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Aleksander Kobzdej


1920 - 1972


In the years 1939-1941 he studied at the Architecture Faculty of Lwow Technical University and received education in painting under the guidance of Professor Władysław Lam. Early in 1944 he was deported to forced labour in Vienna. In September 1945 he returned to Poland. He joined the class of E. Eibisch at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. Subsequently, he moved to the Baltic coast, where he became an assistant of Professor Władywław Lam at the Chair of Drawing and Painting at Gdansk Technical University. In 1946 he obtained the diploma as an architect. He became a member of the Polish Association of Artists (ZPAP) and participated in his first exhibitions. In 1947 he was nominated lecturer of the State College of Fine Arts in Sopot. At the 1st National Art Exhibition at the National Museum in Warsaw he obtained the 3rd prize for his painting Pass the brick.
In 1951 he took charge of a workshop at the Faculty of Interior Design of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. He travelled to China and Vietnam. A cycle of drawings reporting his journeys was created at that time. In 1954 he took part in the 27th Biennale in Venice, showing his Vietnam cycle. He was subsequently nominated to professorship at the Chair of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. In 1955 his first works from the cycle Thickets were created, which implied that the artist moved away from his previous style toward informel and structural painting. Together with Professor Romuald Gutt and Professor Tadeusz Zieliński he designed the building of the Chinese Embassy in Warsaw. In 1958 he participated in the opening of the exhibition “5 Pittori polacchi d’oggi” at the Il Milione Gallery in Milan. In 1959 he took part in the 5th Biennale in Săo Paulo, where he won the most important award of his career, the 2nd prize for the cycle Idols. Several months stay in Paris resulted in the exhibition at the Galerie de l’Ancienne Comedie. In the subsequent year he participated in the opening of the exhibition at French and Company Gallery in New York. In 1965 he took part in Documenta III in Kassel, which resulted in a creative stay in Germany, as a guest of the Folkwang Museum in Essen. In 1965-1966 he led the Chair of Painting at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Hamburg. In 1966 he received the Gottfried Herder Prize. He started working on the cycle Crevices. In 1968 he participated in the opening of the exhibition “Six Painters from Poland” at the Royal College of Art Galleries in London. In 1969 a monographic exhibition of this artist’s work took place at the National Museum in Poznań. In 1970 he started working on the cycle of Hors cadres. In the nineteen-sixties he successfully designed stage sets for the television theatre. He received numerous prizes and state decorations. He died on 25 September 1972.
Major exhibitions: 1st National Exhibition of Art, National Museum, Warsaw, 1950,Exhibition of drawings from China, Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, 1953, China and Vietnam on drawings by Aleksander Kobzdej, Zachęta, Warsaw, 1954, XXVII Biennale di Venezia, Venice, 1954, 5 pittori polacchi d’oggi: Brzozowski, Gierowski, Kobzdej, Lebenstein, Marczyński, Galleria Il Milione, Milan; Bologna; Galleria L’Attico, Rome; Galleria d’Arte Minerva, Napoli, 1958, Poolse schilderkunst van nu, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1959, Les artistes polonais a la V Biennale, Musée d’Art Moderne, São Paulo, 1959, Art polonais, Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels, 1959, An exhibition of works acquired from the G. David Thompson Collection, Carnegie Institute Museum of Modern Art, Pittsburgh, 1959, Aleksander Kobzdej, Prix de la Biennale de São Paulo 1959, Galerie de l’Ancienne-Comédie, Paris, 1960, Aleksander Kobzdej, French and Company, New York, 1960, Aleksander Kobzdej, Krzywe Koło Gallery, Warsaw, 1961, Douze peintres polonais modernes, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, 1961, 15 Polish Painters, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1961, Documenta III, Internationale Ausstellung, Kassel, 1964, Aleksander Kobzdej, Museum Folkwang, Essen, 1966, Kobzdej, Galerie Gunar, Düsseldorf, 1966, Six Painters from Poland. An Arts Council Exhibition, Royal College of Art Galleries, London, 1968, Aleksander Kobzdej, National Museum, Poznań, 1969, Aleksander Kobzdej. Ölbilder—Zeichnungen 1969-1971, Rathaus Charlottenburg, West Berlin, 1971, Aleksander Kobzdej, Hors cadre, Kordegarda Gallery, Warsaw, 2001, Classics of painting, Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw, 2004, Aleksander Kobzdej, Paintings, ga ga galeria, Warsaw, 2006.