Uniwersytet Rzeszowski
Centrum Dokumentacji Współczesnej Sztuki Sakralnej
pl. Ofiar Getta 4-5/35, 35-002 Rzeszów
tel. +48 17 872 20 98

Lechosław Lameński

The Catholic University of Lublin


Zofia Stryjeńska (1891–1976) is one of the most popular and at the same time most scandalous Polish artists of the interwar period. She is commonly known as an outstanding illustrator, although she successfully expressed herself among others in easel and monumental painting. The artist’s compositions impressed viewers with their ever-present movement and dynamics, vivid colours and well-defined figures of people and animals that were clearly related thematically to Polish folklore, its traditions and rites and also to the Piast past.

            But in this apparently completely secular creation, religious compositions occupied an important place. Between 1917 and 1918 the artist painted in gouache and water-colour five paintings forming the cycle Passover, frequently exhibited both in Poland and abroad. In 1922 the artist completed another cycle, The Sacraments, this time consisting of seven compositions in gouache.

            Passover and The Sacraments cycles were undoubtedly something extraordinary in the rich and diverse artistic output of Zofia Stryjeńska since 1939. The artist reserved religious motifs only for important and exceptional compositions. After 1946, when the artist chose to emigrate and her financial situation became very bad, she began to paint for sale pictures depicting St Mary, Christ, saints and scenes from the Old and New Testament. Unfortunately they did not have the same expression as the compositions from Passover and The Sacraments cycles.

Keywords: Zofia Stryjeńska, illustrator, scandalmonger, religious motifs, cycles, Passover, the Sacraments


It seems that the term “princess of Polish painting” was first used by the journalist whose interview with Zofia Stryjeńska was published by “Wiadomości Literackie” in 1924[1]. During the next decade – at least until 1935 – the artist was written about by Polish newspapers, literary and art magazines both eagerly and frequently. Almost overnight, this painter, born in Cracow (on the 13th May 1891 in a family of craftsmen) as Zofia Lubańska,[2] became the epitome of what was best in Polish art in a country which had regained freedom after 123 years of partition.

In the only, rather poor, substitute for a monograph on the artist, published in 1929, its author, Jerzy Warchałowski, who had carefully followed Stryjeńska’s artistic development since her debut exhibition at the Friends of the Fine Arts Society in Cracow in 1912, wrote among other things: “Zofia Stryjeńska is above all a Polish painter of Polish things. The term outstanding illustrator does not reflect her role in art. If there weren’t any folk tales and rites, no poetry of Kochanowski, Szymonowicz, Krasicki, Mickiewicz, Słowacki, Tetmajer, the artist would have been compelled to make up such tales, legends and poetry in order to be able to tell them with her characters. So much does her talent compel her to express herself by means of characters and events. This is a distinctive feature of folk art, primitive art, child art. The artist had nurtured this feature of hers until it grew into great art – we further read – she does not need to search for models abroad, she does not ‘study’ the countryside, folk types, characters from the galley. She only takes a glance and they come to her in great numbers, they become part of her life, fill up her room. These are her artistic trademarks, her host with whom she goes to the battle field, her colour fields, her ornaments.”[3]

Mieczysław Wallis, who frequently commented on the abundant and versatile output of the artist, so analysed her illustrating endeavours for “Fine Arts”: “Stubborn, unruly, insuppressible individuality of Zofia Stryjeńska, her short temper, her uncontrollable imagination cause that she turns every vivid colour into a bright colour, every sound into a thud, each movement into a rush. With such Stryjeńska’s tendencies and dispositions loyalty to literary works she illustrates is out of question.”[4]

However, the freedom, even nonchalance, with which the artist treated the literary prototype in her illustrations, was not criticised by the reviewers. Just the opposite, most of them appreciated in her compositions Zofia Styjeńska’s conspicuous Polish features “with this peculiar appearance, showing clearly that the progeny of this exceptional artist is our artistic, historical and national past, skillfully transformed to gain its own strong and original form.”[5]

