Władysław Podkowiński  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Władysław Podkowiński (February 4, 1866 Warsaw  – January 5, 1895 Warsaw) was a Polish painter and illustrator.

Podkowiński began his artistic training at Wojciech Gerson's drawing school, the Warsaw Academy of Arts, at which he studied from 1880-1884. After leaving the school, Podkowinski contributed to many of the leading art journals in Warsaw at the time. In 1885 he travelled, along with Jozef Pankiewicz, to the St. Petersburg Fine Arts Academy where he studied from 1885-1886. Returning from St. Petersburg in 1886, Podkowiński gained a job as an illustrator for Tygodnik Ilustrowany where he became one its most renowned artists.

His first watercolor and oil paintings were produced during this time, but Podkowiński still considered them a hobby not a professional endeavor. These early paintings were mainly influenced by Aleksander Gierymski. He adopted painting as a profession after a trip to Paris in 1889, where he was profoundly influenced by French Impressionist painters, particularly Claude Monet. He was later credited for bringing the Impressionist movement to Poland but toward the end of his life personal experiences (incurable disease) inclined him toward Symbolism. He died in Warsaw at the age of 29 of tuberculosis.

His best known painting was Frenzy of Exultations (Szał uniesień) exhibited in Zachęta in an atmosphere of scandal. In 1894 it was featured in a Warsaw art exhibition; the exhibition lasted only 36 days because Podkowinski brought a knife on the 37th day and destroyed his work. The painting was restored after his death.

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