROPA. He also published there a critical text on the work of TOSSPO. By selling (through the mediation of Przybos) his own drawings "of the compromising type", he strove to collect money to complete the printing of the whole book on the composition of space.
In the School of Industry and Commerce, where Strzeminski was teaching girls how to design and produce the so-called clothes accessories, he introduced his own educational programme, despite the resistance of some teachers. The works of his students were shown at school exhibitions and possibly sold e.g. in Lodz. In June, casting his doubts asides, he signed the contract in Koluszki for another year.
At the beginning of holidays as a result of unusually high temperatures he suffered from heat stroke, and had to spend the summer in Koluszki in "the state of apathy and half-dream", as he described it. In the summer issue (3) of L'ART CONTEMPORAIN - SZTUKA WSPOLCZESNA, which was also the last issue of this magazine, Strzeminski published his text Dramatyzm i architektonizm (Dramatic Quality and Architectonics). It summarized the most important achievements of his artistic career which led from the Unistic "flat" paintings through architectonic compositions towards the next stage, which was realized in "factural" Unistic paintings; he was already working on the idea of these paintings in this year.
In late August Strzeminski consulted with Staiewski a project of Bulletin of the "a.r." group no. 2. He considered the possibility of publishing a new avant-garde magazine LINIA AWANGARDY - this project was partly realized by the Cracow circle and Jalu Kurek. In September he wrote to Julian Przybos about the forthcoming article on the "a.r." group in NOWA GENERACJA - nothing is known to us about this publication.
In September, through his mediation, Kazimir Malevich asked the group to organize his second exhibition in Poland. The political situation in the Soviet Union, and finally the premature death of the artist made the project impossible.
In the autumn a cold in his "neck glands", not fully cured, resulted in the recurrence of the illness. Despite the illness he worked intensively. Strzeminski designed the "a.r." alphabet, with some small improvements by Staiewski .
At the Autumn Salon - a travelling exhibition organized by the Institute of the Propaganda of Art (IPS) in Warsaw and other cities, opened 29 November - Strzeminski showed two works Still Life and Landscape, probably one of the Koluszki landscapes.
In December at an exhibition of Polish contemporary book and illustration in Lodz he received an award for an advertising poster for the ZWROTNICA magazine. Teachers were paid at schools very irregu- larly due to permanent financial difficulties. On 18 December this situation led to a teachers' strike in the School of Industry and Commerce, in which Strzeminski took part.
Shortly before Christmas Strzeminski received another subvention of 1000 zlotys for completing the printing of the book. He was the author of a monument erected in Koluszki, probably on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of Polish Independence, destroyed later by the Nazis.
In January Strzeminski often visited Lodz on matters connected with the Museum and its collection. The opening of the Modern Art Hall in the building of the J.and K. Bartoszewicz Museum at Wolnosci Square was held on 15 February. On the same day in the name of the "a.r." group Strzeminski signed an agreement about depositing the International Collection of Modern Art, which included at that time 21 works. The Lodz Municipal Council was represented by Przedaw Smolik, thanks to whom the whole scheme could be concluded.
In February the richly illustrated book by Strzeminski and Kobro appeared, titled , Kompozycja przestrzeni Obiiczenia rytmu czasoprzestrzennego (Space Composition . Time-Space Rhythm and its Calculations). The book was published as the second volume in the series "a.r." Library.
In the Cracow magazine LINIA Strzeminski wrote an article on the new architecture which should be "(. ..) the regulating factor in the rhythm of social and individual life".
His article Architektonizm Mody (Architectonism of Fashion), publish- ed in the magazine ARCHITEKTURA I BUDOWNICTWO, presented a project of the Koluszki school, more modern than the ideas of Bauhaus and Soviet schools.
Strzeminski painted a series of Unistic Compositions, different in their factures, the first three were exhibited at Winter Salon in December in Warsaw. In his article included next year in the magazine ABSTRACTION-CREATION, he wrote: "(. . .) having examined the architectonic rhythm in my paintings, I now take up the idea of the unity of a painting."
In the beginnings of the new school year the Strzeminskis moved to Lodz. They lived for a short time in Piramowicza Street, in a one-room, primitive apartment; later in 56, Lipowa Street, fl. 10. After a few weeks they moved also from this flat which was equally small and uncomfortable, Strzeminski worked at that time on an unidentified painting, Still Life - about which he wrote to Przybos, that it was "subjective" and "different from anything before". In autumn they moved to a much more comfortable flat in 22, 6 Sierpnia Street, flat 10. The view from the window reminded the artist of "mountain landscapes or canyons".
First works, of small formats, painted in distemper on cardboard were produced, they belonged to the series City-scape of Lodz, which Strzeminski was to continue painting in the following years.
In September he started working in the girls' State School of Industry and Commerce in 41 , Kopernika Street. Soon he became headmaster of the Public School of Technical Training no. 10 at 7, Andrzeja Street. It was a school which offered additional training for printers and house-painters. Strzeminski taught typography and the principles of functional printing. Among the graduates of the school were his later friends and collaborators: Wladyslaw Gorski, Janusz Tusinski, Boleslaw Utkin.
He continued striving to enlarge the collection. In October it already included 59 works.
On 31 October in the Lodz office of the IPS he delivered a lecture Sztuka nowoczesna a szkoly artystyczne (Modern Art and Art Schools), which was published next year in the magazine DROCA.
