Artists of Kalisz

Krzyżanowski Kazimierz

Artist-painter, an art dealer and an animator of the artistic environment.

1876 - ?

He was born in Kalisz, the date of his death is not known. The information on his life and activity found in literature is very different to the data obtained from the press in Kalisz. Krzyżanowski was the first art dealer and “gallerist” in Kalisz. He was the first to organize an exhibition of art in the city, which was an exhibition of modern art. Additionally, he was the founder of the first art gallery in Kalisz, named the Artistic Salon, which operated between June 1990 and April 1902. The artist studied painting in Geneva under B. Bödner and A. Gros. Back then during his studies and together with W. Sachnowski, he worked on a view of castles and monuments for an overview map of Switzerland. In 1899 he came back from his studies and in April appeared in Kalisz with the intention to organize an exhibition of contemporary art. Nobody had managed to realize that idea earlier despite numerous plans and attempts. His consistency, obstinacy and skills resulted in the fact that it was him who overcame all the obstacles and on May 5, 1899, in the hall of the confectioner’s Waehner the exposition was opened. It was a self-financing, commercial venture and the works displayed were offered for sale. The works presented were by artists from Łódź, Warsaw and Cracow. The organizer aimed to show the public at large, the works of local artists from Kalisz as well as displaying artworks, which were in the possession of connoisseurs from Kalisz. The exhibition was open from 10 am until 10 pm and there was an admission fee. At the opening there were 100 artifacts displayed, during the first 5 days 500 people visited the place, in total there were around 1000 spectators. Altogether 29 artists showed their works, namely S. Hirszenberg, A. Pruszyński, W. Pruszyński, L. Pilichowski, J. Kossak, J. Brandt, S. Lentz, W. Brochocki, and the organizer. The exhibition was also the first presentation of work by the artistic circle from Kalisz that did more than well; H. Pinko, J. Balukiewicz, J. Merkel, and A. Bertelmann, among others, showed their works. The paintings on display ranged within the genre of slightly conservative romantic realism, even though for the local intelligentsia it was the first presentation of modern art. Despite the strong participation by the public, Krzyżanowski experienced financial disaster and the exhibition ended in June with an auction. The artist left for Łódź where as I. Balowa reports in 1900 he managed the gallery of T. Kozanecki. However the sources in Kalisz denote that Krzyżanowski, undaunted by failure, came back to Kalisz and opened a permanent exhibition of art called the Artistic Salon as well. It was situated at the Market Sq., over the famous shop of Mrs. Głaczyńska. He ran a studio and gave tutorials on drawing and painting. The gallery operated for two years, with varying degrees of success, changing the exhibition sites and using various forms of promotion (this included, among others, offering annual tickets, drawing bonuses such as artistic works). Unfortunately, the economic crisis and insolvency of the venture was unavoidable. In April 1902 the gallery was closed and the remaining works auctioned. During his stay in the city in 1901 the artist married Jadwiga Perznowska. After leaving Kalisz he settled in Poznań where for several years he ran a gallery at Berliner St and was active in the artistic environment. In 1914 German authorities forced him to leave Poznań and he moved to Warsaw.
Krzyżanowski painted romantic landscapes, namely exhibited in 1899 At the Foot of Mount Blanc – a mountain nocturne of symbolic character, filled with threatening wild scenery and moody moonlight; On the Coast of Malta – a peaceful landscape of the Maltese coastline, with boats and chatting fishermen; Thirsty and Before the Storm, of which we know nothing unfortunately. A critic called his works “ pearls thrown as deposit of a future artistic career”. Similar in character are his other paintings such as Fisherman’s Boat or even more symbolic Faun’s Meditation from 1908. It seems that for him, his own artistic work was as equally important as his activity in the field of animating culture and the popularization of art, the best expression in his initiatives being the running the galleries, organizing of exhibitions and engaging in work for the benefit of the artistic environment.

Iwona Barańska


I. Barańska, Krzyżanowski Kazimierz, in: D. Wańka ed., Słownik biograficzny Wielkopolski Południowo – Wschodniej Ziemi Kaliskiej, vol. III, KTPN, Kalisz 2007, 227 - 228; I. Barańska, Pierwsza Wystawa Sztuki Nowoczesnej w Kaliszu w 1899 roku, w: M. Błaszczyński, B. Górecka, M. Górecki, A. Paradowska ed., Sztuka w Wielkopolsce, Poznań 2013, 191 – 203.
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