The Great Painters

Tadeusz Brzozowski

- painting alchemist and sorcerer

Tadeusz Brzozowski
"Dusery" 1969, oil, canvas 98×100 cm, in the collection of the National Museum in Wroclaw; photo studio MNWr. Source:




Tadeusz Brzozowski (1918-1987)

Few contemporary painters had such a perfect workshop - equal to the old masters. In his beautiful, mysterious paintings - among the thicket of lines, in the mazes of fleshy forms - emotions and meanings are encrypted. He is a child of surrealism, but owes as much to the Middle Ages, Austrian Galicia and Polish Sarmatian tradition. The artist combined the spirituality of a mystic with the fantasy of a comedian, a propensity for jokes and old-fashioned mischief with Franciscan piety. His paintings refer to the past in a perverse way - there is pathos and mockery, grotesque and tragedy of existence.







Tadeusz Brzozowski


On November 1 in Lviv, during the Polish-Ukrainian struggle for the city, Tadeusz Brzozowski was born, son of Zbigniew Korab-Brzozowski (a merchant, descending from a convergent Polish-Lithuanian landowner's family) and Elżbieta Koniewicz (related to the Lviv bourgeoisie with cultural and artistic ambitions). Shortly after Tadzio was born, the family moved to Cracow, where his father established a store from which the whole family made a living, and where his younger brother Zbigniew was born.


The graduation exam and the beginning of studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow despite his father's practical objections. Theatre became his true fascination. He took part in student open-air performances, he was an extra in J. Słowacki Theatre, and in the experimental Academic Puppet Theatre he got to know Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990), a familiarity with which has influenced his entire artistic biography.



learning at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Krakow (the institution had the official status of a vocational school, but became an underground Academy of Fine Arts). Tadeusz Brzozowski met here future members of the Krakow Group: Jerzy Nowosielski (1923-2011), Kazimierz Mikulski (1918-1998), Mieczysław Porębski (1921-2012), Jerzy Skarżyński (1924-2004) and Marek Rostworowski (1921-1996).


Brzozowski played Grabec in "Balladin" in an underground theatre Tadeusz Kantor


in October Tadeusz Brzozowski graduated in painting and obtained his diploma, starting as an assistant in the Department of Hand Drawing at the Faculty of Architecture at the AGH University of Science and Technology, and later at the University of Technology


took part in the Modern Art Exhibition at the Palace of Art in Krakow


Tadeusz Brzozowski married Barbara Gawdzik, a painter and graphic artist, with whom he created church polychromies: ornamental decoration in Głogówek, Nativity and the Last Supper in Godziszów, Miracle of Bread Propagation and the Last Supper in Mogilany and polychrome in Imielno


moved with his family (with his son Wawrzyniec, and soon with his second son Joachim) to Zakopane - since then the winter capital of Poland has become a real little homeland of Tadeusz Brzozowski. He left the Academy of Fine Arts and started teaching at the famous "Kenar School", the Zakopane School of Fine Arts.


he crossed the Iron Curtain for the first time and went to Italy


The first trip to Paris, where Tadeusz Brzozowski joined the PHASES movement - the group gathered artists from the circle of surrealism and lyrical abstraction. In the same year he took part in the 5th Biennale in Sao Paulo


Starting work at the State Higher School of Fine Arts in Poznan, where he spent a week a month for 17 years. That year, he took part in the 21st Venice Biennale


A 7-month stay in the United States

Tadeusz Brzozowski
"Trotuar" Source:


a large retrospective exhibition of Tadeusz Brzozowski at the National Museum in Poznań


he ran the Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow


in autumn, in Zakopane, in a villa in Antołówka, the "family gallery" of the Brzozowski family was created



Tadeusz Brzozowski left for the USA in connection with the prestigious Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation Award


in the spring, at the invitation of the Pallottines, he went to Rome for a month


During his stay in Rome, on Holy Monday, 13 April, after a sudden fainting in the street, Tadeusz Brzozowski died of a heart attack in the Holy Spirit Hospital. His funeral at the New Cemetery in Zakopane became a great manifestation of the world of culture, but also a meeting "beyond divisions", also political, rare in the difficult 1980s. The goodness and wise distance of the deceased painter once again united the conflicted and painful artistic environment.