Strzeminski and Kobro spent Christmas and perhaps New Year together, in the company of Przybos, in Zakopane. He met Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz. Possibly it was then that he painted his earliest surviving Mountain Landscape (cat. 154).
His letter to Przybos from 11 November is especially interesting. Strzeminski analyzes there the influence of Communism on modern art. Communism, he wrote, "(. ..) makes art sterile, it is hostile not only to the new forms of art, but also to any art in general (.. .)" Then he continued: "(.. .) Until we do not trace all the social and ideological consequences of modern art - the logic of form - it will hang in the void and will not find any social extension (.. .)"
Vytautas Kainukstis delivered a lecture in Vilnius about Strzeminski's Unism.
Strzeminski took part in the January exhibition of the Polish Artists' Association (ZAP) in Lodz, where for the first time he showed Mountain Landscape and two City-scapes of Lodz. During the exhibition on 30 January in the office of the IPS he delivered a lecture Punkt wyjscia sztuki nowoczesnej (The Point of Departure of Modern Art). In late February he was delegated by the General Assembly of the Polish Artists' Association (ZAP) in Lodz to take part in the work of the Editorial Committee of GLOS PLASTYKOW - an illustrated magazine on visual arts, published in Cracow. Strzeminski participated in the works of this Committee until 1938. From mid 1933 the magazine was the official organ and the national platform of the Polish Artists' Union ZZPAP.
In March the illustrated catalogue of the International Collection of Modern Art was published. The introduction was written by Przedaw Smolik. Among the 75 works there were three by Strzeminski, including Unistic Composition 9 reproduced in the publication. The catalogue was widely distributed, 50 copies were sold in Paris by Jan Brzekowski .
It did not mean that the collection was completed, on 14 April further works arrived from France, and in the following years till the outbreak of World War II the collection was enlarged to 111 works. Strzeminski wrote about the significance of the collection in e.g. ILUSTROWANA REPUEUKA, 7 March, in an article about the art of painting in Lodz. During the organization of the two exhibitions in the Lodz office of IPS. The Spring Salon and the Exhibition of Modern Print, 30 April, Strzeminski learnt that he had been awarded the City of Lodz Award for Visual Arts for 1932. It was preceded by a heated discussion in the press, especially in KURIER LODZKI and GLOS PORANNY, which asked many artists about their opinions of the award. Strzeminski also took part in it, he postulated that in the selection of artists the widest possible view should be applied. The ceremony of granting the award took place on the 25 May and caused violent protests in the conservative circles led by the traditionalist painter Wadaw Dobrowolski. In his speech, expressing his gratitude for the honour, Strzeminski said: "In as much as my strength and power allow me I will continue to fight for that kind of art, which is best suited for the present epoch". Violent attacks were continued also in the following year. Strzeminski tried to defend not himself but the avant-garde art by organizing a press campaign, which Przybos surprisingly did not join despite many entreaties. The poet's silence explains why the relations between them grew chilly next year, although it did not stop their collaboration. The award and the awarded artist found support in official and public pronouncements made by Przedaw Smolik, Leon Chwistek, the Lvov group Artes and others.
Strzeminski installed a printing press in the Technical School, which had already started working in May. The student's works were highly praised at numerous exhibitions.
Strzeminski accepted the invitation to take part in the Organizational Committee of an exhibition called New Generation, in Lvov in mid July. It was the second show after the Modernist Salon which continued the tradition of presenting a wide spectrum of modern art, while also declaring interest in a different direction of experiments. The Constructivists were dominated here by the Colourists. Strzeminski, who exhibited in Lvov three Unistic Compositions (8, 10, 11) decided to show only his Landscape and two Still Lifes when the exhibitions was moved to Lodz in autumn.
With his wife and the Smolik family Strzeminski spent summer holidays in Chalupy in Hel Peninsula, staying this time in the guest house Kresowianka. He returned to Lodz probably in the beginning of August with a series of new paintings in distemper - his first Seascapes. In his letter to Przybos he wrote: "(...) The sea is better than the mountains. The permanent line of the horizon and the changeability of everything else. Nature is not a matter of chance: a tree or a hill, but a part of an element: light, heat, water, sand, i.e. everything purer and more essential..." Strzeminski painted these paintings very quickly, in one day. He dated them, at first irregularly, with a pencil or with paint on the back side of the cardboard. He used this method also in other compositions produced by this technique: city scapes of Lodz, still-lifes, abstract compositions and other works which come from 1933-1934. He framed them always by the same firm: Leopold Nikiel in Lodz, consulting on the type and colour of the frames. He showed a long series of these paintings at an exhibition of the Polish Artist's Association (ZAP) opened 18 December in Lodz. In the autumn he was involved with the theatre group functioning at the School of Technical Training.
In the end of November after many difficulties, Bulletin of the "a.r." group no. 2 was issued. It was a four-page, condensed leaflet. Strzeminski was the author and co-author of a few short texts, he designed the visual aspect of the publication.
A book of poems by Julian Przybos Wgtab las (Deep into the Forest) was published with typographical design by Strzeminski. The book was published as the third volume of the "a.r." Library. During his stay in Cracow, in November and December, Strzeminski delivered a lecture, which was well attended by the students of the Academy. He wrote that he had made new acquaintances - probably among the members of the Cracow Group. with which he was to become more closely involved in the following years.
