Year XVIII, Nr. 117 (5295), SATURDAY, MAY 23, 1970
80th anniversary from the birth of the honored plastic art worker, Cz. [Czeslaw] Znamierowski.
CRIMSON NIGHTS, GREEINISH MISTS
In such a home, in Antakalnis, a suburb of Vilnius, there lives one of the old artists in our city, one of the few determined realists of the old school nowadays. His paintings can be seen in many institutions, in the town hall administration departments. Mainly landscapes. In the corner of each work one can see a signature “Cz. Znamierowski” and a date.
The house in Antakalnis and its owner are considered sights of our city. Everyone who takes the trolley, leans out of the window to see the extremely funny and charming garden, situated up on the hill, full of joyful flowers and old man lively bustling about between the flower beds in the garden.
This house - is a piece of art. That is why it resisted trends and reconstructions, and it was left to enjoy the eyes all walking and driving by. We have to mention though that besides art Czeslaw Znamierowski is engaged in floriculture and receives a yearly distinction from the Town Council.
Today, May 23, the artist celebrates his 80th anniversary. He is from Inflandil, Latvia. But he feels as a citizen of Vilnius. He has been always living there since 1926. Always on this same street, in this same house.
A small parlour – bright and joyful owing to the low placed windows, full of souvenirs and sculptures. Everywhere piles of paintings. In August, in the Exhibition Palace in Vilnius, there will take place a retrospective anniversary exhibition of the plastic artist to perpetuate both his 50-year productive activity and 80th birthday.
That’s why there are already preparations going on in the house – the old canvasses are dusted, he sorts them, has a look around, creates catalogues, discusses captions. And here it is still May – and the garden, and the flowers.
- I would like to see some early works and recent ones – please. And here they start to shift in front of me Vilnius scenes – well-known, loved, unique caught in different times of the days and in different seasons.
I easily notice certain evolution in the creative work of the plastic artist of which he is fully conscious – force, intensification of colours, change of techniques - from the minute elaboration of the details to more dashing strokes, separating only the main elements of the landscape.
- When has it all started?
- As far back as early youth. Must be a family trait. My mother’s grandfather was a sculptor. My mother itself very much loved applied arts.
A portrait of a young modern girl, in pearl and beige colours, full of warmth, somehow very intimate, takes its place on the easel.
Then flowers in a glass vase on a small lustrous table polished with bronze.
- In 1920 I took part for the first time in an exhibition in Riga. I remember, the Swedish Association of the Independent Artists bought two paintings.
- How about your studies?
- I was in Petersburg, then in Vilnius, at Ruszczyc’ place.
Immediately I find an analogue: Shishkin and Kuindzhi – Ruszczyc – Czeslaw Znamierowski. Today we already have to add “senior” because his son is also a plastic artist and a photographer as well.
- I finished my studies but I did not received a diploma because of disaccording views on arts with prof. Sledzinski. I have not quite lived through this opinion. My diploma is always with me – this is my art.
- “ Night in Chosc”. Green patch of land, green sky and green see. Somehow fluorescent tint. “As if in a bottle of beer” – Galczynski would say. The afternoon motif is often repeated in Czeslaw Znamierowski’s creative works
- In 1931 I obtained an honour prize in an exhibition in Krakow, in 1933 I exhibited in Warsaw’s “Incentive” and I even received a medal. In 1939 my last pre-war exhibition took place.
“After the rain”. Large infinity of sky with restless clouds, narrow piece of land. A composition configuration loved by the painter.
But these are other landscapes, on which we see the closed horizon – such is a bright winter morning in the forest, with a blazing sky, shining through through the trees.
- And during the war? ...
- During the war I was still painting. When the bombarding of the town began, we were lying just here, in this room, one on top of the other on the floor.
- Did you not hide the paintings?
- And after the war?
- I painted, I painted, I painted…
His wife comes back:
- He traveled quite a lot in the Caucasus, the Crimea and the Zakarpattia district. From each trip he was bringing between 20 and 25 canvasses.
- Sometimes it goes off well. Some I painted in one performance.
- And how about discipline?
- This is not for me. If it clings– I can paint a few hours without stopping. If it doesn’t – I may not work for a couple of weeks.
Azure-crimson painted gloomy autumn day. A red cluster of trees – one living element. Elsewhere “Three recluses” - roadside trees. And there is again a huge canvass – an industrial landscape. Again a high sky, strip of land with a rural road. Romantic.
I do not prefer any particular colours. There are violets colours and dense green ones, autumn crimson and azure, impressionistic hazy and intensive white.
A true-born realist. He is not ashamed of this, he does not justify it. “When you have to paint something for the people – he turns towards me – explain. Not long ago I received an order from the Atheism Museum for a figural composition with a possible historical theme.”
He also paints portraits. The last – a portrait of marshal Grzeczko in the Officers’ House..
Experiments, searches! No, this is not for him. The world is so diverse and abundant, and it changes during every time of the day and the night, every spring and autumn so that it dictates its own shape, you don’t have to transfer it through your own imagination. You have to express it as it is in a given moment.
Wilenka river. Winter, summer, autumn. After every time the water is different. You don’t have to know much about arts to say that on these canvasses it is obviously wet.
- Art obviously always develops but sometimes plastic artists come to absurdity. I don’t change – I don’t know if this is good or bad. I have always been faithful to my opinions, views about things, about arts.
And that is why – always “crimson”, always atheist, always realist. My motto has always been Lenin’s principle that the art is destined for the peoples and must be widely comprehensible. My paintings are seen by ordinary people, they discuss them. I am happy they understand me. I create for them and for them I am necessary…
Behind the windows, behind the flower beds of Bulgarian primroses, begonias, tulips growling cars were rushing. The old man calmly had a look around the room, for a moment he held his eyes on one canvass, he remembered something. He was 80 years old, with a young heart, full of optimism, some peace and faith. I wished him lots, lots of health, creative atmosphere and good outdoor space and I left, because I saw he was longing to go outside back to his flowers and land on which he was making miracles.
ON THE PHOTO: the painter of Vilnius land Czeslaw Znamierowski in his garden. Photo: M. Rebiego
Translated from: Polish
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