Interesting facts:

News magazine for ladies and gentlemen

The father of Tadeusz Brzozowski and his partner Robert Mydlarski opened a shop with exquisite confectionery and accessories at 4 Szewska Street in Krakow: „R. Mydlarski & Z. Brzozowski. News Magazine for Ladies and Gentlemen. Spółka z o.o.". The shop was small but elegant and expensive, and both owners went regularly to Vienna and other capitals for the latest models of clothing - only the best quality. "It's all important. I am convinced that this is the source of my father's extraordinary care for the technological perfection of the image, for the "durability of the goods"". - wrote 70 years later the painter's son.


Tadeusz Brzozowski in Independent Theatre Tadeusz Kantor has played the leading roles in "Balladin" and "Return of Odysseus", as well as in the post-war play "Godzien and the Weary", which posed a serious question about the choice of further artistic path: theatre or painting. When moved, Leon Schiller congratulated him on the role of Odysseus with the words "You will be a great actor", he replied "I will not be a great actor, because I will be a great painter"...

This is where

Tadeusz Brzozowski's studio in Florianska Street was marked with a surrealistic business card on the door preaching: IT IS HERE. It became the favourite social venue of the young Krakow avant-garde.

Pourquoi Paris

When, during his stay in France, he appeared in a television film "Pourquoi Paris" - as the only artist, when asked if he would like to stay in Paris permanently, he replied that he did not: "I like Paris, but I prefer my Zakopane". After moving to Zakopane, Tadeusz Brzozowski actively joined the local artistic community. On his initiative, "March Salons" were organised in Zakopane - national painting exhibitions and "February Salons" - reviews of contemporary graphics. His idea was also the Zakopane Gallery of Contemporary Art "Pegasus" operating in the 1960s, and in the early 1980s the semi-official gallery in Atmie - the Karol Szymanowski Museum. He was also a juror at "of the review of films about art".


Tadeusz Brzozowski attached great importance to the workshop. The organic binders he used: linseed and poppy-seed oil, yolks, larch balm, rubbers and turpentine, varnish based on natural resin and wax, as well as unusual, organic pigments have become legendary. His painting turned into a complicated, magical procedure.


At the end of his life, Tadeusz Brzozowski returned to the religious theme, painting the faces of Christ. One of "Messiah" was given to Pope John Paul II, after the artist's death, the son of a painter.

Tadeusz Brzozowski
"Zaloty Zelota" Source:

About the art of Tadeusz Brzozowski:

Tadeusz Brzozowski knew how to play with art, although he talked about painful and serious matters. The mastery of texture and unusual saturation of colour is combined with a sense of drama - it is "bare anatomy of mental states" (said the painter): beautiful, artistically in the form of a metaphor of suffering.

"Through my canvases I would like to say important things - the truth about man, about his condition, about his disability and the fact that this disability can be overcome".

Tadeusz Brzozowski

Jan Hopliński - specialist in conservation, author of a popular textbook "Painting Paints and Binders" infected Tadeusz Brzozowski with his passion for technology and painting "cuisine". Under his guidance, the young painter meticulously restored damaged icons, imitated old masters, but also experimented, noted chemical patterns, and studied the interaction of dyes. For himself, he also translated Max Doerner's famous book on painting techniques for his friends and painters. At all stages, his work was characterised by perfect workshop and fine painting matter.

"In the friendly self-taught of the so-called experimental painting of that time, Kujawski, Nowosielski and, in fact, only Kantor visiting us (...) Tadzio Brzozowski applied nebulae of colours, and when asked what to do about it, he replied: "rypcium pypcium". With his technological spells - a mixture of casein, egg, turpentine, oil, you don't know what yet - he achieved a deep, sonorous colour".
 – Marek Rostworowski

The juxtaposition of large, strong planes - the nervous, spiky line of details - will become the main organising principle of Tadeusz Brzozowski's canvases.