He also became member of the international group Abstraction-Creation, together with Katarzyna Kobro and Henryk Staiewski. He published two texts in the magazine of this group bearing the same title as the group.
Further factural Unistic Compositions were produced.
He spent the Christmas holidays in the mountains this time in Wisla, in the company of his wife and Julian Przybos.
The Strzeminskis rented a modern three-room flat in 75, Srebrzynska Street nr 45, in the newly built Montwill Mirecki Housing Estate. On 23 February Strzeminski delivered a lecture in the Warsaw section of IPS called Zasady formy (The Principles of Form).
In the beginning of the year after a misjudged alliance with the Capists, Strzeminski and the "a.r." group established closer contacts with the artists of the Cracow Group and the Paris artists from L'ART CONTEMPORAIN hoping to activate the weakening avant-garde movement. They organized an exhibition together, only once as the Grupa Plastykow Nowoczesnych (Group of Moden Artists), which was opened in IPS in Warsaw on 10 March and in autumn in Lodz. It was the most important presentation of Strzeminski's works: he showed 11 Architectural Compositions, and nine Unistic Compositions from the early and mature periods. In his opinion the main aim of the group was now "to overcome the influence of Neoplasticism and Cubism". During the exhibition he participated in the course for headmasters of Schools of Further Technical Training organized 13 to 25 May by the Ministry of Religious Denominations and Public Education. At the same time he worked on the graphic design of the poetry book by Jan Brzekowski W drugiejosobie. with drawings by Hans Arp. The book was published in the "a.r." Library as volume 4. The next book was Poezja integralna by the same author. Maybe at that time, while Brzekowski strove after the drawings by Arp, Strzeminski sent the artists two of his paintings (cat.1.43 and 1.55 ).
In May the first issue of the quarterly FORMA appeared, which was published irregularly until 1939. It was officially the organ of the Lodz section of the Polish Artists' Association (ZAP), and later the Polish Artists' Union (ZZPAP), but in practice it was the platform for the "a.r." group. Its editor was Karol Hiller, the board included apart from Strzeminski, Aniela Menkesowa, Stefan Wegner, Jerzy Krause, and in 1936 Katarzyna Kobro. It was the only magazine in Poland which dealt so extensively with the problems of modern art. Strzeminski published a number of articles, commentaries to the works reproduced, and editorial notes which reflected his views. For FORMA he obtained articles by Piet Mondrian, Kazimir Malevich, and others. His text Druk funkcjonalny (Functional Print), in which Strzeminski developed the previously outlined theoretical foundations of the new art of printing, was published in the magazine GRAFIKA, and later in 1935 as volume 6 of the "a.r." Library. As usual he spent his summer holidays in Chalupy. He painted there a sequence of Seascapes, the first one of which is dated 23 June and the last 15 August.
In August/September he was nominated to the Verifying Committee, which was formed as a result of the split within ZPAP provoked by continuous controversies about the last year's award and the polarization of views. He became member of the newly formed Lodz section of the Polish Artists' Union (ZZPAP) which was in opposition to the Polish Trade Union of Lodz Artists, formed at the same time. In September and October in Poznan in the Institute for the Promotion of Art his one-man exhibition was held, Strzeminski showed Sea scapes, painted probably this year, and other paintings in distemper. He delivered a lecture on recent painting.
His article Sztuka miast i maszyn (The Art of Cities and Machines)- the effect of his interest in the relations between art and post-industrial society, was published in one of the October issues of GLOS PORANNY. He was representative of the Lodz section of the of Polish Artists' Union ZZPAP during the Convention of Delegates, held in Warsaw 20 and 21 October.
He delivered his second lecture in the Warsaw office of IPS on 16 November on Czy kryzys sztuki jest kryzysem strukuralnym czy koniunkturalnym? (Is the crisis in art structural or transitory?). In autumn he started fighting for a new board of the Museum which would include also a few artists - he was worried by the new tendencies in the City Council as regards the collection in the Lodz Museum. In December/January at an exhibition organized by the Union he showed only one Unistic Composition among other works.
He joined in the discussion on the ideas included in Bulletin of the "a.r."group no. 2 which was published in the Vilnius magazine ZACARV. The Bibliophile Association published a book titled Sztuka Nowoczesna w Polsce (Moden Art in Poland), Strzeminski was one of its authors. He analyzed Polish contemporary art from the point of view of a Constructivist.
He continued to take part in the regular IPS Salons, this time in the Winter Salon.
In March in a cafe of this Institute in Warsaw an exhibition was opened, with a selection his works and works by Henryk Staiewski. Strzeminski showed mainly the sea and city-scapes of Lodz. He thought of the exhibition "rather critically", writing that the real meaning of his work is the theory of Unism. He observed sarcastically: "(...) But in the society so retarded and so ossified as Warsaw has now become, I suspect that even much more popular pictures would not be understood (...)". In the paintings shown at the exhibition, he tried to achieve "rhythms of irregular symmetry" as expressions of the new way of seeing dependent on "the physiology of sight" and on "the degree of the visual contents."
Shortly after the opening of the exhibition on 24 March he took part in the 2nd Extraordinary Congress of the of Polish Artists' Union (ZZPAP) in Warsaw. Together with Karol Hiller and the delegates from Lvov he moved a resolution that the forthcoming Salon of the Association of the Friends of Fine Arts be boycotted; the boycott was finally announced although the meeting rejected the motion.