In general the tone was positive, not to say enthusiastic. Reviewers were enchanted by the ease of the artist’s expression, ever-present movement and dynamics, vivid and well-defined colours, figures of people and animals reduced to basic – geometrical – forms in compositions that were clearly related thematically to Polish folklore, its traditions and rites and also to the Piast past. The freedom of Stryjeńska’s expression both in monumental and big format painting, the genuine decorative style and clear syncretism as well as numerous easel paintings and engravings, suggestive poster designs, book illustrations, visual costume and set designs for theatre productions and finally small works of artistic craftsmanship – all in the same style – evoked genuine admiration and esteem. The artist’s popularity reached its peak during the International Exhibition of Decorative Arts and Modern Industry in Paris in 1925, where she was awarded four Grand Prix for exhibited painting compositions, posters, fabrics and book illustrations, and the honourable distinction Diplome d’Honneur in the toy section. She was also awarded a Knight Order of the Legion of Honour. In this way she became the most frequently honoured member of the exhibition, significantly contributing to the success of the Polish section on an international scale.[6]


But Zofia Stryjeńska “a bit rough, hasty, reticent, tense, with huge dark almost curly hair covering her eyes casting sharp glances” – as she was remembered by Halina Ostrowska-Grabska[7] in her memoirs – evoked interest not only for purely artistic reasons. Since early childhood she had been keen on provoking her milieu with unconventional behaviour, ceaseless – as it seems – attempts to defy all rules and principles, in agreement with her own uncontrollable, undoubtedly quick temper as well as the desire to get her own way. It is commonly known that when, in 1911, she decided to study painting at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, which did not admit women at the time, she made use of her slender figure and after small cosmetic alterations (short hair, men’s clothes) with her brother’s passport in her hand, regardless of intense competition, she passed the exam and was accepted to the faculty of painting as Tadeusz Grzymała Lubański. She “played” the role of her brother so convincingly that during her year-long stay in Munich she captured the affection of two Italian women, a mother and daughter, with whom she lodged.[8]

Then in 1916 against the will of his family, she married Karol Stryjeński, an architect and organiser of cultural enterprises. Owing to his connections, and the exceptional position and role of her father-in-law Tadeusz Stryjeński in the artistic circles of Cracow and Galicia especially at the turn of the 20th century (a leading architect, pioneer of reinforced concrete in Poland) she entered the artistic bohemia first of Cracow (“Polish Formists”, the circle of “Cracow Workshops” and The Museum of Technology and Industry) then of Zakopane (where Karol had been offered the position of headmaster of the School of Wood Industry and became the author of the town’s urban planning concept, including, among other objects, the construction of the Wielka Krokiew ski jump) and finally of Warsaw (chiefly the “Rhythm” group favoured by the Sanation Government). Unfortunately it was not a happy marriage. It abounded in unexpected twists and scandals; and although the couple had children (a daughter Magdalena born in 1918 and long-awaited twin sons Jan and Jacek born in 1922) they divorced after eleven years of marriage. It was inevitable as “Karol, full of charm and grace, with charming manners”[9] would “entertain and charm women aged one to one hundred of all walks of life,”[10] and Zofia, with her short temper, was insanely jealous of him. Consequently, witnesses’ selective memory projected only scandalizing or ridiculing images of both spouses: “Karol Stryjeński is drunk, wrapped up in a rug, Zofia breeds the twins in a cabinet drawer in the absence of a cradle, Karol strolls down the school corridors in his dressing-gown, Zofia casts stones at Karol, the Headmaster’s office window, Karol is knocked down by Zofia’s well – aimed punch in a Parisian street, Zofia, in her night gown, dashes to Bystre to look for Karol …”[11]

Marital misunderstandings rapidly followed one another from the very beginning of this unusual union of two strong personalities. They were unable to devote much time to their children, therefore the task of their upbringing was undertaken by the husband’s sister Joanna (Żancia) Stryjeńska. On Karol’s initiative, in 1919, Zofia was confined for a few days in the Jan Piltz neuropsychiatric clinic in Cracow. The final straw was the artist’s next confinement in a mental institution, this time in Batowice near Cracow in the autumn of 1927. Again it was her husband’s decision, and it reverberated throughout the press.[12] After winning a court case concerning her unlawful confinement in a mental institution, and disappointed with her husband’s deeds, Zofia obtained a divorce from Karol and left for Warsaw.

