Saturday, January 3, 2015

Wojciech Gerson

The shepherd's concert
oil on canvas
92.5 × 134.5 cm
Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland

Wojciech Gerson (1831-1901) was a leading Polish painter of mid-19th century, and one of the foremost representatives of the Polish school of Realism during the foreign Partitions of Poland. A large number of his artwork has been stolen by Nazi Germany in World War II, and never recovered. He is revered in Poland for his historical paintings of patriotic nature, scenes of country life, and mountain landscapes. He also wrote art-reviews and published a book of anatomy for the artists, worked as an architect and art critic.

He was born in Warsaw during the November Uprising against the Russians. He enrolled at the School of Fine Arts in Warsaw in 1844 and graduated with honors in 1850. He graduated with a silver medal in St. Petersburg and returned to Warsaw in 1855. He left for Paris in 1856 and came back to Poland in 1858. He was a professor at the School of Fine Arts (future Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw) and trained a generation of future luminaries of Polish neo-romanticism artists there, until his retirement in 1896. He introduced the outdoor landscape trips and genre studies to his students with considerable impact. He resided in Warsaw for the rest of his life, nevertheless continued to travel abroad, until the turn of the century.