In the school of which he was the headmaster a lithographic press was installed. Strzeminski made it available to the members of the Polish Artists' Union (ZZPAP). He produced his first lithographs, and showed some of them at an exhibition of the Union in Lodz.
He initiated a series of one-day exhibitions and discussion meetings for the members of the Union and invited guests. On 21 April he probably conducted a discussion on the following themes: "Painting, its forms and modern architecture; external (literary) theme and the development of the painting's contents by means of form; elements of form and their meaning for the structure of the painting". On 2 June the following topics were discussed: "composition of a painting by means of colour; painting as one of the organizing factors in modern architecture; the role of consciousness in surrealism".
In the meantime he organized the exhibition of the works by the students of the School of Technical Training, called Functional Typography, opened at the Lodz section of the Institute for the Promotion of Art (IPS). He also organized exhibitions of works by students and graduates of the school in the following years.
He spent summer holidays as usual with his wife in Chalupy, at the seaside. His new Seascapes were probably shown in September in Lvov at his second one-man exhibition that year. Also in September his text lntegralizm malarstwa abstrakcylnego (The Integrity of Abstract Painting) was published in the magazine FORMA. In WIADOMOSA LITERACKIE he published his article Co myslg o architekturze (What I think about modern architecture) in reply to the inquiry made by the magazine. In GAZETA ARTYSTOW in his text Blokada sztuki (Blockade of Art) he declared himself strongly against the postulates of national art and pointed to the dangers of blurring the distinction between art and politics. In the same magazine in the text Magicznosc i postgp (Magic and Progress) he negated the idea of thematic, proletarian art as inadequate to its time.
He painted his last surviving Unistic Composition. One of them was shown probably at the December exhibition of the Union.
In February in the Artists House in Cracow an exhibition was opened presenting the works by the Cracow Group and its two guests: Katarzyna Kobro and Stanislaw Strzeminski. Strzeminski accepted the invitation and took part in the opening of the exhibition on 17 April; as M. Sobieraj remarked, Strzeminski probably felt responsible for the art of the Cracow artists which was anti-academic, though far from innovatory. He represented a decidedly opposite view on the basic issue of the relations between art and society. He opposed the dominating tendencies of "new realism", the national movement, which dominated the scene after the great economic crisis. Instead Strzeminski presented his utopian vision of the "industrialization of art". In those times, the work of art should be "a visual painterly experiment", "an invention which fertilizes utilitarian and productive potentials", and its aim must be "to multiply general social activity and energy" - he wrote in his article Hasto przeciw stabilizatorom sztuki (A Signal Against the Stabilizers of Art) , published in a leaflet commemorating the Cracow exhibition, and in the magazine TYGODNIK ARTYSTOW. He suggested that the works of the Cracow Group be shown at an exhibition in Lodz. In many cases he showed his magnanimity towards others: shortly before the exhibition, he helped a young artist from Lodz, Henryk Wicinski, to get a City Council grant. In the spring due to financial difficulties, the Strzeminskis had to move from their flat: they would live in their new two-room flat in 75, Srebrzynska Street, ft 44, until the beginning of the war. Strzeminski designed another book by Jan Brzekowski Zacisnigte dookota ust (Tight around the lips), which was published with the drawings by Max Enst in the following year.
The May issue of FORMA published a discussion in a series of letters begun in December of the previous year with Leon Chwistek - it was a dispute between the representative of Unism and the founder of Strefism (the Theory of Zones). Chwistek's suggestion that the idea "anti-unism" might become the common platform for the two theories, was not accepted and the controversy remained unsolved.
Strzeminski was convinced that "museums play the most important role in artistic education", in the same issue of FORMA he pointed to the need of a proper selection of exhibits from 19th century Polish painting for the Lodz museum. How wide his interests were could be seen again in his lecture on modern art which he delivered at Jankel Adler's exhibition in Lodz on 11 May, followed next day by a debate on the main thesis.
On 11 November he took part together with Stefan Wegner, in the Congress of Delegates of the Polish Artists' Union ZZPAP in Warsaw. The organization of a national salon was discussed during the Con- gress. The Salon was planned to be a presentation of so called good art by the artists, who were members of the Union. Strzeminski was elected to the Qualifying Committee and to the jury of the exhibition, which was opened in January of the next year.
30 November he gave a talk on 0 istocie drukow funkcjonalnych (The Nature of Functional Typography), in the building of the City Public Library in Lodz during another exhibition of prints by students and graduates of the School of Technical Training.
The January Art Salon in Warsaw, transferred later to Lodz, Lvov and Lublin, fell short of expectations, most awards were given to the Colourists. Despite many reservations Strzeminski participated in the Salon to defend "independent creative work". He showed only City-scapes of Lodz.
He worked on the Organizing Committee of the Modern Artists' Exhibition, formed by the end of the previous year, trying to organize a joint show of the "a.r." and the Cracow Group. On behalf of the Committee he signed with Sasza Blonder and Henryk Staiewski on 6 January a letter to the Institute IPS suggesting that such a show be organized in all the exhibition rooms of the Institute. But the leaders of the Institute IPS were no longer interested in any contacts with the representatives of the avant-garde, which encountered a period of serious crisis at that time; after a long deliberation it was decided not to offer the facilities for organizing these exhibitions.
In the January (4) issue of FORMA Strzemiiski published an article on Jan Matejko - where he proposed a different view of Matejko's technique seeing him as a forerunner of Futurists.
