Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (aka Witkacy)

Poland / 1885 - 1939 / wikipedia / /
Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (24 Feb. 1885-18 Sept. 1939), commonly known as Witkacy; Polish writer, painter, philosopher, playwright, novelist, and photographer active in the interwar period.

Born in Warsaw, Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz was a son of the painter, architect and an art critic Stanisław Witkiewicz.... His godmother was the internationally famous actress Helena Modrzejewska.

....After 1925, and taking the name 'Witkacy', the artist ironically re-branded his portrait painting which provided his economic sustenance as The S.I. Witkiewicz Portrait Painting Company, with the tongue in cheek motto: "The customer must always be satisfied". Several so-called grades of portraits were offered, from the merely representational to the more expressionistic and the narcotics-assisted. Many of his paintings were annotated with mnemonics listing the drugs taken while painting a particular painting, even if this happened to be only a cup of coffee. He also varied the spelling of his name, signing himself Witkac, Witkatze, Witkacjusz, Vitkacius and Vitecasse — the last being French for "breaks quickly".

....In the postwar period, Communist Poland's Ministry of Culture decided to exhume Witkiewicz's body, move it to Zakopane, and give it a solemn funeral. This was carried out according to plan, though no one was allowed to open the coffin that had been delivered by the Soviet authorities.

On 26 November 1994, the Polish Ministry of Culture and Art ordered the exhumation of the presumed grave of Witkiewicz in Zakopane. Genetic tests on the remaining bones proved that the body had belonged to an unknown woman — a final absurdist joke, 50 years after the publication of Witkacy's last novel. (

When the Second Army invaded Poland, he tied himself to his lover, fed her poison and slit his wrists. She regained consciousness. He didn't. (
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First Collected by

Jaak Mortelmans


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