Olgi Boznańskiej widoki Paryża / Olga Boznańska’s Views of Paris
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The achievements of the eminent Polish painter Olga Boznańska (1865-1940) include very few pictures with city views - an absolute minority. Most of the city views by Boznańska are views from windows; the artist painted them less often from the pedestrian’s position. They range between two different conventions of presenting the town, which come from the early and late 19th century. The first is the German tradition, which the artist encountered and became acquainted with in Munich - one with Romantic roots m the Dresden school (inter alia in the works by Caspar David Friedrich). The second way of looking at the town was the then contemporary trend in French paining, with which Boznańska became acquainted already before she came to live permanently in Paris, defined as open air painting and developing from the late 1870s in the works by impressionists and supporters of Salons of the Independent Painters (inter alia Claude Monet, or Auguste Renoir). In her pictures of views the aitist utilized both traditions in a specific way. Boznańska's oldest known view of Paris shows Les Invalides [Church of the Invalids] (1899); the next were: Widok Pary ża [A View of Paris] (1899), Cour de Dragon (ca. 1900). Plac Ternes [Place de Temes] (1903), another Widok Paryża [A View of Paris] (1903), Widok z okna [A View from the Window] (1903), Ulica w Paryżu [A Street m Paris] (1906) and Widok z pracowni [A View from the Studio] (1907). Paris tends to be different and ambiguous in these pictures. Not only because the artist does not always show places easy to identify: in each case, although in different ways, Boznańska emphasized the subjectivity of view. The aitist did not like the idea of unreflectively duplicating the French instructions of how to present modem metropolises. None of her known pictures today of Paris shows popular depictions with long metropolitan perspectives and a swarm of moving figures. All of them, however, use the plasticity of forms, which Boznańska was able to develop precisely in Paris - and only there. Preserving the elements of the composition of “a room with a view”, the artist showed the variability of Paris m the language of her own, delicate palette derived from postimpressionism. She told the old story about the advantage of the artist’s view over the reality, in the new language of vivid forms.
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