On 22 February he read a paper in the Institute IPS on Surogatysztuki (The Surrogates of Art), which was later published in the magazine BUDOWA. He believed that the present crisis in the arts had its roots in the disproportion between the potentials of modern art and the social demand for it, its "actual consumption". The next stage after abstraction may be the stage of utilitarian art, thanks to which it will be possible to "organize the processes of collective and individual life". His text Aspekty rzeczywistosci (Aspects of Reality), crucial for his theory, was published in the August (5) issue of FORMA. In "the intricate tangle of the Surrealists' biological lines" which is actually only "a reflection of the game played by blind forces and the rhythm of blood", he noticed an opportunity for abstract art, which - making use of "intellectual and rationalizing impulses" - is capable of creating artistic forms corresponding with "psycho-physiological reactions", common to all human beings.The lithographs from the series produced that year were entitled Lodz bez funkcjonalizmu (Lodz without functionalism). His later drawings and war sequences, can be seen as an attempt to discover such forms.
Summer holidays spent at the seaside in Chalupy.
In November their daughter Nika was born.
The "a.r." group published Jan Brzekowski's brochure Hans Arp written in French. It was intended as the first book in a series of similar publications, but unfortunately these plans collapsed, because of the breaking up of the group and the disintegration of the whole Polish avant-garde movement.
Strzeminski edited an album dedicated to Kazimir Malevich, and included there his own Suprematist lithography - as an hommage to the artist.
Strzeminski was not Invited to the National Salon of Painting, organized by IPS.
Two paintings from Hans Arp's collection were exhibited in January and February during the exhibition of Constructivist art in Basel. The Strzeminskis strove hard to keep their permanently ill child alive, which to a large degree made it impossible for the father to continue his artistic work.
Strzeminski participated in an exhibition of the local Polish Artists' Union (ZZPAP), opened in Lodz, presenting The Unemployed from the series Lodz bez funkcjonalizmu (Lodz without Functionalism) . Maybe he showed these works also in November in Cracow, and in late December in Lvov at an exhibition of works by members of the Lodz section in exhibition halls of local sections of the Union which still co-operated with him. He edited the Polish version of Jan Tschi- chold's book (Typographische Gestaltung, Basel 1935) , with the Polish title Druknowoczesny(Modern Typography). The last (6) issue of FORMA did not include any of his articles.
In summer the Strzeminskis and their daughter spent their holidays at the seaside, this time also in Chalupy on the Hel Peninsula (although they stayed in the house of the Konkols where they had spent their first summer holidays). Strzeminski produced new drawings, versions of Seascapes and Seaside Pines. The last (seventh) volume in the "a.r." Library was published - the artist's work Zasady kompozycji reklamowej (The Principles of Composition in Advertising), the whole edition of which was destroyed shortly after the beginning of the war. 1 September Nazi Germany invaded Poland.
In fear of the Invading German army the Strzeminskis left Lodz and moved to Wilejka, 17 September the town was taken over by another invading aggressor - the Red Army. Strzeminski worked in Wilejka as a teacher in the local high school.
He produced his first wartime cycle of drawings, West Byelorussia.
He was probably the author of the First of May decorations of the town. In mid May he returned with his family to the Nazi-occupied city of Lodz. At first they stayed with Adela and Jerzy Krauze in Gdanska Street.
It was impossible for them to return to their pre-war flat, because all tenants were evicted and the flats taken over by German families. Instead the Strzeminskis got a room with a kitchen, without basic conveniences, in the Karolew housing estate, at Wyspianski Street, then 22a, Schwimmerweg.
In early summer Katarzyna Kobro's sister came from Riga to Lodz. Together with Jerzy Krauze they succeeded in saving Strzeminski's works which had been left in the cellar of their old house. They received help from another friend, Stefan Grzejszczak, with whom the artist probably deposited some of his smaller paintings. Kobro's sculptures were removed by the Nazis and thrown on the scrap heap. Some of them were luckily found and together with Strzeminski's paintings they were hidden in a small cellar under the floor of their flat, where the Strzeminskis lived during the war.
In the series Deportations produced that year Strzeminski referred to the cruel mass deportations of civilians.
When the German authorities started to press Katarzyna Kobro with regard to her German-Russian origins, the Strzeminskis, taking into consideration the well-being of their child, signed the so-called Russian sian list, which entitled them to a higher ration of food. This fact had a bad influence on their future life and was one of the reasons for the crisis in their hitherto harmonious marriage.
The March issue of the war journal LITZMANNSTADTER ZEITUNC published an article by Adolf Kargel on the International Collection of Modern Art and its initiator. His works, like the whole collection, were declared to be examples of Entartete undjudische Kunst. Strzeminski produced another cycle of drawings, directly linked with the theme of war, the Occupation and the earlier series Deportations; the title was probably War Against Homes, and not Civil War, as it was usually written in the inventories of the Museum.
Strzeminski earned his very modest living by painting postcards and portraits and decorating rag bags produced by his wife. Probably he also worked with Boleslaw Hochlinger in the pottery factory in Zdunska Wola in the department of artistic ceramics.
That year or the following one he suffered from a serious illness of his eye - for some time he was in hospital.
He spent Christmas with his wife and daughter in Poznan, where Katarzyna Kobro's sister settled, and later her father.
The cycle of drawings Faces was produced.
