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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » January 21, 2009
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Houwalt: Painter of Dreams
January 21, 2009 By Dariusz Pietrzak   
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Poznań's Arsenał Gallery is hosting an exhibition by Polish painter Ildefons Houwalt (1910-1987). Houwalt was born in Siberia but his family moved to Vilnius in 1918. Historian and writer Antoni Gołubiew and Nobel Prize winning poet Czesław Miłosz were among his classmates there. Houwalt graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Vilnius and permanently settled in Poznań in 1945.

Houwalt was an artist who followed his own creative path unswervingly. He mostly painted with watercolors, gouache and tempera and most of his works are small pictures with strange titles in which strange figures appear amid greenery and/or classical architecture. Błękitni podpalacze (Blue Arsonists) depicts a castle being set aflame by archers firing burning arrows. Zaklinanie wszechnietoperza (The Spell of the Universal Bat) depicts several figures, including a priest, prayer book in hand, being terrorized by a huge bat with a demonic face amidst monumental palatial-garden architecture.

Technically speaking, Houwalt followed academic tradition but he let his imagination run wild so far as subject matter went. He drew on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, surrealism and fairy tales for inspiration.

Poznań, Arsenał Gallery, 3 Stary Rynek (Old Square). Open until Feb. 1.
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