It was the time when Stryjeńska frequented the most sophisticated restaurants in the capital (among others Adria, and the famous Ziemiańska) together with Irena Pokrzywnicka, who was regarded as “a dictator of Warsaw fashion, noted for her passion for costly and fine fabrics, fur-coats, as well as for her impressive originality as a designer of fashion and theatrical costumes presented on various fashion shows”,[13] and who, as well as Stryjeńska, belonged to the “Rhythm” group:

“I was about to go back under the bed cover, because I am not feeling very well – noted Zofia Stryjeńska under 4th February 1934 in her memoirs, written later in her life – but Irpo [this was how Pokrzywnicka signed her paintings and how her friend addressed her – L.L.] phoned me to go out for a bite, and after dinner we were to see the show by aristocratic girls which they organised for charitable purposes for the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Europa [what is meant is the Europejska cafe – L.L.]. […] So I am waiting at the fogeys’ table [in a cafe at the Institute for Art Propagation – L.L.], and finally Irpo dashed in dressed in a sable coat, all done up like an Alexandrian courtesan and she managed to animate our table a bit. Come you harlot – I tell her – or we shall be late for your artistic show, and it would be a waste to miss a part of this hoax. We headed for Simon’s [Simon and Stecki’s, an elegant restaurant in Krakowskie Przedmieście – L.L.], because Irena wanted to show off there and we ate up the few zloty that each of us had, because it is very extremely expensive there. Then we make it for the hall in Europa, where Irena and I split because she had some committee duties to perform, and she proceeded to mix with heute-high life. The dance was great, all halls were lit by chandeliers. I was inappropriately dressed.[14]

In 1929, after joining the Evangelical Reformed Church, Zofia Stryjeńska remarried. Her husband was Artur Klemens Socha, film and theatre actor. Unfortunately his pleasant appearance and charming voice managed to attract the artist’s imagination only for a short time.[15] Due to her husband’s lifestyle (he moved to Łódź, where he had been employed by the City Theatre) and his venereal disease, as well as the fact that he – just as Karol Styjeński had earlier done – abused Zofia physically,[16] it remained a Platonic relationship. Finally, the artist, dissatisfied with the institution of marriage, which failed to meet her expectations, filed for another divorce in 1935.

Was there any place left for creating religious compositions, that is works far more private, requiring exceptional concentration, and inner peace in Zofia Stryjeńska’s turbulent life, in which she could not be a model wife, or a warm loving mother (which, in time, she more and more desired to be[17]), let alone being able to reconcile the difficult problems of everyday life accompanied by constant struggle for financial stability with versatile artistic activity, successes at exhibitions both in Poland and abroad? It appears so. Although Zofia Stryjeńska probably never painted a traditional sacred painting to anybody’s order, religious motifs appeared in her totally secular, folklore inspired early artwork and they accompanied her – surprisingly – almost until death, when embittered and forgotten after she had left Poland in 1946, she tried, in vain, to find for herself and her outmoded painting a suitable place in the new reality.

Between 1917 and 1918 the artist painted five compositions forming the cycle entitled Passover. Frequently exhibited between 1920 and 1938 during collective exhibitions of Polish art abroad as part of displays prepared by TOSSPO (the Society for the Propagation of Polish Art Among Foreigners) it was also published in 1929 in a collection of rotogravures by Jakub Mortkowicz’s publishing house as: Passover. The Song of Our Lord’s Resurrection.

The cycle is formed by five compositions: Rising from the grave, Three Marys at the grave, The Gardener (Noli me tangere), Appearance before the disciples, and Mary meeting her son. Most probably, however, the cycle originally consisted of six compositions. The last composition could have been – as Dorota Suchocka suggests – the unpreserved Pentecost.[18] It is the first and the only set of compositions by Zofia Stryjeńska (painted in gouache and water-colour on paper glued to cardboard), where the artist combined Christian with mythological and folk motifs, at the same time making deliberate references to the contemporary history of the newly-revived Poland. Of the same opinion are all of the few researchers whose interest was caught by the religious aspect in the artistic activity of the “princess of Polish painting”, among whom we find Anna Manicka, in whose opinion “The symbolic message of Passover is twofold. Firstly, it is the story of Christ’s resurrection, based on the Bible, and secondly – an allegory of Poland regaining independence in 1918, based to some extent on Stanisław Wyspiański’s Liberation”.[19]