Strzeminski drew the cycle Landscapes and Still Lifes.
His next cycle was titled Cheap as Mud.
One of his colour lithographs from a private collection was shown at an exhibition of Concrete Art in Basel.
When the war was still on, first organizational meeting of ZZPAP was held in Lodz. Strzeminski refused to be president of the Lodz section. 19 January after a hasty retreat from the city by the German occupying forces, the Soviet army entered Lodz.
The Strzeminskis quickly returned to their pre-war flat in 75, Srebrzynska Street, fl 44. A deep and serious personal conflict grew between Strzeminski and his wife. One of its effects was later a battle between them for the custody of the child fought in a court of law. In early spring Katarzyna Kobro was operated on in one of the Lodz hospitals in connection with the illness of her leg.
Strzeminski started working in the Graphic Workshop of the Sea League Section - he designed, among other things, postage stamps. He was one of the initiators in founding an art college in Lodz, which in opposition to the reopened Academies of Fine Arts, was to educate designers in industrial and applied arts. In the spring the Artistic Education Council accepted Strzeminski's idea, and decided to open the Higher School of Arts (WSSP). Organizational work started, students began to enrol.
In early summer Strzeminski met with Julian Przybos who came to Lodz for a short visit. He participated in the first post-war exhibition of the Lodz section of the Union (ZZPAP), opened in August and September in the former office of the Institute (IPS) in H. Sienkiewicz Park. When the academic year began Strzeminski was employed in the newly founded school WSSP as a contracted deputy professor. He lectured on: history of art, the principles of form, typography and functional graphics. He worked on his own educational programmes, which put special emphasis on composition and the principles of form. His individual and unconventional lectures, synthesizing knowledge and inviting listeners to participate in the analysis of the form of a work of art, were extremely popular among the students.
In the autumn Strzeminski applied to the prosecuting magistrate with a request to "cease the prosecution for renouncing Polish nationality". In his application Strzeminski gave several reasons which made him sign the so-called Russian residents' list during the German Occupation. One of them was the desire to save his artistic work, which the Nazis declared "degenerate". After long legal procedures on 30 December 1946 Strzeminski received a positive decision - he was rehabilitated.
In November the inventory of the City Museum of Lodz listed 78 works by Strzeminski, including 44 drawings from 7 cycles, as a gift of the artist. The first 69 works had been donated the month before. The further nine works were added to the collection of the Museum via his friends, with whom Strzeminski used to deposit some of his works. For example, three paintings were donated on the request of the artist to the Museum by his former student Janusz Tusinski. The donation included: Unistic Compositions, (early and mature), Architectural Compositions, Sea- Land-, and City-scapes, Cubist still-lifes and Cubist landscapes. Among the drawings there was a new cycle, produced that year, with an explanatory title Hands Which Are Not With Us.
The last cycle connected with war was a series of collages dedicated to To My Friends the Jews. Documentary photographs from the ghetto and death camps, or the faces of Jews sentenced to annihilation, were supplemented with drawings, colour patches and expressive poetic titles. Strzeminski donated the whole cycle, apart from one collage given to Przybos, through the mediation of his former student Judyta Sobel to the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem.
During the summer holidays he went with his daughter to the first open-air workshop, organized for the students of WSSP in the village Nowa Ruda in the mountain region of Lower Silesia. He was one of the supervisors of the group, together with Professors Roman Modzelewski and Stefan Wegner. Strzeminski produced there a series of sketches, water colours, and drawings of Mountain Landscapes which he observed during frequent excursions into the mountains, he took part in these walks demonstrating his astonishing fitness. In the new academic year he was the head of the Department of Spatial Arts in the Faculty of Spatial Arts administered by Wegner. He conducted the Functional Graphic Art Studio.
He took part in the Annual the Union ZZPAP Salon organized in November and December, where he presented 3 Mountain Landscapes. He received then an award from the Art and Culture Department of the City Council.
Lodz was the city which had not been destroyed during the war, it was close to the ruined Warsaw, and so shortly after the war it became the centre of artistic life. It was the place of brief visits of the representatives of the pre-war Cracow Group, Lvov circles and artists trom Warsaw. Strzeminski had an opportunity of renewing the contacts stopped by the war, and of establishing new ones. He possibly met Tadeusz Kantor, who was then very critical to Lodz avant-garde and to the city of Lodz as such. In December Marek Wlodarski in his letter to Jonasz Stern wrote that Strzeminski together with Teresa fyszkiewicz and Stefan Wegner represent local artistic circles in the newly founded "Polish group of progressive artists". According to him: '(. . .) the group has an interesting and consistent ideological and artistic programme. We have rejected the bourgeois mentality of Impressionism which did not pass the test of reality, but on the other hand we do not want to have anything in common with the idiocy of socialist realism, which divides the concept of art into contents and form ."
In February together with Teresa Tyszkiewicz and Jerzy Krawczyk Strzeminski exhibited in the office of the Working Cooperative of the Polish Artists' Union (ZPAP) in Lodz.
His one-man show of his works on the theme of the Holocaust was open in the Salon in 102, Piotrkowska Street.
15 February the Lodz school was granted the statute and became the state school with the name Higher School of Arts (PWSSP).
in May he became member of the painters' section of the Club of young Artists and Scholars - integrating some of the circles of "modern" artists - its office and gallery of modern art were in the Polish Army House in Warsaw.
