Teodor Axentowicz [1859-1938] was a Polish-Armenian painter and university professor. A renowned artist of his times, he was also the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. As an artist, Axentowicz was famous for his portraits and subtle scenes of Hutsul life, set in the Carpathians.
In Paris, he received the prestigious title of Officier d'Académie Ordre des Palmes Académiques and Member of Académie des Beaux-Arts. In 1904 at the St. Louis World's Fair, Axentowicz received a Special Commemorative Award in recognition of distinguished service in connection with various national sections of the Department of Art.
In addition to Society of Polish Artists "Sztuka", he was also a member of the Vienna Secession and Hagenbund.
Between 1879-1882 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. From there he moved to Paris, where he was a student of Carolus-Duran and continued his education until 1895. During that time he started a long-time cooperation with various journals and started his career as a copyist, duplicating the works of Tizian and Botticelli for Le Monde illustré. He also made numerous travels to London and Rome, where he prepared a set of portraits, one of the first in his career. In 1894 he started collaboration with Wojciech Kossak and Jan Styka during the preparation of the Racławice Panorama, one of the largest panoramic paintings in the history of Polish art.
The following year he moved to Kraków, where he became a professor at the local Academy of Fine Arts. He was also active in the local society and cooperated with various societies devoted to propagation of arts and crafts. In 1897 he founded an artistic conservatory for women and soon afterwards became one of the founders of the Sztuka society, whose members were such artists as Józef Chełmoński, Julian Fałat, Jacek Malczewski, Józef Mehoffer, Jan Stanisławski, Włodzimierz Tetmajer, Leon Wyczółkowski and Stanisław Wyspiański. In 1910 he became the rector of the Academy and since 1928 was also an honorary member of the Zachęta Society. He died August 26, 1938 in Kraków.
Throughout his life he had numerous exhibitions, both in Poland and abroad. He was awarded many gold metals at both national and international exhibitions. The most notable were organized in: Berlin (1896, 1913), St. Louis (1904), Munich (1905, 1935), London (1906), Vienna (1908), Rome (1911), Venice (1914, 1926), Paris (1921), Chicago (1927) and Prague (1927). His paintings can be found in almost all public collections in Poland and in numerous private ones there and abroad.
Axentowicz, Teodor - Pittore polacco, nato il 13 giugno 1859 a BraŞov in Transilvania. Studiò pittura a Monaco di Baviera tra il 1879-1883, poi a Parigi sotto Carolus Duran. Nel 1893 soggiornò a Londra e la scuola inglese del '700 molto influì sull'arte sua. Nel 1895 fu nominato professore della Scuola di belle arti a Cracovia e, quando questa divenne accademia, ne fu ripetutamente rettore. L'A. dipinse dapprima vaste composizioni storiche, ma più tardi si dedicò a scene di vita tra i montanari dei Carpazî (Huzuli), trattate a olio e a pastello. Tutti questi quadri, come la Danza degli Huzuli, il Funerale, la Benedizione dell'acqua, sono d'un vivo colore locale. Intanto raggiunse a Londra, a Parigi, a Cracovia, grande fama nei ritratti: notissimo quello di Sarah Bernhardt e del figlio di lei con la moglie. Ma i suoi ritratti più lodati sono quelli a disegno e a pastello, di una sua tecnica personale, che nei soggetti femminili raggiunge una grazia raffinata indimenticabile. Trattò anche la litografia a colori. | © Stanislao Zaleski, Treccani, Enciclopedia Italiana.