The first composition painted by Stryjeńska was Mary meeting her son [fig. 1], which was also the most popular piece before World War II. Although it was created first, it proved to be the most decorative. Apart from obvious references to Stanisław Wyspiański’s drawings (in particular – in the opinion of the author of the present study – to the sketches of the characters and costumes for the production of the drama Bolesław Śmiały) it foreshadowed the fabulously colourful style of the artist and its distinctive features such as a foreshortened perspective and simplified – geometrised – stylization of people who were given the features of her friends and relatives. In this case, three of Christ’s disciples on the left side of the composition had the facial features of Karol Stryjeński, Wojciech Jastrzębowski and Jerzy Warchałowski.[20]

The composition, abundant in patterns, numerous decorative floral motifs taking up the whole space of the cardboard along its upper edge, the stage-like placement of people, the two-dimensionality of large parts of their clothing, attracted the viewers by “evoking admiration of the freshness and simplicity with which the subject was approached.”[21]

The remaining compositions in the cycle are not so homogenous or full of vibrant and fresh colours. The duality of form and content is visible, as if the artist did not know which way to go. Zofia Stryjeńska consciously (or intuitively) divides the surface of the cardboards into darker, almost monochromatic parts and areas contrasting with them, brightened with rays of light, which bring out of the shadows patterned fragments of clothing and their clear colours. It is so in Rising from the grave [fig. 2], where Resurrected Christ, presented as a young healthy man in white clothes, resembling traditional peasant’s clothing, with bright yellow rays around equally yellow hair and a fringe cut in a typical “Piast style”, walks past sleeping soldiers guarding the grave shrouded in the shadows of the cave. Here Christ was interpreted as the personification of Poland and the soldiers with shotguns and woefully shining helmets (pickelhauben) – as a symbol of the one hundred years of enslavement of the Polish nation.[22]

Three Marys at the grave [fig. 3] depicts a scene taking place in a large but slightly deformed interior (composed by the artist using a number of perspectives simultaneously), maybe in a manor cellar,[23] most probably a stronghold of Polish and catholic identity in the Eastern Borderlands. The ascetic interior, decorated with cold grey and brown colours, focuses the viewer’s attention on three Marys heading for the stairs leading to a wide open door, through which hopeful morning sunlight flows. Their bright clothes resemble over-stylized elements of traditional townswoman’s, peasant’s and maybe highlander’s costumes.

The Gardener (Noli me tangere) [fig. 4] is a beautiful, sunlit, synthetic orchard, where whitewash tree trunks nicely contrast with bright green treetops, forming natural scenery for Christ and Mary Magdalene kneeling before him. “Christ – the gardener, by being placed between tree branches forming a chapel, has some features of a folk carved saint’s statue.”[24]

The last composition, the most dynamic of the whole cycle, is Appearance before the disciples [fig. 5], about which Mieczysław Wallis made a very poetic comment: “In the next painting as well, Christ-Poland stands in the door of a chamber, fair-haired, white, washed in sunlight; inside, the chamber swarms with people, probably representatives of the Polish nation or victims of their ideals – thinkers, painters, musicians – beautiful heads with black and small beards, among them we unexpectedly find a faun from Malczewski’s paintings.”[25]

Only four years later – in 1922 – Zofia Stryjeńska, at the request of her brother-in-law Adam Dygat (her sister Stefania’s husband) painted her next religious cycle The Sacraments. At first, it consisted of seven compositions painted in gouache on cardboard: Baptism, Penance [fig. 6], Confirmation [fig. 7], Last Anointing (Viaticum) [fig. 8] as well as Holy Orders, Holy Eucharist and Matrimony, which did not survive. The artist valued it very much, she always took it with her, exhibited it frequently, including during the first exhibition of the Society of Polish Artists “Rhythm” in Warsaw’s Zachęta in February in 1922.

The cycle is very expressive, utterly coherent both compositionally and with respect to the means of expressions used. Stryjeńska, in the way characteristic for her mature – that is a bit later, dating from the mid-twenties – artistic phase, placed all human figures, characters from each scene, in the foreground, while the space behind them was reduced to pulsating azure and smooth and empty background. Human figures, deliberately simplified, with the emphasis placed on the dramaturgy of gestures and facial expressions, seem to be cut out of coloured paper and glued to the surface of the painting. The dominating colour of their clothes is black combined with various shades of purple and Indian red.