Shortly before the holidays he left his family and moved to a rented room - which also served as his studio, in 8, Kollataj Street. The room soon became a meeting place where long discussions on art were held. Strzeminski, together with his friends and students, discussed each chapter of his theoretical work on the subject of seeing. He welcomed his guests usually with his favourite strong coffee and cranberry jam, always smoking very strong cigarettes. Basing on his lectures on the history of art, Strzeminski wrote articles, later published in PRZEGLAD ARTYSTYCZNY and ODRODZENIE, which analysed the seeing of the Greeks, Gothic artists, and the Impressionists. The co-author of one of them was Stefan Krygier, Strzeminski's student at that time. In the magazine MYSL WSPOLCZESNA Strzeminski published a fragment of a larger work (as he himself phrased it) , on which he had worked before the war, but which was destroyed during the Occupation; its title was Lodz sfunkcjonalizowana (Functionalized Lodz). In this work he developed his theory of the city formed in a healthy and rational way. Much later the pre-war manuscript of this work was donated to the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz by Samuel Szczekacz (Zur).
About 20 July he went to the second open-air student workshop which was held again in Nowa Ruda. Strzeminski produced further Mountain Landscapes, Clouds, Mountains and Clouds, and other works with similar titles. In the new academic year in the Department of Spatial Arts, of which he was the head, Strzeminski introduced first courses on the problems of architecture (design, drawing, the theory of materials, tectonics) . He was the initiator of this extended educational project. Roman Modzelewski believes that in doing so Strzeminski wanted to continue the ideas formulated in the programme of the "a.r."group. Treating art as a means of introducing social changes he tried to develop general artistic education and specialist training. His project which was introduced in the Department of Spatial Arts had a decisive influence on the syllabuses of other faculties, and in consequence determined the future character of the school. Strzeminski lectured on the history of art in the Department of Film, Photography and State Design, which was the origin of the future Film School in Lodz. He lectured also on the history of art and the principles of form to the students of the Textile Department.
He designed furniture and print patterns for textiles. Together with Modzelewski he negotiated the possibilities of co-operation between the school and light industry - however, to no avail . He collaborated with Jerzy Oplustil on the project of designing the Polish pavillion for the Fair in Zagreb.
In early autumn he met writer Zofia Nalkowska. In her journal under the date 19 September she wrote about the meeting: "(. . .) Evening with the most unusual Strzeminski (...) things about art are extraordinary and interesting. I remember how much Przybos valued his wisdom." On 1 November she wrote: (.. .) "Painter S. who tries also to write is a different matter(...). He is grey haired, sprightly, witty, he says everything with a smile(. . .) . I have not read his story which he wrote in manuscript. And this is one of my more persistent pangs of conscience. He commands respect with his lively intelligence, his innovatory spirit, his consistent pertinacity. "Nalkowska means here possibly the unfinished novel by Strzeminski, which survived in manuscript.
His personal problems were probably the reasons why Strzeminski asked for one-month's leave. We do not why the authorities in the Ministry rejected his request.
24 October the High Council of School of Art PWSSP proposed a resolution addressed to the Ministry of Culture and Art that Strzeminski be granted the Professorship in recognition of his artistic, theoretical and educational work - there was no reply. Strzeminski participated in The Exhibition of Young Artists, opened 30 November in the Club of Young Artists and Scholars, where he showed only one drawing: Mountains and Clouds.
In February he showed his war drawings in the Club at a retrospective exhibition which was followed by discussions. After the inaugural lecture by Stefan Wegner Sztuka musi uzasadnic swojbyt (Art has to justify its existence), the participants of the meetings discussed the principles of Strzeminski's theory of seeing.
He participated in the Exhibition of Modern Painters in Katowice. Strzeminski was invited by August Herbin (letters from 13 and 24 February) to join the international group Realites Nouvelles and to participate in the exhibition of the group, which was to be supplemented with a catalogue published especially on this occasion. In the first half of the year, commissioned by the Director of the Muzeum Sztuki (Museum of Art) Marian Minich, Strzeminski designed the Neoplastic Room on the second floor of the Museum, the former palace of the factory owner M.Poznanski. The room was the central point of the international and Polish art exhibition presented in a systematic-stylistic arrangement. The ceremony of the opening of the Museum was held on 13 June. Stefan Krygier assisted Strzeminski in carrying out the project, the painter's work was done by Wladyslaw Gorski, the artisan and Strzeminski's pre-war student. The Neoplastic Room, which in the author's intentions was meant to be an autonomous architectural space, turned into a "functional " space, a room for exhibitions. It is there that the Museum exhibited such works as those by the artists of De Stijl, paintings by Henryk Staiewski, Space Compositions by Katarzyna Kobro. Strzeminski produced two spatial works for this particular room and a set of furniture. As J.Ladnowska writes, the Neoplasticist Room "recapitulated the unrealized ideas of the new architecture" and functioned as "the new didactic laboratory for such works as the sculptures by Katarzyna Kobro."
Strzeminski spent his holidays with the students in the open-air workshop at Nowa Ruda. Together with Jerzy Oplustil he designed the pavillion of the Central Institute of the Paper Industry for the Exhibition of Regained Territories, which was opened in the summer in Wroclaw before the August World Congress of Intellectuals in Defence of Peace. The exhibition, as K.Czerni observed, was an attempt to demonstrate the social usefulness of modern art.