"He talked about Makowski, but his paintings had a tart and bitter taste"

Tadeusz Kantor

Tadeusz Brzozowski took part in an interesting experiment in 1964. At the request of the Educational Film Studio, director Jarosław Brzozowski made one of the most interesting, award-winning Polish films about art entitled "Interpretations", "Pictures" - as it was put in the contract - a creative look at one subject by outstanding artists, representing different trends in artistic painting". The subject was the sunrise, the pictures were shot at Serwy Lake near Augustów. They were invited to participate in the film: Jerzy Nowosielski (member of the Krakow Group), who created one of his geometric landscapes, seen from the bird's eye view; Ludwik Maciąg (professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw), who painted a realistic, subtle in colour view of the misty lake; and Tadeusz Brzozowski, who composed a spiky, intricate in drawing "Morgenstern". Morgenstern - the name of the dawn and the medieval murder weapon. The titles of Tadeusz Brzozowski are

"another trap you fall into giggling," as he said. Archaic, forgotten phrases, old-fashioned pasta - they are usually a starting point for the picture and a specific hallmark of this art. "I don't want to run away from reality, but the reality we see is only one side of the world (...) Some 15 minutes after seeing the sunrise the title of my painting was born: "Morgenstern". The word is ambiguous: it means the Star of Zaranna - a symbol of hope; a mace pierced with nails - a symbol of horror... This word has become the most important inspiration for the painting - just like the rising day, full of conflicts between good and evil"

Tadeusz Brzozowski

Tadeusz Brzozowski in Museums:

Tadeusz Brzozowski
"Siurpryza" Source:
Tadeusz Brzozowski
"Pludry" Source:
jan matejko


  • Rijeka: Moderna Galerija
Jerzy Nowosielski

The Netherlands:

  • Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum
Jerzy Nowosielski


  • Herford: Zbiory Kreis-Herford
  • Oldenburg: Artoteka
Jacek Malczewski


  • Chicago: Muzeum Polskie
  • Nowy Jork: Museum of Modern Art – Galeria Wildenstein
jan matejko


  • Neapol: Galeria Minerva
  • Rzym: Muzeum Watykańskie
galeria marzeń


  • Bydgoszcz: Muzeum Okręgowe – Filharmonia Pomorska. Można tam podziwiać m. in.:
    • Bas głosi wieczność” namalowany w 1985
    • Baryton rzecze o istnieniu” namalowany w 1985
    • „Tenor rozważa przestrzeń” namalowany w 1985
    • „Mezzospran oswaja czas” namalowany w 1985
  • Kraków: Muzeum Narodowe – Starmach Gallery. Można tam podziwiać m. in.:
    • „Kuchenka” namalowany w 1950
    • „Kręgle” namalowany w 1955
    • „Fartuch” namalowany w 1958
    • „Żardiniera” namalowany w 1964
    • „Skówki” namalowany w 1966
    • „Papagaje i Perokety” namalowany w 1975
    • „Admirancja” namalowany w 1981
  • Lublin: Muzeum Okręgowe. Można tam podziwiać m. in.:
    • Pępek świata” namalowany w 1948
  • Łódź: Muzeum Sztuki. Można tam podziwiać m. in.:
    • „Kostki” namalowany w 1949
    • „Morgenstern” namalowany w 1964
    • „Dąsy” namalowany w 1965
  • Poznań: Muzeum Narodowe – Galeria Miejska „Arsenał”. Można tam podziwiać m. in.:
    • Mesjasz” namalowany w 1947
    • Lansjer” namalowany w 1956
    • Dyrdy” namalowany w 1968
    • Krojczy” namalowany w 1973
  • Toruń: Muzeum Okręgowe. Można tam podziwiać m. in.:
    • Chrystus” namalowany w 1946
  • Warszawa: Muzeum Narodowe – Muzeum Archidiecezjalne – „Zachęta” – Galeria Studio. Można tam podziwiać m. in.:
    • „Prorok” namalowany w 1950
    • „Rekwizytornia” namalowany w 1951
    • „Struna” namalowany w 1957
    • „Sztylpy” namalowany w 1959
    • „Siurpryza” namalowany w 1963
    • „Trotuar” namalowany w 1964
    • „Zaloty Zeloty” namalowany w 1974
  • Wrocław: National Museum. You can admire there, among others..:
    • Organki” namalowany w 1950
    • „Zycbad” namalowany w 1969
    • „Kiep” namalowany w 1972
  • Bytom: Muzeum Górnośląskie
  • Radom: Muzeum Sztuki Współczesnej

Tadeusz Brzozowski (1918-1987)

  • ACTOR: 85% 85%
  • SCENOGRAPH: 100% 100%