The artist was not the only person who liked The Sacraments cycle. In June 1931, Wacław Husarski, the curator of the Polish section at the International Exhibition of Religious Art in Padua organized to commemorate the 700th anniversary of St Anthony’s death, found it appropriate to display it. “The Polish section – he wrote for “Sztuki Piękne” – organised by the Society for the Propagation of Polish Art Among Foreigners […] is in all respects the richest of all foreign ones; it holds the greatest number of exhibits, among them some are so big that it proved to be necessary to raise the part of the building we had at our disposal, at the same time our exhibits are more varied than those in other sections, which, however, does not distort the homogeneity of expression; during such shows on an international scale, the stamp of individuality which Polish art bears in all its manifestations becomes clearly visible. The biggest merits of Polish artworks are: simplicity, accessibility and comprehensibility, achieved to a large extent through direct contact with the spirit of common people.”[26]

Undoubtedly, these words refer chiefly to Zofia Stryjeńska’s cycle, which meets all of the critic’s criteria. “Italian press unanimously highlighted the high level of the Polish section and the individuality of its character”,[27] while the jury awarded the silver medal to the artist for the seven Sacraments (ex aequo with eight other artists).[28]

The year 1931 was exceptional for Zofia Stryjeńska’s religious creation. Concurrently with the international exhibition in Padua, in May and June of the same year, in the main hall and reception halls of the Silesian voivodship office the Exhibition of Polish Religious Art took place, where the artist also exhibited. Albeit in an almost symbolic way, as she displayed only one water-colour Christ (at that time owned by Horowitz from Cracow); yet this fact was scrupulously noted down in the occasional – very impressive from the editorial point of view – publication.[29]

Passover and The Sacraments cycles were undoubtedly extraordinary in the rich and diverse artistic output of Zofia Stryjeńska since 1939, as the artist reserved religious motifs only for important and exceptional compositions. During the interwar period she did not paint a single religious composition for sale. In spite of some perturbations in the unstable household budget (it was commonly believed, though, that the author of the Polish Dances had a good financial standing) Zofia Stryjeńska somehow managed in this area. The problem become more acute only during the years of the Nazi occupation, during which time her financial situation was ruinous, and after 1946, when the artist left Poland forever.[30]

In order to obtain money to secure a livelihood and to be able to reappear on the artistic scene, Zofia Stryjeńska began to sell her paintings – mainly those painted in gouache on canvas or cardboard – depicting St Mary [fig. 9], Christ, various saints, as well as scenes from the Old and New Testament. While painting them she returned “eagerly” to simple, uncomplicated compositional patterns known from her earlier artwork, copying and repeating the most interesting – in her opinion – works, which in the fifties appealed to the Polish Diaspora priests in France and the USA. In 1957 she was visited her in her Parisian apartment by Jerzy Pabis, who later published an article entirely devoted to the religious motifs in the post-war output of the artist. We read in it: “When she is to create a religious work, she contemplates it for a long time, looks at other similar works, reads indispensable reference books, and when the artistic concept matures in her imagination, she transfers it onto the canvas and immortalizes it in tempera. The authoress of numerous religious works frequently stresses the fact that many of her paintings grew from her deep reverence and the respect of the Polish nation for the saints and Lord Jesus himself.”[31]

Probably, the most interesting and fresh – and at the same time – the most familiar, to we natives of Poland were numerous Madonnas with the Infant Christ. With her characteristic freedom and ease, the artist painted beautiful young women with regular features, usually from the waist up, dressed in more or less patterned and colourful dresses, with veils on their heads, accompanied by a lively child, naked, or wrapped up in a coarse gown of a baroque or Piast type. Not less expressive were compositions such as Our Lady of the Rosary (ca. 1950, private property, Cracow) [fig. 10], although the bust of Mary is this time more stark, painted according to the conventional, but fossilized canon (scheme).

The increase in the interest in this type of paintings in the sixties caused that the artist, who wanted to meet her potential customers’ expectations, increased their “production”, which led to a level of repetitiveness and, at the same time, to a decrease in their artistic value.

In this way Zofia Stryjeńska’s huge talent burnt out and her artistic career reached a definite end. And although even today we view the artist mainly through her Parisian triumph in 1925, chiefly as the author of lively, brightly coloured, highly decorative genre scenes, traditional Polish dances and illustrations, in which the prominent role is played by the line, bright, flatly applied colour, and folk-inspired stylization, it must be remembered that in addition to the abovementioned Passover and The Sacraments cycles and many paintings created after 1939, religious motifs had been present in Stryjeńska’s art – as I have already mentioned – from the very beginning of her career. How else can we label Christmas Carol painted in 1915, consisting of seven carols, published as an album of lithographs by Cracow Workshops publishing house in 1917, or the series of ten postcards published for Polish Legions in 1916, in which we find the Three Kings, a Madonna with the Infant Jesus in the manger, and carol-singers with a star?[32] Indeed, Stryjeńska had many more publications of that type in her output.