He established contacts with the magazine WIES, and published there a cycle of articles on urban planning and sociology, as well as on painting and its perception. In the new academic year in the Department of Spatial Arts, which he directed, other courses were introduced which dealt more intensively with architectural problems. He also lectured on the history of art, the principles of composition, interior design and furniture design, the problems of colour and light, graphic art and spatial planning. He also lectured on the history of art in the newly founded Film School. In the University of Lodz he gave a series of talks. His diverse interests can be seen in the article Rytm sztuki romariskiiej (The Rhythm of Romanesque Art) in which he presented together with Lech Kunka the project of reconstructing the collegiate church in Tum near Leczyca.
For the First Exhibition of Modern Art in Cracow, opened in December, Strzeminski for unspecified reasons was not accepted, and his painting Window, sent to this exhibition, got lost in unknown circumstances. It was one more painful experience, especially so that the exhibition was thought of as a platform of confrontation for the "modern artists". It turned into an independent manifestation in the name of creative freedom and an attempt to establish contacts with the public.
Strzeminski produced his first solaristic compositions known also as After-images.
He co-authored the design for the pavillion of light industry realized in June in the area of the International Fair in Poznan. He designed the vicinity of the pavillion in the Neoplastical style. He painted the last of his After-images, three of which he donated to the Muzeum Sztuki in Lodz. Towards the end of June in Katowice the IV National Congress of ZPAP Delegates was held, an event of important consequences, which condemned "artistic cosmopolitanism" and the forty years of futile experiments", but above all defined the basic and obligatory rules of socialist realism. Strzeminski produced the first paintings and drawings which were his own interpretations of the slogans of new realism: Spinners, Weavers, Textile Workers. In summer he stayed privately in Bierutowice and in Nowa Ruda - he drew many landscapes and portraits of children from the local orphanage.
On 1 September he signed another contract with the Director of PWSSP for the next academic year. This time he was to lead the Department of Architectonic Arts, which was formed in the place of the Department of Spatial Arts. He taught the principles of form, spatial design, the history of art, functional graphic art, and furniture design. He lectured on the principles of artistic composition and lithography.
He took part in the meetings of teachers and students of the PWSSP, which were designed to prepare the school for the Inter-Academic Exhibition of Artistic Schools, held towards the end of October in Poznan. The innovatory show of the Lodz school was declared to be "an example of cosmopolitan formalism devoid of any guiding principles".
On the last day of the Festival and four months after the IV Congress of ZPAP, his article Cztowiek i maszyna (Man and Machine) was published. According to K.Czerni, this was his "last, desperate attempt to depreciate the officially established norms". Strzeminski in comparison to all other artists at that time, showed "utmost courage and an uncompromising spirit".
He received an invitation to take part in the Conference organized on 19 and 20 December by The Programme and System Committee of Artistic Education in the building of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. His uncompromising stance as a defender of innovatory forms, the only ones which according to him could educate future society, did not meet with understanding among politicians nor among artists.
On 19 January Minister of Culture Wlodzimien Sokorski signed a decision to dismiss urgently and immediately Prof. Wladyslaw Strzeminski from his educational work in the State Higher School of Art PWSSP "for the good of the service". The Party Organization of the school proposed an appropriate resolution . Strzeminski was dismissed also from the Union ZPAP.
From January he started working in the Common Consumers' Co-operative PSS, designing posters.
In the summer he went for a few days to Kazimierz Dolny. There he produced a series of paintings and drawings which reflected his own idea of his role in the building of the new society - Harvesters, Spikes of Corn, Petty Farmers.
He continued writing his theoretical work on the theory of vision in a historical perspective. Roman Modzelewski , quoting Strzeminski, said that the book written in great hurry was meant to be the artist's argument against the absurdity of the slogans of socialist realism. It was addressed first of all to Minister Wlodzimierz Sokorski and other architects of the cultural policy of those times.
From September he taught several hours a week at the Evening Technical College of Printing in 73, Sporna Street.
On 1 October the exhibition in the Museum was closed down, and the Neoplastic Room was repainted. It was only in 1960 that Boleslaw Utkin reconstructed this interior; he also designed the small adjacent room in the neoplastical style". In that room Strzeminski's Architec- tural and Unistic Compositions were exhibited in 1948.
Katarzyna Kobro died on 26 February.
Strzeminski was employed as the window-display designer in the shops of the Municipal Retail Trade.
He was given the custody of his daughter, together they spent summer holidays in Lagow.
In early autumn he supervised the realization of the relief which he had designed in 1949 Colonial Exploitation in the Lodz cafe Egzoty- czna in Piotrkowska Street. The relief was constructed by Stefan Krygier and Edward Nowicki . From November he stayed in hospital , suffering from tuberculosis.
The manuscripts of Teoria widzenia (A Theory of Vision) were copied by students on typewriters. However, Stneminski's work on the book was not completed. It was published only in 1958. The typescripts illegally distributed were read by graduates of art colleges. Painter Andrzej Wroblewski made a witty drawing, an illustration "which was not included in the text" - and sent it in a letter to Andrzej Wajda. In December the Polish Artists' Union (ZPAP) Committee including Tadeusz Grygiel, J.Gutman, Jerzy Mazurczyk and Romuald Jackowski decided to destroy the relief Colonial Exploitation. The members of the Committee destroyed the work with their own hands. On 26 December Strzeminski died in a Lodz hospital .
Strzeminski's Table of Contents