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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » June 11, 2008
Zielona Góra
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Cybis on Display
June 11, 2008 By M.H.    
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More than 90 oil paintings, gouaches, water colors and drawings by Polish "Capist" artist Jan Cybis (1897-1972) are on display at the Ziemi Lubuskiej Museum in Zielona Góra, central Poland. Most of the exhibits are on loan from the Muzeum ¦l±ska Opolskiego in Opole, southern Poland, which, with 85 oil paintings and almost 1,000 drawings, boasts Poland's largest Cybis collection. Three of the works on display are from the Ziemi Lubuskiej Museum's own collection.

Cybis, a talented painter, journalist and teacher, was given the facetious sobriquets "Pope of Capists" and "Jan Capist" in allusion to his prominence in a school- also known as koloryzm in Polish-that dominated Polish painting during the 1930s. Cybis's paintings are textbook Capism. He espoused an aesthetic that eschewed the literary, the symbolic and the avant-garde in painting and called for the illusionary imitation of nature to be abandoned. Cybis emphasized the purely artistic attributes of a picture and focused on composition, color harmony and textural effects.

Cybis was born in the village of Wróblin, outside Głogówek, near the Czech border in Opole Province. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts and Industrial Arts in Wrocław, southwestern Poland, between 1919 and 1921 before transferring to the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow where he studied under Józef Pankiewicz (1866-1940), around whom the Capist movement was later formed.

Cybis was made a professor at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts in 1945. He was dismissed in the early 1950s, when Poland was in the grip of hard-line Stalinism, and reinstated after a political thaw. He also lectured at the State School of Fine Arts in the seaside resort of Sopot between 1955 and 1957. Cybis died in Warsaw in 1972.

Ziemi Lubuskiej Museum in Zielona Góra, 15 Niepodległo¶ci Ave., until June 22.
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