Yet the elusive human memory has left us a completely different picture of Zofia Stryjeńska’s life and art. It is good that after many years of silence[33] the “princess of Polish painting” finally had (four years ago) her real monograph exhibition in her hometown Cracow (the National Museum, October 2008 – January 2009), which was accompanied by an impressive, eye-catching catalogue, a collective work of a large group of art historians from Cracow and Warsaw. And although the organizers treated the artist’s endeavours in a fairly objective way, devoting considerable attention to religious motifs among other areas, we are still left feeling unfulfilled and maybe even dissatisfied.[34]


Translated by Ewa Kucelman

[1] Zofia Stryjeńska w Warszawie. U księżniczki malarstwa polskiego. Wywiad specjalny „Wiadomości Literackich”, “Wiadomości Literackie”, 1924, no. 7, p. 1.

[2] All facts and dates connected with the life and artistic creation of Zofia Stryjeńska, unless indicated otherwise, are quoted after: Kalendarium, in: Zofia Stryjeńska 1891–1976. Wystawa w Muzeum Narodowym w Krakowie, październik 2008 – styczeń 2009, exhibition catalogue, ed. Ś. Lenartowicz, Kraków 2008, pp. 418–431.

[3] J. Warchałowski, Zofia Stryjeńska, [Artstic monographs, ed. M. Treter], Warszawa [1929], p. 13.

[4] M. Wallis, Zofia Stryjeńska jako ilustratorka, “Sztuki Piękne” 4, 1927–1928, p. 178. See also the reprint in: idem, Sztuka polska dwudziestolecia. Wybór pism z lat 1921–1957, Warszawa 1959, p. 191.

[5] A. Schroeder, Zofia Stryjeńska (Z okazji wystawy w krakowskim Pałacu Sztuki), “Sztuki Piękne” 4, 1927–1928, pp. 161–162.

[6] Cf. A.M. Drexlerowa, A.K. Olszewski, Polska i Polacy na Powszechnych Wystawach Światowych 1851–2000, Warszawa 2005, pp. 204–207; Wystawa paryska 1925. Materiały z sesji naukowej Instytutu Sztuki PAN Warszawa, 16–17 listopada 2005 roku, ed. J. Sosnowska, Warszawa 2007.

[7] H. Ostrowska-Grabska, Bric à brac 1848–1939, [Warszawa 1978], p. 392.

[8] The masquerade organised by Zofia Stryjeńska (at that time still Lubańska) in order to study in the academy in Munich is described by Joanna Sosnowska in her book: Poza kanonem. Sztuka polskich artystek 1880–1939, Warszawa 2003, pp. 158–160. Referring to the unpublished diary of the artist’s father (see p. 176 fn. 33), the Warsaw scientist demythologizes the event, firmly stating that Zofia posed as a man mainly for her own safety, with the acknowledgement and consent of her closest family.

[9] Ostrowska-Grabska [1978], as fn. 7, p. 392.

[10] R. Malczewski, Pępek świata, Warszawa 1960, p. 114, quoted after: M. Grońska, Wstęp, in: Z. Stryjeńska, Chleb prawie że powszedni, the memoir was edited for publication, prefaced, annotated and indexed by M. Grońska, vol. 1, Warszawa 1995, p. 9.

[11] H. Kenarowa, Od Zakopiańskiej Szkoły Przemysłu Drzewnego do Szkoły Kenara. Studium z dziejów szkolnictwa zawodowo-artystycznego w Polsce, Kraków [1978], p. 173.

[12] The event is described in detail by the artist herself in her memoirs, in which she also placed relevant newspaper clippings See Stryjeńska 1995 (fn. 10), vol. 1, pp. 66–103.

[13] M. Dec, Irena Pokrzywnicka – życie i twórczość, “Biuletyn Historii Sztuki” 96, 2007, vols. 3–4, p. 301.

[14] Ibidem, p. 133.

[15] Grońska 1995 (fn. 10), p. 10.

