Franciszek Prochaska, Susanna

In the first half of the 20th century the artistic life flourished mainly in big cities such as Cracow, Lvov, Poznań and Warsaw. All the new theories, artistic groups and manifests were born there. Sanok, even in the micro scale, could not be regarded as that kind of artistic centre. In the beginning of the 20th century there was not a single fully shaped artist in Sanok and in fact there were no artists who could be described in more detail. Jan Nepomucen Gniewosz from Nowosielce, a drawer and a painter, died in the 19th century whereas Lutka Pinkas was born in Sanok but her family moved to Vienna. The amateur painters established The Circle of Fine Arts Friends in the early 20th century and organised an exhibition of paintings and decorative art with a vernissage. The most interesting works belonged to such artists as Karilanówna, Daneko, Hickiewiczówna, Flakowicz, Krasuskiego, Wrześniowski, Rozwadowski, Rylski and Prochaska. Significant for Sanok was Prochaska's collection passion for all his life he gathered paintings and graphic art of Polish artists working in France as well as some foreign authors. He offered one part of his collection to the National Museum in Warsaw and the remaining part to the Historical Museum in Sanok in 1963. During the Interwar Years the artists from Sanok tended to create very provincial pieces of art, as they remained indifferent to the main trends of Polish and foreign art. The exhibition organised in 1930 presented 324 works of such artists as Maksymilian Brożek, Maksymilian Freund, Leon Getz, Władysław Lisowski and Rev. Władysław Lutecki. The artists connected with Sanok were also Emil Regenbogen, sculptor and painter Józef Sitarz, as well as Jadwiga Lorenc.
Leon Getz, Sanok stairs at night, 30s

The artistic situation was changing gradually after the Second World War. The Historical Museum was established before the War in 1934 and was called the Museum of the Sanok Region. It concentrated on exhibition organisation and started collecting the works of local artists. The first exhibition showed the works of Stefan Pajączkowski, Władysław Lisowski, Bronisław Naczas, Tyrsus Wenhrynowicz, Juliusz Łaba, Genowefa Stepek, Ewa Nowotarska, Krystyna Rozebejger, Marian Kruczek, who discovered ‘his own technique’, his own style and artistic language, built his compositions by ‘drowning’  some items in concrete and coloured plaster and adding some items and Tadeusz Turkowski, the artist connected with Sanok since his childhood.
Bronisław Naczas, Anna Turkowska with her weaving workshop using a technique of Polish tapestry and Władysław Szulc with his watercolour paintings, worked in Sanok after the Second World War. Roman Tarkowski's sculptures show monumental tendency and frequent feature of movement. Eugeniusz Waniek from Ustrzyki Dolne was a member of the Cracow Group. His works result from personal interpretation of Cubism and Pablo Picasso's art. Zbigniew Kaszycki created mainly artistic photography but was also fascinated with short-wave radio, amateur film, tourism and working with young people. In turn, Zbigniew Osenkowski generally practiced graphic and drawing art but did not stand aloof from the easel painting and medal art. The architect Jerzy Wierzchowski commemorated the early Sanok.

Zdzisław Beksiński was the most popular Sanok artist worldwide. The biggest collection of his works including paintings, graphic art, photographs and sculptures is displayed in the Historical Museum. Tadeusz Turkowski, Bride with flowers, 1973Beksiński became popular when he started creating his visionary compositions resembling dreams and imaginary visions. His technique became more varied later. In some of his works the figure excavated from the space is almost three-dimensional, resembling the previous sculptures. In other works forms result from the coloured line tangle and the painting seems to be rather drawn not painted. There are also works of very painting, synthetic nature.

Except for the above mentioned Leon Getz, several Ukrainian origin artists were connected with Sanok. Tyrsus Wenhrynowicz was a graphic artist using the convex printing technique. Michał Dziadyka concentrated on the easel painting in his works. Young Ukrainian artist Siergiej Michniowski also revealed his Sanok connections. Not only professional artist with large outputs, but also amateur artists worked and work in the Sanok Region. Among late artists with great painting passion and some successful works there are such names as Józef Penar, Władysław Kwaśnicki and also Andrzej Strzelecki.

Anna Turkowska, Flower, 2004

Barbara Bandurka, born in 1948, practices figurative painting, very close to the abstract one and belongs to the younger generation of artists. She is also a very talented poet. In turn, Artur Olechniewicz works as a prose writer and a painter.
Jerzy Wójtowicz, a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, initiated the ‘Sanok’ Group which was taken care of by the Historical Museum. The main goal of the Group was organisation of team exhibitions, local art presentation and creating artistically inspiring atmosphere. The members of the ‘Sanok’ Group in November 1981 were Wiesław Banach, Jacek and Ryszard Rogowscy, Władysław Szulc, professional artists Anna and Tadeusz Turkowscy as well as Jerzy Wojtowicz. The ‘Sanok’ Group stopped functioning after the Martial Law and all the members focused on their individual work.
The youngest of the present day artists working in Sanok are Andrzej Gąsieniec, Oksana Kulczycka, Ewa Michałowicz-Smarzewska.
Zdzisław Beksiński, xxx, 50s

The last 100 years of the artistic life in Sanok brought several changes. In the first part of the late century the artists were exceptions but now there is a great number of them. Numerous artists of Sanok origin live and work all over Poland and abroad e.g. Edward Baran.
There is a great number of exhibitions in Sanok and the amateur artists present their works in the local Cultural Centres. The Town Library prepares frequent graphic art and ex libris presentations. The young generation artist – Anna Pilszak – works in the Cultural Centre in Sanok. The vivid Cultural centre in Lesko displays the works of amateur artists from the Bieszczady Mountains in the synagogue and the Brzozów Museum organises frequent contemporary art exhibitions.
However, the Historical Museum in Sanok has played the most important culture-shaping role for over 70 years. The existing gallery, storing frequently bought or given works of art, organises temporary exhibitions promoting young unknown, talented artists. The Museum stores, gathers, restores, scientifically describes and displays properties of culture ranging from archaeology, history, artistic craft, Orthodox Church art as well as ancient
and contemporary painting. In 1945-2004, 300 temporary exhibitions took place there, 60% of which were the artistic exhibitions. Present day plans aim to reconstruct the castle wing where a great collection of Zdzisław Beksiński's works will be displayed. Another artistic institution "˜Biuro Wystaw Artystycznych – Galeria Sanocka", focusing on the contemporary art promotion, was established in the moment of this volume preparation.

Krystyna Gawlewicz
Translated by: Joanna Wydrzyńska


Marian Kruczek, Hanuśka, c. 1975 Marian Kruczek, Three Musketeers, 1970 Marian Kruczek, Familia skubańca, 1974 Marian Kruczek, Princess of the night, 1959


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