Olga Boznańska

“My paintings look great because they are the truth, they are fair, yours, there is no narrow-mindness, no mannerism and no bluff”. Was not Boznańska a megalomaniac to write like that? Or maybe quite the opposite, a[an artist] fully devoted to art, aware of her attainments artist having no reason to mince [words]? You can soon find out how a contemporary viewer perceives the art of that painter considered a genius in her time.

Olga Boznańska (April 15, 1865 – Oct. 26, 1940); Polish painter of the turn of the 20th century. She was a notable female painter in Poland and Europe, and was stylistically associated with the French impressionism.

Born in Kraków during foreign partitions of Poland. She was the daughter of a railway engineer, Adam Nowina Boznański, and Eugenia née Mondan. Boznańska learned drawing first with Józef Siedlecki and Kazimierz Pochwalski locally. She studied at the Adrian Baraniecki School for Women. She débuted in 1886 at the Kraków Association of Friends of Fine Arts exhibition. From 1886–90 she studied art in the private schools of Karl Kricheldorf and Wilhelm Dürr in Munich. From then on she devoted herself mostly to portraits, still lifes and occasionally landscapes. In 1898, she joined the Society of Polish Artists "Sztuka" and in the same year moved to Paris, where she became a member of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts as well as the Polish Society of Literature and Art (Polskie Towarzystwo Literacko-Artystyczne).

Her most famous 1894 portrait of an unknown child Girl with Chrysanthemums fascinated her contemporaries by its symbolist atmosphere and psychological insight. Boznańska received the French Legion of Honour in 1912, the Golden Laurel of the Polish Academy of Literature in 1936, and in 1938 she was awarded the Order of Polonia Restituta. She died in Paris at the age of 75.

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First Collected by

Suzan Hamer


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