[16] The artist herself wrote in her memoirs: “Everything went well, but after Marysia’s departure there came Artur [her husband], who although proclaiming sexual freedom, proved to be, in this case, extremely jealous. He had previously spied on me, playing Othello, but now he found the danger greater, and he launched at Montalk [the reference is made here to Geoffrey of Montalk Potocki] a flood of abuses, he chased him away, threw his beret and dictionary after him and beat me up so that I looked like a jaguar with the bruises on my face and my whole body.” – see Stryjeńska 1995, as in fn. 10, p. 320. The fact that her husband physically abused Zofia is also noted by J. Sosnowska 2003 (fn. 8), p. 165.

[17] At least this is what her memoirs say. This issue is addressed many times by the artist’s niece Anna Monika Stryjeńska-Syrzistie (daughter of Władysław Stryjeński, a psychiatrist, Karol’s brother) in her unpublished book Opowieść o rodzinie Stryjeńskich, Poronin 1997–1999,the manuscript owned by the author [chapter: Zofia z Lubańskich Stryjeńska (1891–1976) – bardzo znana przed wojną malarka, pp. 188–203].

[18] D. Suchocka, O sukcesie Zofii Stryjeńskiej, “Biuletyn Historii Sztuki” 43, 1981, no. 4, p. 431, il. 23–28.

[19] A. Manicka, O cyklu “Pascha”, w: Zofia Stryjeńska 1891–1976… 2008 (fn. 2), p. 251.

[20] So claims A. Manicka 2008 (fn. 19).

[21] Warchałowski [1929] (fn. 3), p. 22.

[22] See Suchocka 1981 (fn. 18), p. 131.

[23] About the cellar and the manor we read in S.P.O, “Bluszcz”, 1930, vol. 16, p. 12. After D. Suchocka 1981 (fn. 18), p. 131, fn. 98.

[24] Suchocka, 1981 (fn. 18), p. 431.

[25] M. Wallis, “Pascha” Stryjeńskiej, “Wiadomości Literackie”, 1930, nr. 16. See also the reprint in: Wallis 1959 (fn. 4), p. 202.

[26] W. Husarski, Wystawa sztuki religijnej w Padwie, “Sztuki Piękne” 7, 1931, p. 458.

[27] Ibidem, p. 459.

[28] See Wystawy, in: Zofia Stryjeńska 1891–1976… 2008 (fn. 2), p. 437.

[29] M. Gładysz, O wystawie polskiej sztuki religijnej w Katowicach, in: O polskiej sztuce religijnej, ed. J. Langman, Katowice 1932, p. 211; also see: Kronika artystyczna, “Sztuki Piękne” 7, 1931, p. 270.

[30] The part of the present study devoted to the post-war religious artwork of Zofia Stryjeńska was based on the information from the text by Światosław Lenartowicz, O malarstwie religijnym po 1939 roku, in: Zofia Stryjeńska 1891–1976… 2008 (fn. 2), p. 261.

[31] J. Pabis, Motywy religijne w twórczości Zofii Stryjeńskiej, “Sodalis” 38, 1957, no. 6, pp. 37–40, after: Lenartowicz 2008 (fn. 30). If I am not mistaken, the article by Pabis is the only one – so far – connecting the Polish Diaspora with the post-war religious artwork of the artist.

[32] Grafika 2008 (fn. 32), p. 364.

[33] The last monograph exhibition of the artist took place in the Institute for Art Propagation in 1935, and after 1945 Zofia Stryjeńska’s work was not exhibited either in Poland or abroad [sic!].

[34] The feeling of unfulfillment is due to the fact that the two introductory essays by Maria Grońska and Katarzyna Nowakowska-Sito do not exhaust the subject of the analysis and evaluation of the enormous output of the artist. And although it is difficult to criticize the author of the latter text, since it offers many interesting remarks and observations, the former one is, which is impossible not to notice, little more than a slightly altered – very general – introduction to an album published twenty years ago. (M. Grońska, Zofia Stryjeńska, Wrocław 1991). It also lacks in my opinion in broader context, interpretative remarks in very short almost inventory texts devoted to the cycles: Passover (A. Manicka, p. 251–252) and The Sacraments (Ś. Lenartowicz, p. 252) or the artist’s religious painting after 1939 (Ś. Lenartowicz, p. 261).

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