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Aleksander Gierymski | Impressionist painter

Ignacy Aleksander Gierymski (1850, Warsaw - 1901, Rome) was a Polish painter of the late 19th century, the younger brother of Maksymilian Gierymski.
He was a representative of Realism as well as an important precursor of Impressionism in Poland.
Aleksander Gierymski completed Secondary State School nr III in Warsaw in 1867, and in the same year commenced drawing studies in Warsaw.
Between 1868-1872 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich and graduated with a gold medal.
He received a commendation for his diploma work The Merchant of Venice.

Between 1873-1874 he stayed in Italy, mostly in Rome. There he completed his first famous works: Roman Inn and Morra Game, which Gierymski brought to Warsaw in the beginning of 1875 and exhibited at Zachęta Gallery.
Both paintings received the attention of audiences and critics.
From late 1875 until 1879 the artist returned to Rome, where he worked to improve his work, particularly spending much time studying Italian paintings.

The most important work of the Roman period was his painting In the Arbour.
It was an approach to impressionism, which was preceded by extensive studies in this area (for example Cylinder on a table, Man in red tail-coat among others).
In the painting In the Arbour, we can see the scene of an 18th-century social gathering, which takes place in a gazebo filled with light from behind.

Such scenes allowed him to play with colours and light.
Gierymski's work can be compared to contemporary French impressionists, even though he had not yet been in Paris and there was no evidence that he had seen their work.
The greatest period for Gierymski was between the years 1879-1888 which he spent in Warsaw.
In this time he worked with a group of young positivist writers and painters, clustered around the periodical Wędrowiec (Eng. Wanderer).
Responsible for art affairs in these magazines was Stanisław Witkiewicz, who took up a battle for Gierymski's public recognition.

Paintings, which Gierymski made in this period, for example, Jewish women selling oranges; The Old Town Gate, Solec’s Marina, The Feast of Trumpets and Sandblasters and others are based on the lives of poor people from two districts in Warsaw - Powiśle and Old Town.
Unfortunately, his works were never understood and respected in contemporary Poland.
As other unappreciated persons in his motherland, without livelihoods, he left Warsaw behind and went abroad in 1888.

Following his departure from Poland he lived largely in Germany and France.
As his environment changed, his work changed as well.
Away from his homeland, he started to paint subjects that weren't so personal.
He was mostly painting landscapes (Kufstein Castel Outlook, Part of Rothenburg, sea landscapes).
He was frequently painting at night, which allowed him to paint objects under artificial light, such as (Munich nocturnes, Paris Opera at Night, Twilight over Seine).

He came back to Poland in 1893 and stayed till 1895, in order to apply for a position at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow.
This journey revived his interest in human subjects.
The Peasant's Coffin is one of the paintings from that period.

For the last years of his life he remained in Italy.
From that latter period came works like Interior of Basilica of San Marco in Venice, Piazza del Popolo in Rome or outlooks of Verona.
His bitter disappointments in life are revealed on his self-portrait painted a year prior to his death.
He looked at the world with the eye of a naturalist, despite his hot-temper.

Tragically, the last years of his life were spent in a mental hospital; nevertheless he left a unique heritage.
His works represented realism, like Courbet’s, and he wasn't afraid to represent all matters of life, including the lives of humble people.
Gierymski died between 6-8 of March 1901 in Rome in a mental hospital on Via della Lungara Street.
He was buried at the Campo Verano Cemetery in Rome on 10 March 1901. | Source: © Wikipedia

Ignacy Aleksander Gierymski (Varsavia, 1850 - Roma, 1901) è stato un pittore Polacco del XIX secolo.
Importante esponente del realismo polacco e precursore dell'impressionismo in Polonia, fu anche fratello minore del pittore Maksymilian Gierymski.
Nato a Varsavia il 30 gennaio 1850, Aleksander Gierymski si diplomò alla scuola superiore di Varsavia nel 1867 e nello stesso anno iniziò a studiare disegno e pittura.

Fra il 1868 e il 1872 studiò all'Accademia delle Belle Arte di Monaco, diplomandosi con una medaglia d'oro e ricevendo un encomio per la sua opera Il mercante di Venezia.
Fra il 1873 ed il 1874 soggiornò in Italia, perlopiù a Roma, dove produsse le sue prime opere importanti: Roman Inn e Morra Game, che espose nel 1875 alla Galleria Zachęta di Varsavia, ottenendo l'interesse della critica e del pubblico.

Tornato a Roma fra la fine del 1875 ed il 1879, per studiare la pittura italiana e migliorare la propria tecnica, produsse l'importante opera Il pergolato, un lavoro di approccio all'Impressionismo che venne paragonato ai lavori dei suoi corrispondenti francesi, in particolare Monet, anche se Gierymski non era ancora mai stato a Parigi e non è provato che conoscesse il loro lavoro.

Il periodo più produttivo fu quello del 1879-1888, trascorso a Varsavia.
Inserito in una cerchia di scrittori e pittori positivisti, si guadagnò l'ammirazione di Stanisław Witkiewicz, direttore del periodico Wędrowiec, che si prodigò per il riconoscimento pubblico del talento di Gierymski.
Opere di questo periodo sono Jewish women selling oranges, The Old Town Gate, Solec’s Marina, The Feast of Trumpets e Sandblasters. Nessuna di queste ottenne successo in patria e nel 1888, al verde, lasciò nuovamente la Polonia.

Visse prevalentemente in Francia e Germania, producendo per lo più opere impersonali, di paesaggi e scene notturne.
Dopo un breve ultimo soggiorno in Polonia fra il 1893 ed il 1895 per tentare di ottenere il riconoscimento dell'Accademia delle Belle Arti di Cracovia, si trasferì definitivamente in Italia, dove si dedicò a ritrarre scorci cittadini e monumenti.

Nei suoi ultimi anni, venne rinchiuso in un ospedale psichiatrico a Roma, in via della Lungara.
L'amarezza per il mancato successo patrio si riflette nelle sue opere, come l'autoritratto dipinto un anno prima della morte.
Gierymski morì a Roma, ancora internato, fra il 6 e l'8 marzo 1901.
Venne sepolto nella stessa città, nel cimitero del Verano. | Fonte: © Wikipedia